These days you can’t make it more than a few feet in the grocery store without spotting another one. Designed to appeal to those of us making an effort to eat healthier, these so-called health foods are actually harming our health.
It’s true; their earthy green and brown colored packages do look appealing on the shelf. And then there are the healthy-sounding buzzwords they’re stamped with—such as natural, low fat, gluten-free and made with real sugar—that compel us to put them in our cart.
But make no mistake about it. It’s all a carefully calculated effort, intended to make you believe you’re doing something good for you and your family’s health.
Unfortunately, far too often they’re anything but healthy.
Ditch these “health foods” from your diet TODAY
Following are five popular “health foods” you’re better off passing by on your next shopping trip.
You don’t need me to tell you that sugar-packed kids’ cereals aren’t health foods. But what about those adult cereals?
With pictures of healthy looking grains and fit smiling folks on the box, they certainly look good for you. But the truth is many adult cereals are even worse than the ones designed to appeal to children. In fact, one popular bran cereal contains TWICE the salt and sugar as a certain yellow pop aimed at kids.
Skip the cereal and opt for something healthier and far more satisfying, such as eggs, instead. And if you find it impossible to give up cereal entirely, opt for a small serving of a whole grain, no added sugar variety (read those labels!).
Are you one of the countless consumers who has been hoodwinked into believing margarine is a healthier version of butter? This unhealthy spread doesn’t deserve its better than butter reputation. In fact, the saturated fat myth is the foundation for this lie.
The truth is although eating saturated fats can raise your LDL cholesterol LDL isn’t always the marauding menace we’ve been led to believe. In fact, it even plays some essential roles in your body such as helping to form important hormones.
It’s oxidized LDL, or oxLDL, that’s the true villain behind heart disease. And in moderation, saturated fats—such as the kind you find in butter—can have some health benefits for your body and brain.
Margarine, on the other hand, is…
- packed with preservatives
- made from inflammatory vegetable oils
- can contain disease-linked trans fats (although they’re FINALLY being phased out)
Skip the margarine and use grass-fed, organic butter or extra virgin olive oil instead.
3. Reduced-fat peanut butter:
A basic misunderstanding about fats has given birth to this anything but healthy version of peanut butter.
The fats in peanut butter are nutrient rich and good for you in mdoeration. Remove them and not only do you rob this once healthy snack of its health benefits, you’re left with a product that has more sugar than the original.
Plus since removing the fat removes much of the flavor too, food manufactures often make up for it by adding extra sugar and junk salt. Opt for a full fat organic version instead.
If a lifetime achievement award for the world’s unhealthiest health foods existed granolas would take home the prize. Fooling folks since the 1970s, granola is usually little more than candy hiding behind its hippy dippy reputation.
Next time you spot some granola on the grocery store shelf, flip it over and read the nutritional label. Most of these so-called healthy snacks are loaded up with a ton of processed sugar and junk oils. Typically, there are at least 600 calories in a cup, and the majority of it comes from sickening processed sugar.
Dump the carb-heavy granola and reach for a fistful of healthy, antioxidant-rich nuts instead.
5. Dried fruit:
Dried fruit may seem like the perfect, on-the-go healthy snack. But it’s hiding some not so healthy secrets.
When you remove the water from fruit, the amount of sugar per serving skyrockets. And since the fruit shrinks significantly in size, it’s much less filling. So folks tend to eat far more of the dried version than they would of the fresh variety.
But the bad news doesn’t end there. Food manufacturers often sweeten dried fruit even further with processed sugars. And to most folks surprise many dried fruits contain some inflammatory vegetable oils as well.
The solution is simple. Eat the fresh fruit instead. It will be naturally sweet, won’t send your blood sugar skyrocketing and will be far more satisfying.
Highly processed products masquerading as health foods fill supermarket shelves. Don’t fall for their clever marketing. Stick to fresh organic ingredients and whole foods whenever possible instead. And when buying products be sure to look past the clever packaging and read the labels.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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