Walk into any health food – organic – homemade – grass fed – free range – gluten free – type store (and oh they’re popping up like mushrooms after a storm) and you’re bound to see shelf after shelf of so-called ‘healthy food’ – foods that are made to be better than mere normal food. Food that will infuse you with the vitamins that you need, enhance the stuff that makes you better, detox, cleanse, douse and has all the makings of miracle food. But are they really miracle food? Well, a little bit of research and what do you know, a lot of these ‘healthier’ options are anything but! In fact, anything short of real, unprocessed, food can be bad for you. Here are 5 ‘healthy’ foods that aren’t healthy at all. Hopefully with this list, you’ll be able to make a more conscious choice the next time you go shopping!
Dried fruit (the horror shown in the top image) is often touted as a healthy snack and a great alternative to eating junk food – they’re easy to carry around, they’re supposed to be packed with nutrients and Hey! Fruit! But are they really? Ok, so it’s not like dried fruit is unhealthy per se. It’s more like it’s what’s used to dry the fruit isn’t exactly healthy. Not to mention that heating the fruit to dry it out can also reduce it’s nutritional content. And finally, perhaps most importantly – especially if you’re trying to lose weight, dried fruits are basically concentrated sugar. Overeating them (which is easy to do since they’re so yummy) without working out will most definitely cause you to gain weight. Not something you want.
Yeah, thanks to the brilliant advertising team Nutella hired to promote their hazelnut spread, many mother’s worldwide thought that Nutella was actually a ‘tasty yet balanced breakfast’. Little did they realize that their kids were just eating what is essentially a sugar glazed with a chocolate substance pretending to be a hazelnut spread.
Oh fruit juice – the staple of any good breakfast and brunch. Touted as being the same thing as having fruit, what easier way to get your nutrients? Fruit juice however is not at all the same as eating a real fruit. For one it lacks all the fiber that a real fruit has (and, no, having a little pulp in the juice is not the same) fiber that helps slow down the rate at which sugar enters your blood and reduces your insulin response. Pre-packed fruit juices also have a bunch of sugars, aromas and other additives added to the mix making your ‘fresh juice’ anything but. If you decided to make it at home, it can be a little better than the store bought version, but you’re still ingesting a whole bunch of sugar and extra calories (consider this, an orange has about 80 calories but a glass of orange juice has over 110).
Low Fat/Light/Flavored Yogurt
It pisses me off no end that it’s so hard to find plain, sugarless, full fat yogurt in stores these days. It’s as if stores have just given up on them. At some point somebody said, “Eat your yogurt because… probiotics and gut health! But make sure it’s low fat because… saturated fats bad!” And everyone just went nuts buying low fat flavored yogurt. Well, here’s the thing, when fat is taken out, something else has to be added to replace all the lost flavor – usually it’s corn syrup or some other artificial sweetener. It’s better to buy full fat, sugarless, plain yogurt and add your own fruits to flavor it. If you really need to sweeten your yogurt, then go for a teaspoon of honey.
Well, trail mix isn’t exactly unhealthy for you. It’s just that store made trail mix also sometimes comes with a bunch of other things in the mix – things like M&Ms, or chocolate covered raisins and more. Again, it’s more about how much you eat of it that is unhealthy. It’s usually best to just buy raw nuts and make your own trail mix than buy a store bought one.
Oh I’m not done yet! Stay tuned and we’ll explore more foods that are supposed to be healthy but really aren’t. Happy authentically healthy eating!