Manufactures of low-fat and diet foods are part of a multi-million dollar industry that has one primary goal – to sell you their products. Don’t be seduced by claims of “fat-free” or “low-fat” on labels. Several foods marketed as “healthy” choices often contain ingredients that aren’t all that healthy like sugar, sodium, and Trans-fats. Following are 10 “Heath” foods that are deceptively unhealthy:
Most people think that because bran is an excellent source of fiber, bran muffins are a healthy option. Unfortunately, bran muffins don’t contain enough fiber to justify the amount of refined flour and sugar found in each muffin. The average bran muffin contains over 400 calories and 20g of fat. If you’re looking for a low-fat breakfast delicacy, you’re better off toasting up an English muffin; at just 120 calories and 1g of fat per muffin, it’s a far better choice.
Sure, a Caesar salad contains leafy green vegetables, but that’s where the healthy options end. Drenched in fat-laden dressing and swimming in a sea of croutons and parmesan cheese, this salad is anything but healthy. A dinner-sized portion of Caesar salad can contain as much as 900 calories and an astounding 60g of fat. Your best bet is to forgo this imperial indulgence and opt for a salad of mixed greens lightly tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Store-bought dressing such as Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing only contains 90 calories and 8g of fat per serving.
While dried fruit is a better sweet choice than a candy bar, it’s not a completely harmless snack. Mass-produced dried fruit contains a lot of added sugar, making it a less than healthy option. The average serving of dried fruit contains 175 calories and a whopping 45g of sugar. You’re better off snacking on real fruit, especially since an easy-to-grab apple has 65 calories and 13g of sugar.
Since soy is high in protein and potassium, you may think that flavored soy milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk. Unfortunately, flavored soy milk contains added sugar and unnecessary calories. A one-cup serving of Silk Chocolate Flavored Soy Milk has 140 calories and 19g of sugar as compared to a serving of non-flavored soy milk, which contains 90 calories and 6g of sugar. You can still indulge in flavored soymilk from time to time, but for everyday drinking, stick with the plain varieties.
While frozen yogurt is better for you than traditional ice cream, don’t let the word “yogurt” fool you into thinking it’s a health food. This sweet treat is high in calories and sugar with an average serving containing 200 calories and 22g of sugar per half-cup serving. Unlike the yogurt found in your grocer’s dairy, there aren’t any regulations in place that state how many live yogurt cultures must exist in frozen yogurt for the treat to carry the label “yogurt.” If you’re looking for a chilled treat, select a fruit flavored Popsicle for a mere 45 calories and 8g of sugar.
Often advertised as a healthier dessert option, this little treat appears harmless. Can a little yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit really be a bad choice? Actually, it can. Often made with “fat-free” (i.e. high sugar) yogurt and sugar-coated granola, this snack isn’t as healthy as it seems. As an example, a McDonald’s Parfait contains 167 calories and 22g of sugar. Your best bet is to make your Parfaits at home with Greek yogurt and low-sugar granola.
Most commercially prepared fruit smoothies contain added sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup and ice cream or sherbet as a base, making the smoothie about as healthy as a chocolate shake. For example, a Dunkin Donuts Strawberry Fruit Coolatta contains 230 calories and 57g of sugar. Yikes! If you’re craving a smoothie, make one at home with plain Greek yogurt for added protein, frozen berries, and a small amount of orange juice.
When butter became the villain of diet-conscious consumers, manufacturers answered with a solution that was simply a new monster: margarine. Packed with Trans-fats, margarine is a highly processed food created from refined polyunsaturated oils, which are more detrimental to your health than the saturated fat found in butter. You’re better off going with real butter, particularly whipped butter. A single tablespoon of margarine contains 100 calories, 11g of fat, 2.5g saturated fat, and 2.5g Trans-fat, whereas a tablespoon of Land O’ Lakes whipped butter only contains 50 calories, 6g of fat, 1.5g saturated fat, and 0 Trans-fat.
This diet favorite provides a crunchy treat in 50 little calories. What’s wrong with that? The problem with rice cakes is they don’t provide enough nutritional value. The nutrients found in their first ingredient, brown rice, have been puffed away, leaving behind a snack that’s essentially air, sugar, and salt. As an alternative, try making natural (not microwaveable) popcorn instead.
Often advertised as a healthy alternative to potato chips, Sun Chips are not a health food. Made from corn, the original version of this snack contains artificial coloring, 140 calories, and 6g of fat per serving. If you’re looking for a carb-crunchy snack, try a few Melba Toast crackers instead; at 60 calories and 0g of fat, they’re a far better option.
When looking for healthy foods and snacks, be sure to read the label and keep in mind that many “health” food manufactures are more concerned with their bottom line than the size of your bottom.
Tyler is a health and nutrition writer for satelliteinternet.com