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Eating healthy is a common goal of many, and something that can be difficult to sustain, but is essential for our health and overall well-being.

There are several elements associated with a healthy , and with that comes several mistakes that although seem healthy, might be ruining your . Whether the mistake stems from a fad , an article you read online, or from a label that has duped you in the grocery store, it’s important to be an informed consumer and know what “healthy” mistakes you’re making that need changing.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common “healthy” mistakes that could be ruining your diet.

Healthy Mistake #1: Not eating enough

While eating less seems like a logical method of weight maintenance or , not eating enough can seriously impact your health, and could be a mistake that’s ruining your diet.

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Not eating enough calories can lead to a slew of negative things, including: moodiness, low energy, nutritional deficiencies, difficulties sleeping and concentrating, as well as constant cravings, according to Spoon University.

Additionally, too few calories can stall weight loss, slow your metabolism, and force the body into starvation mode, which ultimately can lead to the breakdown of muscle in order to create energy.

Healthy Mistake #2: Skipping meals

Skipping meals will certainly promote cutting back on calories for the time being, but it isn’t a healthy habit.

Instead of skipping meals, figure out other ways to reach your caloric goals and achieve the balance you’re looking for, whether that be through exercise, eating smaller nutrient-dense meals throughout the day, or a combination of these two methods.

Healthy Mistake #3: Opting for salads

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Salads aren’t inherently healthy, although many are led to believe that they are. While they’re a good way to consume your greens, and can be a delicious you can eat in large volumes for few calories if prepared healthily, you have to consider what all your salad is made up of, as it could be ruining your diet.

Dressings can be high calorie culprits, too. Eat This, Not That suggests choosing a salad dressing with “less than 250 milligrams of salt and less than 3 grams of sugar per two tablespoons.”

Healthy Mistake #4: Cutting carbs

Carbohydrates are a macronutrient that serve as a large part of the body’s energy source. When it comes to weight loss, weight maintenance, or even dietary advice in general, it’s likely you’ve heard the notion of cutting carbs as a means of bettering your health. This is more so a myth than a sustainable, healthy habit.

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The Cleveland Clinic suggests replacement instead of elimination when it comes to carbohydrates in the diet. Opting for complex carbs like brown rice, legumes, and whole grains, rather than simple carbohydrates such as white bread, fruit juices, and potato chips, is a healthier option than completely cutting out carbs altogether.

Healthy Mistake #5: Forgetting about portion sizes

Uncontrolled portions are closely related to uncontrolled amounts of calories, according to Duke Diet and Fitness. When dining out, portion sizes are typically much larger than they ought to be, and when eating at home, it’s likely that you aren’t measuring everything you prepare or eat to ensure you’re consuming exact serving sizes or appropriate portions.

 

Even if we’re eating healthy foods, if we’re overeating due to inappropriate portion sizes, it kind of cancels things out and the excess macronutrients translates into extra calories.

Forgetting about portion sizes could be ruining your diet. Duke Diet and Fitness Center suggests investing in measuring cups and scales, visualizing portion sizes, tracking your food intake, and consuming lots of vegetables.

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Healthy Mistake #6: Falling into the “healthy” snack trap

Protein bars, yogurts, jerky, and dried fruit chips are prime examples of snacks that are generally considered healthy options, but come in a variety of options and nutritional contents. While there are some options that are low-sugar, low-fat, high-protein, and even low calorie, this definitely isn’t the case across the board.

Healthy Mistake #7: Falling for low-fat labels

Health.com lists that fat-free and low-fat labels are “notoriously misleading,” and oftentimes have just as many calories as the low-fat version. The reasoning is that the low-fat foods still contain sugars and other additives, like cornstarch, to make up for the flavor lost in fats.

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Healthy Mistake #8: Cheat days or cheat meals

Restricting yourself the majority of the time could potentially lead to overeating once you do allow yourself to eat what you want. It also reinforces the “mentality of good and bad foods,” according to Learn Lift Grow, when the reality is that it’s unhealthy to think of foods in this way.

Refeeding — which Learn Life Grow defines as “a planned increase in calories used when dieting to negate some of the downsides of eating in a calorie deficit” — as well as indulging in moderation, rather than just one meal out of the week or one day out of the week, may be a healthier option.

Healthy Mistake #9: Underestimating the caloric content of liquid calories

Liquid calories seem to be the first thing we forget about when it comes to evaluating our diets, or counting calories, however, liquid calories can certainly add up. Smoothies, soda, alcohol, and coffee for example are common sources of liquid calories, many of which, we could stand to be more mindful of, or consume less of, to encourage a more healthful diet overall.

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