Good health starts with what we eat. It sounds simple but with so many emerging food trends, it’s tricky figuring out what is healthy and what has been given a false halo. It is easy to fall for the latest craze, or be stuck with our old ideas of what healthy eating looks like, but taking time to see what the latest research says can really pay off.
Eat This, Not That recently did some digging to come up with a list of “healthy” foods that are actually bad for your health. Here are nine of those:
1. Granola. As one of the top breakfast choices, granola is not as healthy as you may think. For starters, most brands are made with loads of sugar, butter and vegetable oil, meaning they are packed with calories. And that’s before adding milk to your granola. Make sure you go for a brand that is low in sugar and artificial flavorings.
2. Low-fat salad dressing. Products that are promoted as “low-fat” are often packed with sugar and artificial ingredients as a way of making up for the bland taste that results from removing the excess fat. Low-fat salad dressings tend to be made with added sugar, salt and preservatives. The same goes for low-fat yoghurt.
3. Gluten-free snacks. Unless you have been diagnosed with celiac or a gluten sensitivity, there is not much benefit for cutting gluten from your diet, and eating gluten-free products can actually be more damaging than beneficial to your health. These products tend to be processed, higher in sugar and therefore higher in calories.
4. Vegetable chips. Vegetables are good for your healthy but they lose their saintly label when they are deep-fried and loaded with salt — which generally is the case with veggie chips. Fresh fruit is a far better snack but if you are craving something salty then rather opt for air popped popcorn.
5. Canned soup. How unhealthy can soup be? Chances are that you won’t like the answer if you are going for the instant or canned soups found on your supermarket’s aisles. Most of these brands contain loads of sugar, sodium and possibly BPAs from the cans, which is linked to insulin resistance and obesity.
6. Green juice. This drink may be made with veggies but chances are the pressed juice you order from your health food store is also high in sugar from all the fruit used to sweeten it up and add flavor. It does not help that most of the fiber has been removed from your juice.
7. Protein bars. In recent years, expert have been looking into the potential benefits of eating a diet that is higher in protein. And while the medical community remain divided on this one, there is no denying that the sodium, sugar and artificial colors that are crammed into most protein bars are not great for your health.
8. Coconut water. It is easy to buy into the hype of coconut water, and all the promised health benefits but the truth is that most flavored coconut water drinks contain loads of sugar. Hydrating with water is always the best option but if you have to drink coconut water, make it an occasional treat.
9. Dried fruit. Eating dried fruit is not unhealthy per se, but this snack has a much higher concentration of sugar than raw fruit does. If you are not limiting your portion sizes, you could be adding tons of extra sugar to your diet.