Here at the NHCAA, our patients diligently track their diets. 

I have been reviewing food logs for over a decade and have seen thousands.  You don’t review that many food records without noticing some common themes in food choices people tend to make.  I’m going to share with you 5 common dietary mistakes that people often do not realize are mistakes.  

  1. Coffee creamers 
  2. Salad dressings
  3. Excessive snacking 
  4. Frequent alcohol intake
  5. Overuse of sugar substitutes

Coffee Creamers & Sweeteners

Many individuals think they are doing themselves a favor by foregoing breakfast and just drinking coffee. What these individuals often fail to realize is the impact the coffee can have on their health when mixed with certain ingredients.   While many people can successfully intermittent fast and still have a cup of coffee, if you add enough creamer, milk and milk alternatives, sweeteners, and other products to your coffee, you may completely lose the benefit of delaying food, and may even worsen your glycemic control.  

There’s another camp of people who eat a good breakfast but ruin it by pairing it up with coffee containing sugars, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, and processed fats.

Coffee is not great for everyone; however, if you are drinking it, you should be very aware of what you are putting into it.  Cut out the Coffee Mate, International Delights, sugar free syrups and other like additives.  

Better options for coffee are drinking it black or adding mct oil, Nutpods, collagen powder, stevia or monk fruit (in moderation).

Salad Dressings

When attempting to eat healthy, many people go straight to salads.  If you can digestively tolerate eating raw vegetables, a salad can be a great low carb meal.  However, most commercially prepared salad dressing is full of chemicals, processed fats, soy, and sometimes loaded with sugar.  Read your labels!  You will probably be surprised at the ingredients list of your favorite dressing.  If you are eating a restaurant salad, It is highly likely that one or more undesirable ingredients are in it.

Better options for salad dressing are to make your own so you know exactly what is in it.  If you don’t want to make your own, Primal Kitchen has a line of clean salad dressings.  When eating a restaurant salad, the best bet is to ask for olive oil and vinegar.

Excessive Snacking

Snacking is a very common habit of Americans.  There was a time when people were instructed that their best bet for their health was to eat 5 small meals a day.  Snacking between meals is not a good thing for most adults.  Toddlers need snacks; most adults do not.  If you feel the need to snack, you are probably missing out on something in your meals to create lasting satiety.  For most people in this situation, it is good fat and protein they are skimping on. 

The worst type of snacking is night-time snacking.  Make having at least a 3 hour buffer between eating and bedtime a priority.  You don’t want your liver and digestive system working hard on digesting food while you are trying to rest.  Your organs have other things to do at this time and need a rest as well.

Frequent Alcohol Use

I have seen many cases in which a patient has an incredible diet, super low carb, but are still having a nightly cocktail.  Even if your alcohol choice is low carb or a spiked seltzer drink (which are undoubtedly better choices), at the end of the day, regardless of carb count, it is still alcohol and is a special circumstance.  Alcohol must be metabolized FIRST- even before sugar.  Alcohol increases the workload of the liver and may affect blood sugar and inhibit fat burning and other health benefits from your otherwise healthy diet; not to mention, alcohol may negatively impact your sleep cycle.

Overuse of Sugar Substitutes

I typically recommend that patients avoid sugar as much as possible and use natural substitutes that do not spike blood glucose.  My top recommendations are stevia and/or Monk Fruit.  But even these better replacements can be overused.  Too much use of natural sugar substitutes not only can cause you to hold on to your sugar cravings but can also imbalance your gut bugs (microbiota).  Overusing these seemingly innocent sweet treats can cause digestive problems and sometimes can halt your health progress.  It is best to use stevia, monk fruit and any sweetener only occasionally.

There you have it, 5 very common diet mistakes that are best to avoid.  If you are halted in your health goals in any way, I challenge you to examine this list and see if you are doing any of these 5 things.  If so, correcting these 5 areas can help get you back on track.  If you are still stuck or having trouble identifying your dietary trouble area, you should consult with us at the NHCAA.  

Your Holistic Pharmacist,

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD