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Avoid These Unhealthy Ingredients in Your Cooking

By Sara Butler

Yes, cooking at home is better than grabbing a bag of fast food on your way home from work, but it doesn't automatically mean that what you're cooking is good for you. There are several ingredients that can be added to your home-cooked meals that actually aren't good for you at all. These things are so bad for you that they have the power to transform a dish that is healthy into one that is anything but.

To help you avoid these ingredient pitfalls, here are a few of the ingredients you're better off keeping out of your recipes and what you should try adding instead.

Artificial Sweeteners

Many people use artificial sweeteners in the foods they cook because they don't add additional calories or sugar. But since they're so sweet -- up to 700 times sweeter -- they can backfire on you. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can make you crave sweet foods later.

Instead of reaching for the artificial stuff, you can add sweetness to your cooking naturally with unsweetened applesauce. You can use it in the same ratio you'd add sugar into the foods you make but cut the calories by a lot.

Inexpensive Vegetable Oils

If you're using inexpensive vegetable oils such as cottonseed, corn, or soybean oil in your meals, then you may want to reconsider. These oils are highly processed and have high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which have been linked to chronic inflammation.

A better option for cooking oil is either olive oil or avocado oil. These have been shown to be healthy and avocado oil has a high smoke point, which makes it great for pan-frying foods when needed.

Fat-Free Dairy

While fat-free milk can be a good choice, fat-free dairy products such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, and cheese are not. That's because in order for these foods to taste good the fat is often replaced with sugar. They simply won't provide the satisfaction you're looking for from this type of food and may cause you to seek out the real thing later.

There's nothing wrong with using full-fat dairy in moderation, so go ahead!

Margarine

Longitudinal studies done between margarine and butter show that butter is the healthier choice. Margarine contains trans-fat which is terrible for your heart and contributes to chronic inflammation, too. If you want to choose butter that is better for you, then you can't go wrong with grass-fed butter.

Keep these things out of your kitchen and you're off to a great start!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Orlando, Fla.

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