April 24 2012
photo courtesy of iStockphoto / Thinkstock
Eating healthy is not always as easy as it may seem. Many foods that are pitched to us as “healthy” are anything but. As you look to improve your eating habits, be on the lookout for these Top 5 “Often Disguised As Healthy, But Harmful” Foods:
5. Frozen Yogurt – Some frozen yogurts can be okay, but you must look very closely at the ingredients list. Most of the tasty yogurts promoted as healthy alternatives to ice cream are pumped full of sugar or even aspartame and high fructose corn syrup.
4. Multi Grain Breads – When deciding to move away from white bread to a more healthy option, beware that multi-grain is not always healthier. That’s because multi-grain products try to pretend they are whole grain products. Whole grain can be good for you in moderation if you are not gluten sensitive. It contains every part of the grain that provides health benefits – the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Whole grains can be a good source of dietary fiber. Multi-grains, on the other hand, are refined, meaning they have been milled. This refining process removes the bran, which is the part of the grain that is healthiest. In some cases, multi-grain bread is little different from white bread.
3. Vitamin Drinks and Diet Drinks – TV commercials encourage us to replenish our electrolytes by purchasing vitamin drinks or to quench our thirst by choosing diet sodas as a lighter option, but the truth is these are just sales gimmicks. Popular vitamin drinks actually contain loads of sugar and some even contain caffeine. One popular producer of vitamin drinks has even been sued for trying to deceive consumers with their health claims. Even the diet sodas that claim to have eliminated sugar have only substituted toxic chemicals that may be even worse for you. Aspartame, a popular sugar substitute in many diet sodas, has been linked to brain tumors, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
2. Low Fat Fakers – We often see food labels touting “low fat” or “reduced fat,” but even when these labels are true, they can be deceptive. Read the label carefully. Oftentimes, low fat “diet foods”are high in sugar, making them counterproductive for weight loss. Also, keep in mind there are good fats and bad fats. Good fats, like in some oils, avocado and nuts, are part of a healthy diet.
1. Soy Substitutes – While organic soy can be healthy, conventional soy like in many soy burgers or soy milk may increase the risk for thyroid problems, breast cancer, and brain damage. Conventional and processed soy contains anti-nutrients that can interfere with the digestion of protein, hemagglutinin, which can clot your blood, and goitrogens that can damage thyroid functions. Soy is also packed with compounds called isoflavones that can mimic human estrogen and cause such complications as infertility, altered menstrual cycles, and even increased risk for breast cancer.
Perhaps you noticed the theme here: many food makers are taking advantage of your desire to make healthy food choices by selling you “healthy” food options that are actually no better than the junk you are trying to abandon. To protect yourself, always read the labels and learn to separate facts from jargon.