Sunday, March 11, 2012

Surprising Health Food Imposters That You Should Avoid

Chances are that if you are reading this article you want to make healthy food choices and you care about your health. The list below contains some foods that are perceived to be healthy, but that is not the case. Just because marketing may make it seem like something is healthy does not mean that it is!

Baked Potato Chips:
While they are lower in fat, they are still high in calories, low in nutrients, and do not fill you up.
Smarter Alternative:
Popcorn. You will still get the crunch and saltiness, with 65% fewer calories. Just do not load it up with butter or oils. Go for air popped brands.
Health Bonus:
Whole grains that are good for your heart and your waist line. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association stated that adults that eat popcorn take in 2 1/2 time more of whole grains than people who do not.

Gummy Fruit Snacks:
While some fruit snacks may contain a little juice, for the most part they are usually nothing more than candy that has had some vitamins added to it. They also contain high fructose corn syrup, which is linked to obesity. As well as partially hydrogenated oils, that are NOT good for your heart!
Smarter Alternative:
Fresh or dried fruit. They both have fiber to keep you full and countless health benefits that you will not get with the fruit snacks.
Health Bonus:
Real fruit contains nutrients that boost your immune system. As well as antioxidants that fight cancer.

Light Ice Cream:
Light Ice Cream can have fewer calories, but it is not always for sure. Sometimes the lighter version has more calories than the regular version. The light version often lacks the flavor that is in the regular version. This may leave you unsatisfied and therefore tempt you to over-indulge. People tend to think that if it is "light" then they can eat more and it will equal the dietary equivalent as the regular version.
Smarter Alternative:
Dairy-free ice cream, it may save you calories.
Health Bonus:
It contains fiber that is good for digestion. Some are made with chicory root which is a natural source of inulin. Inulin is a prebiotic that increases healthy bacteria in your gut and helps your body absorb nutrients.

Diet Soda:
Research has linked drinking even just one diet soda a day to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms such as belly fat, putting you at a higher risk for heart disease. Diet soda may contain caffeine and other artificial ingredients.
Smarter Alternative:
Flavored fizzy water. It has zero calories, with the carbonation and flavor you are used to. Watch out for ones containing artificial sweeteners.
Health Bonus:
You are getting water that is essential for almost every part of your body, without the chemicals.

Non-Fat Salad Dressings:
Non-Fat salad dressings are often loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of taste from not having any fat. This results in extra calories.
Smarter Alternative:
Oil-based salad dressings such as olive or vinegar. You get the fats that are good for you, without the saturated fats. Also, get the dressing on the side.
Health Bonus:
You need a little fat on your salad to be able to absorb all of its nutrients.

100-Calorie Snack Packs:
Studies have shown that people may eat more food and calories if they are in smaller portions. People often eat more than one portion until they are satisfied.
Smarter Alternative:
A small portion of almonds. The contain protein and fiber to keep you full.
Health Bonus:
Many healthy nutrients including magnesium that gives you strong bones.

Health & Weight-loss Breakthroughs 2010. Rodale, 2010. Print.

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