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Tips to put the health back into healthy food trends

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(BPT) - With new so-called “healthy” food trends popping up all the time, it’s hard to keep track of what’s good for your health and what’s just a fad. Luckily, research continually shows consumers which fads to ditch and which kitchen staples stand the test of time and should remain in our diets. For example, did you know that coconut oil, a recent consumer favorite in health and beauty circles, has been found to increase cholesterol?

If you are looking for simple changes that have a significant impact on nutritional health, consider clearing some unhealthy eating habits from your diet. Here are a few health fads that aren’t as nutritious as you may have heard, and helpful swaps that can benefit your health.

Cooking with coconut oil

Over the last few years, coconut oil has gained prominence on grocery store shelves, in the news and on social media. Long considered a multipurpose beauty oil, coconut oil began to make its way into recipes, and consumers hoped its health benefits extended to the kitchen. However, a recent study by MB Clinical Research found that adding foods made with coconut oil to one’s diet increased levels of cholesterol compared with the same foods made with corn oil. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, corn oil can help lower cholesterol two times more than extra virgin olive oil. With a high smoke point, versatile usage and a neutral flavor, corn oil makes a great staple for any pantry.

Juice diets and cleanses

While it’s important to include fruits and vegetables in your diet, “cleansing” your body with a diet limited to cold-pressed juices won’t provide enough essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy diet. According to experts at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is no real evidence that juice cleanses work. The human body is great at keeping the good stuff in and filtering out the bad, and a varied diet is important for maintaining energy throughout the day. Plus, according to Vive Nutrition, juice diets tend to make people feel hungrier and lead to overeating. If cold-pressed juices are something you enjoy, include them in addition to your meals.

Skipping dessert

Everything in moderation! Indulging once in a while is an important part of a balanced diet. Harsh dietary restrictions, especially on the foods you love, may lead to short-term results, but aren’t sustainable in the long run, according to research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Rather than cutting sugar completely, avoid binges by allowing yourself a treat on a cheat day to maintain balance in your diet.

Snacking on granola bars

Packed with whole grains, granola bars seem like the perfect healthy snack, but many contain an unhealthy amount of added sugar, which creates a high-calorie and less-than-nutritious food choice. In fact, according to a survey in the New York Times, less than 30 percent of nutritionists would call granola a healthy food. Replacing granola bars with healthier options like whole nuts will greatly benefit your health. This snack choice is less sugary, more filling and full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, according to the National Institutes of Health.

With contradictory information about health coming out daily, it’s important to research the facts to learn which tips are fads and which are truly good for you.