63ºF

Houston nutritionist shares 5 simple swaps for a healthier diet

What to eat and what to avoid when it comes to things like cooking oils, dairy and sugar

HOUSTON – In honor of National Eating Healthy Day, certified nutritionist, Krystal Hammett with Alternative Wellness Solutions provides simple food substitutions and information to keep your health on track.

1. Regular & diet soda

Swap for healthy carbonated alternatives

Hammett says sodas promote insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease and more. She suggests getting your “fizzy fix” from flavored carbonated waters such as Waterloo, LaCroix, Topo Chico or Zevia. Zevia is a 0 calorie, sugar and aspartame-free soda option.

2. Dairy products

Swap for nut milk alternatives

According to Hammett, dairy contains high amounts of hormones, antibiotics, steroids and is naturally high in sugar called lactose. She suggests limiting liquid dairy such as cow’s milk, creamers, creamed cheeses and dairy yogurts. Try almond, coconut, cashew, oat, hemp and flax milks and yogurts in place of dairy. When consuming cheese, opt for hard chesses that can be sliced or shredded.

3. Wheat and gluten carbohydrates

Swap for healthier gluten and grain-free alternatives

Gluten is a protein found in wheat that causes inflammation throughout the entire body, it most directly impacts our gut health and digestion. Hammett says many people may be sensitive or allergic to gluten and need to avoid it completely, while others should limit consumption for optimal health. She suggests trying a variety of alternatives such as cauliflower pizza crust, garbanzo bean or quinoa pasta, gluten-free breads, as well as the occasional gluten-free cereals and cookies.

4. Hydrogenated oils and trans fats

Swap for healthy saturated fats and MCT oils

According to Hammett, hydrogenated oils are made in a lab, not found in nature. Food companies use these oils to help increase shelf life and save cost, but the real cost here is how poorly it is impacting our health. She suggests swapping out canola oil, vegetable oils, shortenings, margarine, corn oil, soybean oil and peanut oil. Try healthy oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter and ghee. These oils all have high heat tolerances, so they will not break down and cause free radical damage. They contain health promoting monosaturated fats, medium chain triglycerides (MCT), butyric, lauric and oleic acids, all beneficial for the heart, GI tract and brain.

5. Simple and artificial sugars

Swap for healthy sugar alternatives

Hammett says sugar consumption is a leading cause of inflammation in the body, which leads to a variety of chronic health issues such as diabetes and obesity while also increasing your risk of heart disease, cancer and other serious health issues. Aspartame found in many “sugar free” or “diet” products is perhaps even more dangerous as it still impacts blood sugar while causing damage to the liver and intestinal lining of our GI tract.

Say no to these sugars:

  • White, Brown, Powdered, Cane and Raw Sugar
  • Agave
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Limit honey
  • Avoid artificial sugars:
  • Sucralose/aspartame
  • Splenda
  • Equal
  • Sweet-n-Low

SWAP them out for stevia, xylitol, erythritol, monk fruit and allulose.

To connect with Krystal Hammett and for more information, click here.


About the Author: