12 Foods People Eat at the Beach—But Shouldn't!
By Bianca Mendez
You have enough common sense to skip bringing things like spaghetti and meatballs to the beach. But did you know some of your go-to beach foods could sabotage your sunny day?
Now that the sun is out, the temperatures are rising, and the days are longer, it's no surprise that everyone wants to hit the beach ASAP. And while everyone talks about food you shouldn't eat before going swimming, there's actually a list of off-limit foods for the beach in general. Noshing on the wrong foods can make you feel bloated, uncomfortable, and even more sensitive to UV rays. Yikes! Think twice before packing any of these items in your beach bag, and then find out 27 Best Snacks for Summer Outings instead!
We know it's more refreshing than red, but leave the Chardonnay at home. Recent studies suggest that consuming certain types of alcohol—especially white wine—ups your chances of getting Melanoma and other types of skin cancer because this type of alcohol strips away the antioxidants and essential vitamins that help you withstand the sun's damaging rays. It's even higher for those who drink seven or more glasses per week! However, red wine is excellent helping you avoid those terrible UV rays. (Gotta love those flavonoids.) Learn the 7 Foods to Eat to Help Prevent Sunburn.
Sure, summer and a burger go together like June and Orange is the New Black, but eating one at the beach could make you feel extra hot—and not in that sexy way. Research shows that the high protein and fats found in beef make it harder for your body to digest, so it has to use more energy. The result? A spike in body temperature making the heat feel more unbearable. Instead, get creative and try these 21 Grill Recipes That Aren't Burgers.
Sure, all chips are hard to put down, but none is more addictive than Doritos. The reason? Its recipe was specially designed so that no single flavor overpowers another. And when foods lack a dominant flavor, people are less apt to feel full—and, in turn, consume more, say researchers. Crazy fact: One of the first ingredients on the food's label is monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive that's been known to increase appetite and make foods taste more appetizing. Stay away from this addictive snack when you're at the beach.
There's a time and a place for your cup of joe, and the beach is one where you'd want to ditch your caffeine. First, coffee acts like diuretic, which means that consuming it will make your body expel more salt and water, leaving you dehydrated. Also, according to a study in Gut, "Coffee has been shown to promote the release of gastrin, which can increase colonic spike and motor activity." Translation: You'll need to hit the bathroom to have a "bm," as mom used to call it. It's just one of the 25 Things that Happen to Your Body When You Drink Coffee.
Same with coffee; sipping tea excretes water and sodium in your body, leaving you dehydrated. But if you're one of those who absolutely need your caffeine fix or else you'll cease to function, make sure to drink water after.
There's nothing like relaxing at the beach with a frozen drink in your hand, right? Well, whether it's a piña colada or a strawberry daiquiri, those fruity drinks offer zero nutritional value whatsoever. Instead, they're sugar bombs that will cause your energy levels to spike and crash, possibly give you a headache, and definitely leave you with a bloated stomach.
Corn by itself might not be at the top of your beach day grocery list, but there's a good chance it can make its way into a salad or dip. The problem? This fiber-rich vegetable may be the source of your ballooning midsection that you worked so hard to deflate before beach day. "Not all types of carbs are easy to digest," registered dietician Lisa Moskovitz tells us. "And corn contains a type of carbohydrate that is difficult for the body to break down. This can lead to GI bacteria fermentation and trapped air and gas, which causes bloating."
Cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are great sources of vitamin C and satiating fiber, but they can also make you bloated and gassy. And who want's to feel like that at the beach? Save these 17 Ways to Use Cauliflower for another time!
A common and seemingly-innocent beach snack, pretzels aren't any better than a bag of potato chips. They're just all sodium, and will turn your belly into a balloon faster than you can ask for a drink of water.
Dried fruit can be a great source of nutrients and fiber, but it can also be a musical fruit for those who suffer from fructose malabsorption, which occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing the natural sugar. To keep your stomach flat, dial down your dried fruit to nut ratio in trail mixes and opt for fresh fruit. We recommend watermelon, which has a ton of water in it and is one of the trendiest foods of 2016!
Reconsider that deli sandwich for a beachside lunch. A standard serving of deli meat packs up to 790 milligrams of sodium—a third of the daily recommended intake. Now consider that most people pile their bread with far more meat than what's considered to be "standard." And processed cheese isn't much better. Some varieties, like feta, carry 400 milligrams of salt in a quarter-cup serving. "High sodium foods like deli meats, bacon and cheeses cause water retention," explains Kristen Carlucci Haase, R.D. "And that bloating and extra water weight can make cellulite more visible." Eeek! Check out 21 Best and Worst Foods for Cellulite.
Sodas and Other Sweetened Beverages
Talk about insta-bloat; we're not sure why anyone would drink sugary, carbonated beverages on the beach! And are you not loving the cellulite peaking out of your swimsuit? It's likely because your body is producing less collagen—the protein that supports the appearance of smooth, un-dimpled skin. Cutting back on sugar (a nutrient that's been shown to accelerate collagen's demise) can help. Though the sweet stuff is found in everything from bread to cereal, it's most abundantly found in sweetened beverages like processed juices, energy drinks, soda, and even your favorite diet soda.
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ABC News Chief Women's Health Correspondent