A lot has changed since the 1990s, even when it comes to what we consider healthy. Foods we thought of as nutritious and good for weight loss 20 years ago are not the same ones we think of as healthy today. Here are some of the worst diet foods from 1997 and what nutritionists recommend in 2017 instead.
Fat-free snacks and desserts - Back in the ‘90s, people considered fat the enemy and the only way to weight loss was eating fat-free. We ate baked chips, no-fat butter, and fat-free cookies. But those “healthy” alternatives just replaced the fat with processed additives and extra sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, which are far from healthy. These days we know it’s good for us to eat healthy fats like hemp seeds, coconut oil, and nuts.
Entrée salads - Twenty years ago, big salads became popular as a healthy alternative to traditional entrées, like the classic chicken caesar. And salads are usually considered a healthy choice, but dressings are full of “highly inflammatory” ingredients like soybean oil and artificial sweeteners. Plus, when you add croutons, bacon, fried noodles, and cheese, the calories go way past healthy. Today, we’re advised to eat a healthy rainbow of ingredients in all colors and use apple cider or lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette dressings.
Diet soda - Everyone drank Diet Coke in the ‘90s, but nutritionists steer us away from artificial sweeteners now. "Recent studies, while conflicting, have suggested that these artificial sweeteners are linked to weight gain," says physician nutrition specialist Adrienne Youdim. So you’re much better off with a sparkling water with no sweeteners, real or fake.
Veggie chips and pretzels - We ate a lot of pretzels 20 years ago because we didn’t think about their high glycemic index and all the salt they have. And the veggie chips were thought to be healthier than potato chips, but it’s not the thing being fried, it’s the fats used in frying that make them unhealthy. Today nutritionists recommend roasted nuts - which are full of fiber and nutrients, and have a low glycemic index over those outdated snacks.