Diet, Healthy Foods

5 “Healthy Foods” That Really Aren’t

As Americans become more health-conscious, we gravitate to foods that are promoted as good for us.  Responding to consumers, advertisers use “healthy” as one of their most common catchwords. Unfortunately, many of these so-called “health foods” are not particularly healthy. Some of them are downright unhealthy. One of the main drawbacks is sugar, which the food industry hides in nearly all processed foods.

Give the high rate of obesity and diabetes in our culture, it is important for us as consumers to take a closer look at some of the foods we’ve been told are healthy. Here are five such foods:

  1. Whole wheat bread – The label displays words like “whole,” “wheat” and “grain.” Sounds healthy, right? We all know whole grains are healthy carbohydrates, much preferable to “white” flour that has been degerminated. However, read all the ingredients. Many brands include High Fructose Corn Syrup or other forms of sugar.
  2. Yogurt – Even plain yogurt has some sugar, in the form of lactose, but manufacturers frequently add much more. Fruit flavored yogurts are the worst offenders. Be sure to check the label and see how many grams of sugar the yogurt contains. Also see how many servings are in the container. If you buy a small container of yogurt, the label may say 19 grams of sugar – but remember, that is per serving. If the label says the package contains two servings, that is actually 38 grams of sugar.
  3. Fat-Free Salad Dressing – When the label on any product says “fat-free,” be aware the manufacturer has probably exchanged the fat for sugar.  A dressing with healthy oil, such as olive oil or avocado oil, is much preferable to one with no fat and a high sugar content.
  4. Granola, Protein, and Fiber Bars – The labels of these bars are often printed with outdoor scenes that telegraph “healthy.” But in fact, a popular Clif Bar actually contains 20 grams of sugar. Be on the lookout for sugar hiding under obscure names, like “organic agave” and “organic cane syrup.”  Remember the daily recommended intake of added sugar for an adult female is only 25 grams total.
  5. Beef Jerky – This salty snack is high in protein and easy to enjoy on the go.  Some all-natural brands are good nutrition, but read the label for two potential problems. One is the same as cited above, added sugar. The other is nitrates or nitrites, additives often added to cured meat. These are potential carcinogens.

In our next article, we’ll examine some other “healthy foods” that may not be quite as healthy as the food industry would like you to believe.