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Top 12 Healthy Eating Red Flags, According to Nutritionists

If you've adopted some of these not-so-great habits, it might be time to rethink your healthy eating plan.

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Watch Out for Nutrition Misinformation

With so much health and nutrition misinformation out there, nutrition pros hear all kinds of claims that are incorrect and some that are downright dangerous. Restriction, elimination and miracle cures are generally not backed up by scientific evidence and really make us cringe. Registered dietitians (RDs) work with patients to support diversity and versatility when it comes to healthy eating. If you find yourself following any of these red flags, it might be time to reevaluate your healthy eating plan and potentially seek the help of an RD, if necessary.

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Not Eating After a Specific Time of Day

Many folks believe there is a magical hour when it is no longer healthy to eat, but this really doesn't hold true. Something that always makes Melissa Nieves, LND, RD, MPH cringe is, "I don’t eat anything after 6:00 p.m." "I discuss with my clients the importance of honoring hunger — no matter the hour," Melissa says.

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Giving Coconut Oil A Health Halo

Coconut oil is a common dairy-free substitute for butter, but as Colleen Wysocki-Woods, MS, RDN points out, it is not as healthy as some fad diet fans want you to believe. "Using coconut oil in cooking and baking adds 13 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon," explains Colleen. A healthier (also dairy-free) option is canola oil, which has just about 1 gram of saturated fat per tablespoon. Plus, coconut oil in "health" foods can quickly make that food too high in saturated fat to be considered healthy. "Plant-based burgers made with coconut oil can have higher amounts of saturated fat than regular burgers," says Dr. Joan Salge Blake.

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Carb Phobia

Probably one of the most common red flags there is eliminating carbohydrates because simply put, you need carbs. "If you eliminate entire food groups like carbs, you're missing out on nutrients like fiber," says Stephanie Ambrose, MS, RDN, LDN, CPT. Fiber is incredibly important in aiding digestion and weight management as fiber promotes the feeling of fullness. Plus, your body uses carbs as energy, especially during exercise.

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