Inspired by Food Network鈥檚 post about foods that nutritionists won鈥檛 eat, we spoke to an expert to understand some of the madness surrounding the trendiest eats right now. Keep reading to see why Maggie Moon, MS, RDN, and author of The MIND Diet, wants us to rethink acai bowls, gluten-free snacks, and more.

1. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

There鈥檚 no need to switch from a full-fat peanut butter to a reduced-fat option. Moon says the fat in peanut butter is unsaturated and therefore beneficial to our blood vessels and heart. It鈥檚 not harmful like saturated and trans fats. What some peanut butter makers do, Moon tells us, is 鈥渞eplac[e] that fat with added sugar [and] possibly some trans-fat and hydrogenated oil to make it smoother [in texture].鈥 No good! Instead, switch to a natural peanut butter that does not have any added sugars in it.

2. Soy Burgers

If you have the choice, opt for homemade veggie burgers filled with whole grains, beans, and veggies over processed soy-based burgers since they aren鈥檛 a whole food, meaning you may miss out on key nutrients. Moon says, 鈥淭he health benefits of whole soy like edamame and some of its derivatives like tofu may not be the same in a soy burger.鈥 That鈥檚 because the carbs and oils naturally found in soybeans are extracted, leaving the protein only to make these burgers. This highly manufactured process strips the soy of essential vitamins and fiber too. There is a silver lining though. 鈥淸Soy burgers] can be a good swap if you鈥檙e trying to reduce cholesterol and saturated fat compared to a traditional beef burger,鈥 Moon says.

3.聽Pita Chips

Though pita chips may sound better for you because they aren鈥檛 fried, Moon says they鈥檙e just as bad as any other snack made of refined flour. Simply put, they鈥檙e devoid of nutrition. 鈥淧ita bread makes you think about Mediterranean food. There鈥檚 that health halo around the Mediterranean diet and all of the health benefits,鈥 she says. 鈥淧eople might think of pita chips as an extension of that when really, it鈥檚 not so different than a pretzel.鈥 Womp womp.

4. Acai Bowls

Rethink ordering that acai bowl with the sugary granola and fruit cut-outs. 鈥淔or the healthiest acai bowl ever, it鈥檚 better to make it yourself so that you can manage the portions and also the toppings,鈥 says Moon. 鈥淚t鈥檚 really about what鈥檚 available in the marketplace. Often, the portions are too big. They add in all kinds of sugar, and the toppings [amount to] a ton of calories.鈥

5. Gluten-Free Snacks

The term 鈥済luten-free鈥 is one of those buzzwords that we somehow equate to being healthy. To combat that idea, Moon explains, 鈥淎n overly processed food is an overly processed food. A lot of these gluten-free treats are treats that originally have flour in them like a cake or a cookie. They鈥檙e using other ingredients low in fiber, [added] saturated fat to make up for moisture loss, and a lot of added sugar. It鈥檚 no healthier than the original.鈥

6. Veggie Straws

The word 鈥渧eggie鈥 is literally in the title 鈥 how can this snack not be healthy? Sorry, but these corn-based straws are usually made from a negligible amount of veggies. 鈥淎 half cup of carrots is like 20 to 25 calories and [contains] good nutrients, antioxidants, vitamin A, fiber鈥 all of that good stuff,鈥 Moon says. 鈥淚f you look at a serving of veggie straws, it鈥檚 five times the calories; there are no antioxidants and no fiber. It鈥檚 much closer to chewing a chip than a veggie.鈥

7. Energy Bars

Add a spin class and after-work event to an already long day, and it makes sense why you would need a little something extra to get you through the day. Before you reach inside your bag for an energy bar, you might want to reconsider it. Though energy bars are oftentimes viewed as snacks, Moon says they really shouldn鈥檛 be due to the high calories and added sugar; she says, 鈥淚t just ends up adding extra calories.鈥 For a helpful reminder, when you see the word 鈥渆nergy,鈥 replace it with the word 鈥渃alories.鈥 An energy bar equals a high-calorie bar.

the bottom line

To introduce real healthy foods to your diet, Moon suggests sticking to foods that do not have labels like fruit, vegetables, and even seafood. Another indicator? Look for the heart checkmark, a certification from the American Heart Association that symbolizes that the product meets its criteria to be a heart-healthy food. But as always, read your nutrition labels to understand what you鈥檙e about to ingest. Regardless if you鈥檙e at home or the office, keep wholesome foods within arm鈥檚 reach, and put away the sweets and treats.

Are there any foods that you won鈥檛 eat for health reasons and why? Let us know @BritandCo.

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