7 “Healthy” Foods to Avoid

7 “Healthy” Foods to Avoid

            When you first start to pay attention to your diet, it seems like there are a lot of healthy options out there to get you started. However, some of these foods that are marketed as healthy are actually just as bad--if not worse--than the unhealthy foods! Fans of Seinfeld will remember the episode with the fat free yogurt shop; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Here are a few “healthy” foods to avoid on your next trip to the grocery store.

  1. Low-Fat Salad Dressing. Like many foods that are marketed as low-fat, low-fat salad dressings often offset the loss of delicious fat by substituting sugar or high fructose corn syrup. At that point, you may as well sprinkle a bag of chocolate chips over your salad! Delicious? Maybe, but it definitely isn’t healthy.
  2. Canned Soup. If we’re being honest, canned anything should be avoided if possible. In order to preserve the food inside, it’s often loaded with sodium. In fact, one can of a popular brand of chicken noodle soup has nearly 2,500 mg of sodium![1] Excess sodium can cause all sorts of health problems, so you’d be better off making your own soup. If you’re looking for a recipe, check out our hearty vegetable stew!
  3. Flavored Yogurt. While yogurt itself can actually be quite good for you, flavored yogurt is another story. Much like low-fat salad dressing, low-fat or flavored yogurt is often loaded with sugar, making it counterproductive to your health and weight loss goals. Instead, reach for plain yogurt to make your frozen berry bites!
  4. Anything Labeled “All Natural.” “Natural” is one of those food marketing buzzwords that doesn’t mean a whole lot in terms of how healthy it is for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have an official definition for it so there really aren’t many restrictions in terms of who can slap an “all natural” sticker on their product. For many consumers, the idea of an “all natural product” conjures up images of healthy gardens and whole fruits and vegetables. However, some companies still inject their “all natural” products with high fructose corn syrup under the argument that the syrup is derived from corn, thereby making it natural. The same can be true for foods injected with a lot of sodium since salt is technically natural.[2] Be sure you check out the true contents of any food label before you allow yourself to be duped by misleading marketing terms.
  5. Sports Drinks. Brightly colored sports drinks might look cool in the commercials or when they’re getting poured over a winning coach after the Super Bowl, but they are absolutely loaded with sugar. According to a study by Cardiff University, regularly drinking sports drinks can lead to things like tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and gout, especially in teens.[3] Instead, grab a glass of water! It might not be neon in color or have a fun flavor, but proper hydration is essential.
  6. Granola. You might be thinking that this one can’t possible be correct, but hear us out. A lot of commercially prepared granola is really high in sugar (remember: just because your M&Ms are surrounded by oats doesn’t mean they’re a health food). In fact, one report said granola would be better off in the dessert category because it can have as much sugar as a chocolate cake.[4] Does this mean that granola is inherently bad for you? Of course not, but commercially prepared granola can be. One alternative is to prepare your own granola during your weekly meal prep. That way, you can monitor how much sugar you’re actually ingesting (a good general rule of thumb for all your food).
  7. Veggie Chips. According to a physician nutrition specialist at the Center for Nutrition in Beverly Hills, a fried chip is a fried chip, and “the harmful ingredient isn't (necessarily) the thing being fried but the saturated and trans fats being used in the frying process.”[5] If you’re looking for a crunchy alternative to your favorite potato chips, try slicing and baking your own veggies for a healthier baked snack.

            So what’s a person to do if they want to shop for a healthier diet? The biggest piece of advice is to avoid taking shortcuts or being lured into a false sense of healthy security by misleading food labels. Stick to a diet of whole foods with plenty of (uncanned) produce and be sure to take your daily dose of Vemma to get essential vitamins and minerals. There are no shortcuts to healthy eating, but by being conscientious about your food, you can stay on track to your personal health and fitness goals. The FDA has has implemented new rules for manufacturers regarding food labels, making them easier than ever to read so you can be sure your low-fat foods aren’t packed with sugar. Avoid the marketing pitfalls as you work to build a healthier you by checking the labels. You’ve worked too hard to be waylaid by hidden ingredients!

 

[1] https://www.campbells.com/campbell-soup/condensed/homestyle-chicken-noodle-soup/

[2] Deza, Danny. “16 Most Misleading Food Labels.” Health.com, 7 June 2012, www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20599288,00.html#all-natural-0.

[3] “Sugar Rush: the Hidden Risk of Sports Drinks.” BMI Healthcare, www.bmihealthcare.co.uk/health-matters/health-and-wellbeing/the-hidden-risk-of-sports-drinks.

[4] Embury-Dennis, Tom. “Why You Need to Stop Eating Granola for Breakfast, According to Health Experts.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 31 Aug. 2016, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/granola-breakfast-why-you-shouldnt-eat-healthy-eating-tips-a7217811.html.

[5] Brady, Krissy. “11 'Healthy' Foods Nutritionists Never Eat.” Women's Health, Women's Health, 23 Apr. 2018, www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a19962814/fake-health-foods/.

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