We’re going to be blunt here – if you put junk in, you get junk out. You know it, and we know it. That’s why you’ve made the effort to stop eating junk food and made the switch to healthy foods, right?
Or have you?
Listen we know that you’re doing your best to eat healthy and make the right choices for you and your family when you grocery shop. But Big Food knows it too. That’s why they’ve hired a whole pack of folks to figure out how to fool us into thinking their products ARE healthy foods.
They package their foods in the earthy colors of nature. They plaster buzzwords all over them like natural, gluten free, REAL sugar, and low fat because they know we’re far more likely to put them in our grocery cart.
The 11 unhealthiest “healthy foods” in the supermarket
But if you’ve been eating the following 11 so-called “healthy foods,” you aren’t doing yourself nearly the favor you thought you were.
1. Agave nectar:
Everybody’s got a bit of a sweet tooth. Believe us, we get it! So it’s easy to be lured into thinking that there’s a sweet, sugary, healthy food that you can use an alternative.
Unfortunately, that alternative isn’t agave nectar. No matter how natural or organic it claims to be, agave nectar has more fructose than corn syrup and is more processed than table sugar.
We’re not talking about sugary kids’ cereals. You know those are unhealthy. It’s the supposedly “adult” and “healthy” cereals that are doing the real damage.
In fact, in comparison, some of the kids’ cereals actually look good – one popular bran cereal has twice the amount of sodium and sugar as a certain yellow pop! Now, we’re not saying kids’ cereals are healthy foods–but we are saying that adult cereals are just as bad.
3. Dried fruit:
What’s not to love about dried fruit? It’s the perfect, on-the-go snack. Except that it’s sabotaging your diet.
Since dehydrating fruit makes each piece significantly smaller, you end up eating far more servings to get the same amount of volume. Instead of a single apricot filling you up and satisfying you, you have an entire bag of dried ones before you ever notice.
And many dried fruits have extra sugar added, as well, so you’re getting a one-two punch of extra calories and sugar.
4. Energy bars:
These are marketed as a healthy alternative to meals, candy bars, or a mid-day snack to keep you going. And they very well may give you a boost, but at what cost?
Most energy bars give you energy because of their high carb and sugar levels. Which means you’re heading for a blood sugar spike, followed by a crash that’ll have you asleep at your desk in no time.
5. Gluten-free packaged foods:
Finding healthy foods that are also gluten-free is easier these days than ever before. But don’t be fooled into thinking that just because something is gluten-free, it’s good for you. Especially not the prepackaged, heavily processed stuff.
In order to keep you from missing the gluten, manufacturers replace it with other chemicals that are just as bad as the gluten you’re trying to avoid. Heavily processed food is bad for you, regardless if it’s gluten-free or not.
Granola is the granddaddy of unhealthy “healthy” foods. It first hit the mainstream in the 1970s as a health food and has somehow managed to maintain its undeserved reputation ever since.
Next time you’re tempted to pick up some “healthy” granola stop and look closely at the amount of sugar in it. It only takes one cup of granola to give you 600 – that’s six hundred – calories, almost all of it from sickening processed sugar.
Margarine is marketed as a healthier version of butter. But that reputation is built on the back of the saturated fat myth. The truth is cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease and saturated fats—such as the kind you find in butter—have many health benefits for your body and brain.
Margarine, on the other hand, is packed with preservatives, is made with inflammatory vegetable oils and contains disease-linked trans fats. Instead choose good-for-you grass-fed organic butter or extra virgin olive oil.
8. Microwave popcorn:
Easy, healthy, and delicious. Microwave popcorn is supposed to be everything you want in a healthy food you can feel good about snacking on. Except that it’s not.
Thanks to the chemicals used inside the bag, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), you’re exposing yourself to known carcinogens and even risking infertility. Plus corn is the second most often genetically modified food, behind only soybeans (see number 9). That’s a whole lot more dangerous than watching a movie on your couch is supposed to be!
Soy is everywhere these days from soy “sausage” to soy “ice cream” (yes, really). And despite its hippy dippy reputation make no mistake about it soy is BIG business. In fact, the growing demand for so-called “healthy” soy products has soybeans taking over as the crop of choice for many farmers.
But the truth is soy a triumph of marketing over truth. It’s estimated that 90 percent of the soy here in the U.S. is genetically modified. Which means, of course, that it’s been doused in the troubling pesticide Roundup. And most of the soy that’s making its way into all of those soy product lining the grocery store shelves is highly processed including the soybean oils that are extracted from the bean using a chemical solvent called hexane.
Don’t worry, the smoothies you make at home as a sometimes snack are probably still perfectly healthy foods. Some ice, a handful of fresh fruit, and a protein (try yummy organic almond milk!) can be delicious and good for you.
It’s those smoothies you grab while you’re out running errands that are typically anything but healthy. By the time the kid behind the counter has dumped in fruit juice, sugar-laced fruit yogurt, and flavored syrup, your perfectly healthy drink has morphed into a sugar bomb.
We love a cup of plain, Greek yogurt. It makes a great snack, it can be used in place of sour cream, and it tastes good just about any time of day. But most store-bought fruit yogurts are a very different story.
Popular fruit yogurts are often loaded up with highly concentrated fruit jellies. In fact there can be up to 18 grams of sugar in one of those small, single-size containers. Stick with the plain Greek yogurt and get half the sugar. And if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth toss in some fresh fruit which will be lower in sugar and will contain other good-for-you nutrients and healthy fiber.
Supermarket shelves are filled with highly-processed products that are being marketed as healthy foods, but which are actually foods you shouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. Don’t fall for it. Be a smart consumer, read labels and don’t buy into gimmicky packaging and buzzwords.
The less processed your food is the better. Fix your own meals with fresh organic ingredients whenever possible. And be sure to remove these 11 unhealthy “healthy” foods from your shopping list today. Your body will thank you.
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