From acai bowls and bone broth, food trends come and go. More often than not, the of-the-moment foods can set you back a pretty penny too. So which are worth it? Whether it’s just overpriced or overrated, here are five food trends you may want to think twice about.
1. Cold pressed juices
Cold pressed juices have risen in popularity over the past few years, and with the hefty price tag tacked on to them (one serving of juice can be as much as $12!) one would assume guzzling some would provide you with all the nutrients you could possibly need. Unfortunately for your wallets, and your diets, that is not the case. While made of whole, raw fruits and veggies, the fiber from these foods is often stripped during the juicing process. On top of that, fruits like apples can be added to cut the bitter flavor of leafy greens, which can bump the carbohydrate content up to 20-30 grams of carbs per juice! And because there is no fiber or protein in these juices, guzzling one can cause blood sugar levels to spike too, leaving you right back where you started: hungry and craving something nutrient dense.
2. Vegan cookies
Just because something is vegan does not make it healthy — or helpful for weight loss. The reason vegan cookies taste just as good, if not better than, some regular cookies is they can pack the same amount of calories and fat as their non-vegan counterparts. Think about it this way: A vegan chocolate chip cookie may be dairy free and/or made with organic or raw ingredients, but it can still be 240 calories with 39 grams of carbs, 19 grams of which come from sugar. A small order McDonald’s fries has less carbohydrates, sugar and calories than that! White sugar is vegan, flour is vegan, chocolate chips can be vegan, and just because a cookie is made with these does not mean it’s worth you biting into.
Because of its meaty texture, this Asian fruit has gained recent popularity as a meat substitute. However, just because jackfruit can taste and look just like pulled meat doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great source of protein. And in fact, it’s quite the opposite. A 1 cup serving of jackfruit has less than 3 grams of protein, making it a less-than-ideal substitute for meat in the diet. Not only is jackfruit low in protein, but because it’s a fruit, it’s also a major source of carbohydrates and sugar. That same one serving packs in 31 grams of sugar, which is as much as an Original Single Milky Way bar! There’s a place in the diet for jackfruit, but if you’re looking for a vegetarian source of protein, tofu or egg whites are a much better bet.
4. Avocado toast
Avocado toast may seem like the healthiest choice on the brunch menu, but if you’re dissecting this trend from a weight-loss standpoint, you may want to pass next time you see it on a menu. While avocados are considered a healthy fat, and do provide health benefits, it’s not necessary to eat more than a serving a day to reap those health benefits — and a serving of avocado is really not much at all. A serving of avocado is a third of a medium avocado. Most restaurants make their avocado mash with the whole fruit though, so you can be looking at a toast that tallies around 300-400 calories, before the thick slice of olive oil drizzled bread. If you’re craving avocado toast, try opting for a variety that uses egg whites and tomatoes in the mash for an added lean-protein and nutrient boost.
5. Matcha lattes
Between the specialty matcha shops like Cha Cha Matcha popping up and all the coffee joints adding matcha lattes to their menus, matcha is one food trend that has taken the mainstage — and for $5-7 a cup, it will set you back a pretty penny too. While matcha is packed with antioxidants and provides detox health benefits that cannot be disputed, ordering up a latte may not be the magic elixir you bargained for. A 12 ounce matcha latte from a popular coffee chain packs 24 grams of sugar and will set you back 190 calories. To put that in perspective, that’s like taking your coffee cup and stirring in 6 extra teaspoons of the granulated stuff. This wouldn’t be so bad, except matcha alone naturally has no sugar, or calories at all! Say later to the store-bought matcha lattes, and whip up your own cup at home with unsweetened almond milk and stevia. Not only will your wallet thank you, but your waistline will too!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.