Looking to lose weight or stay in shape? Then think twice about eating “health” food.
Some of the foods most touted as “health-conscious” choices are often laden with unhealthy ingredients – and will reinforce your decision to skip processed foods and eat only all-natural or homemade food.
Here are five:
Smoothies generally begin as a healthy drink, containing fruit and low-fat dairy. But when ice cream and sherbet are added to the mix, the so-called healthy drinks become a “high-calorie treat.”
Some smoothies also contain added sugar and artificial flavoring, according to The Daily Meal.
To keep nutrition in check – and to save some money – try making smoothies at home.
“A smoothie can be a great way to start the day or to refuel after a workout,” Katherine Brooking at CookingLight.com said. “Just remember to account for the calories you drink when considering what you’ve consumed in a day.”
The popular “healthy” sandwich meat can be an unhealthy protein in disguise.
A turkey sandwich prepared in a deli can contain much more meat than a healthy serving size. In addition, Brooking pointed out that packaged turkey meat is also loaded with sodium, with a two-ounce serving providing up to a third of the recommended daily sodium intake.
“So make sure you buy low-sodium varieties or opt for fresh turkey slices,” Brooking said. “If you can’t roast your own, the best rule of thumb is to find a brand with less than 350 milligrams of sodium per 2-ounce serving.”
While containing healthy bran, these muffins often pack excessive sugar and fat, said Brynn Mannino with Woman’s Day. But the real problem with bran muffins usually comes down to portion size, Brooking said.
“Many muffins sold in stores today dwarf the homemade muffins made a generation ago,” Brooking said. “A random sampling of some coffee and restaurant chain bran muffins showed that many topped 350 calories apiece, and that’s before any butter or jam.”
Will Budiaman of The Daily Meal noted that bran muffins baked at stores often come from processed mixes. As a result, he suggested for people to make bran muffins at home to control what ingredients are used.
Granola and energy bars
Believed to be “yummy and wholesome,” granola bars can be laden with sugars and fats, said Megan Lau with Reader’s Digest Best Health.
Energy bars are just as guilty of faux health claims, as many energy bars contain high fructose corn syrup and saturated fat, Brooking said. Mannino also pointed out that many energy bars contain added sugar, such as chocolate or cookie bits.
While Lau said that plain store-bought granola bars can be healthier than their yogurt- or chocolate-covered counterparts, Brooking suggested for people to make their own granola bars at home to improve the snack’s nutrition factor.
Frozen yogurt may be low in fat, but according to Lau, it is high in sugar. In fact, frozen yogurt often contains the same amount of sugar as regular ice cream, Mannino said.
In addition, frozen yogurt is typically void of the live, active cultures found in regular yogurt that help aid digestion, Mannino said. And with the assumed healthiness of frozen yogurt, people are more likely to binge on frozen yogurt than regular ice cream – despite the desserts’ similarities.
“The experts we spoke to recommend a small serving of lowfat plain frozen yogurt if you choose to indulge,” Mannino said. “When craving toppings, stick to healthful ones, such as fresh fruit slices without added sugar.”
What “healthy” foods would you add to the list? Share them in the section below: