Not only are there an increasing number of healthier food choices available to us nowadays, they’re taking up more space on our grocery store shelves. But more importantly, they’re also becoming more confusing.
We’ve long been told that told that fat is bad for us, but there are plenty of healthy forms of fat that benefit both body and mind. Everything from avocados to nuts, which contain omega-3 fatty acids that help with better heart health and a number of other brainy benefits from things like fish and flax seed oils.
While smart consumers are reading labels, sometimes unhealthy ingredients seem to be hiding in brands that claim to be beneficial to us in some way. Many of us recall recent FDA requirements for restaurants and vending machines mandating them to post caloric information about their products, but what about other ingredients, sugar content, cholesterol levels and sodium? While these are available upon request at eating establishments and other venues, similar to other labeling requirements, they can be confusing or misleading.
Health Food Myths: 5 That Claim To Be Good For You But Really Aren’t
Here are some culprits that claim to be healthy or even help to promote weight loss, in some cases this couldn’t be further from the truth.
#1 – JUICES & SMOOTHIES
Packed with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, but at the same time, even the green ones are loaded with sugar and extra carbohydrates.
While juicing extracts quite a bit of the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, they can be a diabetic nightmare and not necessarily helpful with weight loss, dependent upon the ingredients.
#2 – PROTEIN BARS
What could be healthier than a protein bar full of wholesome ingredients that give us an added energy boost? Unfortunately, many of these brands pack just as much sugar as a candy bar with a few additional grams of protein added for some punch.
There are plenty of other, healthier sources of proteins found in whole foods such as nuts, beans, eggs, meat and poultry minus the artificial sweeteners.
#3 – MULTI-GRAIN BREAD
Some people confuse multi-grain breads with whole grain varieties and the difference can be substantial at times dependent upon the degree of their refinement. Some brands of multi-grain breads have been so overly processed, it removes a great deal of their healthy benefits. They can be stripped of bran, fiber, vitamins and minerals during this process, leaving the consumer with a carbohydrate spike without the benefits.
Look for whole grain ingredients as the primary ingredient for a healthier substitute.
#4 – PEANUT & OTHER NUT BUTTERS
While some “choosy Moms (and Dads) choose Jif ® peanut butter”, if you check out their ingredients, the Consumerist website points out that there’s some problems with this popular brand, including many more added ingredients instead of just peanuts:
- Vegetable Oils (rapeseed and soybean)
- Mono Diglycerides
While there are many healthier alternatives to some of these name brands of nutty butter spreads, check the label for those that contain only nuts and perhaps a bit of salt for flavoring.
#5 – FRUITY YOGURTS
Yogurt can be very healthy, especially for your digestive system, but those “fruit-at-the-bottom” choices are packed with extra sugar and carbs. Although it may take some extra time, buying plain yogurt and adding fresh fruit is a healthier alternative and you won’t get that processed sugar crash and hungry feeling later on in the day.
It all comes down to more thorough reading of labels, beyond deceptive titles like “natural” or “healthy,” and other headlines sporting these product’s exteriors, careful examination can reveal so much more.
Author Bio: Mark Kirkpatrick is a blogger and tech enthusiast in Los Angeles, California. He has found that productivity starts with healthy habits and hopes to help others achieve their goals through positive reinforcement.