Healthy Foods That Are Not Really Healthy

Fresh Fruit

Did you know that there are a lot of foods that have been advertised as being healthy or diet foods that are actually working against you?  I know this because I was definitely a victim of it as well.  I thought low fat yogurt, 100 calorie packs or lean beef was still a good choice!!  I drank Diet Pepsi and ate low fat chips because the label told me it was a better choice!  Unfortunately we are sadly mis guided by the media and food companies.  It's time to start taking your health and wellness into your own hands and being educated about what you are eating.  I'm not saying you need to go crazy and refuse to eat anything in a package but I'm saying start to slowly make that transition.  When you make small changes you are going to see the reflection in the mirror change as well.
So here are a few misleading foods that you would of never even suspected:

low fat yogurt
1. Yogurt

It starts out as good stuff. Fat aside, there's the calcium and protein you find in all milk products, along with probiotics, which make it easier to digest for those with lactose issues. The only problem is that straight yogurt can be pretty bitter, so manufacturers load the stuff with sugar and masquerade those carbs as fruit in an effort to make the whole thing more palatable. Have a look at most flavored yogurt and you'll find the second ingredient to be sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. One container of Yoplait® Original Strawberry has 170 calories, with 5 grams of protein and 33 grams of carbohydrates, 27 of which are sugar. Oddly enough, these are the exact same nutrition facts for Yoplait's other, less healthy-sounding flavors, including Key Lime Pie and White Chocolate Raspberry.

Solution: Buy plain yogurt and flavor it yourself. You'd be amazed at how far a handful of raspberries or a tablespoon of honey will go to cut the bitter taste.  For me I love to do 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt with 1/2 cup strawberries and a drizzle of honey!  

Kirkland Greek Yogurt

2. Wheat Bread

Slice of BreadWhole-grain wheat is better for you than refined wheat. By keeping the bran and germ, you maintain the naturally occurring nutrients and fiber. But, for some reason, manufacturers constantly come up with new ways to lead you back to the refined stuff. One of their latest tricks is to refer to refined flour as "wheat flour" because, obviously, it's made of wheat. But just because it's wheat-based doesn't mean it's not refined. The distracted shopper can mistake this label for "whole wheat flour" and throw it in his cart. Another loaf of cruddy, refined, fiberless bread has a new home.  Also note that most breads have high fructose corn syrup in them, even the whole wheat bread does!  I always read my labels and actually Costco has a great bread that I love!

Solution: Slow down when you read the label. That word "whole" is an important one.  I eat Ezekiel bread which is found in the freezer section of the grocery store.  I rarely eat bread but when I do it's usually toasted and eaten with my omelet.

Ezekiel Bread

3. Chicken

Just because you made the switch from red meat doesn't mean you're in the clear. Three ounces of raw chicken breast, meat only, has 93 calories, 19.5 grams of protein, and 1.2 grams of fat. Three ounces of dark meat (wings, thighs, and legs), meat only, has 105 calories, 18 grams of protein, and 3.6 grams of fat. It may not seem like much, but it adds up. Also when buying chicken go with the fresh chicken breast versus the frozen chicken.  The frozen chicken is infused with salt water which just causes you to retain fluids, thus not losing weight.

Solution: Go for the breast, and while you're at it, ditch the skin. It's nothing but fat.  

4. Frozen or Canned Fruit

Pineapple RingsAny food swimming in juice or "light syrup" isn't good for you. Furthermore, most canned fruit is peeled, meaning you're being robbed of a valuable source of fiber. Frozen fruit is a little trickier. Freezing preserves the fruit itself, but some manufacturers add sugar during the freezing process to preserve color and taste.

Solution: Read that ingredients list! You want it to say fruit, water—and that's it.

5. Canned Vegetables

"What?!" you declare. "There's light syrup in canned string beans too?!" Nope—actually, they add salt to preserve this produce. A half-cup serving of canned string beans has approximately 300 to 400 milligrams of sodium. 

Solution: Many companies offer "no salt added" options. If you can't find one to your liking, go frozen instead—many of these don't contain salt. Or better yet, buy what's fresh and in season.  Right now being served on our kitchen table is fresh asparagus, green beans, zucchini and peppers.

6. Peanut Butter

Grind up peanuts, maybe add a little salt. How hard is it to make that taste good?

Apparently, it's so difficult that many companies feel compelled to add sugar or high-fructose corn syrup into the mix. Why? I don't know. Some manufacturers, such as Skippy®, are up front enough to admit this and call their product "Peanut Butter Spread," but many others still refer to this sugary concoction as good old "peanut butter."

Solution: Read the label. (There's a theme emerging here.) Considering real peanut butter has one ingredient—two ingredients, max—it shouldn't be too hard to figure it out.  The Smuckers all natural, Kirkland brand and the Mara Natha Peanut butter brands are the best ones that I have found!  Oh and I have to add that my husband and kids eat them as well.

All Natural Healthy Peanut Butter

7. Juice

Green SmoothieThe range in the nutritional value of store-bought juices is massive. On one end, you have "fruit drinks" with barely any actual juice in them. On the other end, you have fresh-squeezed, 100% preservative-free juices like Odwalla® and Naked Juice®. But no matter which you choose, it's important to remember that it's never going to be as healthy as whole fruit. And if you're trying to lose weight, it's a flat-out bad idea.

First off, it's been stripped of fiber, so you absorb it faster, which makes it more likely to induce blood sugar spikes. Secondly, you consume it faster and it's less filling, so you're more likely to drink more.

There are a few instances when juice is okay. For example, a home juicer can make predominately veggie-based drinks that are loaded with vitamins and minerals and lower in calories. If you're using this as part of a supervised juice fast, or you're trying to target a particular nutrient while concurrently not trying to lose weight, go for it. Otherwise, it's simply not worth it.

Solution: If you must buy it, go fresh-squeezed, but you're usually better off just skipping it entirely.  I can honestly tell you that I NEVER drink juice and I stick to mainly water and tea.  I just would rather eat the real fruit vs the juice.  Plus it doesn't give me anything that is going to keep me full.  

8. Canned Soup

As is also the case with canned veggies, you're entering a sodium minefield. Half a cup of Campbell's® Chicken Noodle Soup has about 37% of the recommended daily allowance—and who eats half a cup?

Solution: Read those labels carefully. Most companies make low-sodium versions.

9. Fat-Free Salad Dressing

Clean Eating Salad DressingDressing by definition is supposed to be fatty, and thus, highly caloric. You use a little bit of it, and in doing so, you get a healthy hit of the fats you need for a nutritionally balanced diet. Unfortunately, people prefer to buy fat-free versions so they can drown their greens while avoiding excess fat. Nothing's free. All this stuff does is replace the fat with carbs and salt, so you've basically gone from pouring a little healthy unsaturated fat on your salad to dumping on a pile of sugar.

Solution: Make your own salad dressing. One part vinegar and one part olive oil with a blob of Dijon mustard makes an awesome vinaigrette. And here's another trick: Make your salad in a sealable container, add a tiny bit of dressing, and shake it up. It'll coat so much more than tossing will.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,