Do These “Healthy” Foods Live Up To Their Reputation?

Eating healthy is essential for overall health. However, it can be challenging; companies often mislead customers with health buzzwords such as “organic,” “low-fat,” and many others. For example, an organic cheese puff or a candy bar that’s packed with fat or sugar is just as likely to contribute to your weight gain as a non-organic one. To aid your understanding of the health content of common “health” foods, I’ve compiled this list of some of the most famous ones. There are hundreds more, but this is a start!

While yogurt may be touted as a superfood for weight loss and gut health, it’s not quite the cure-all you might imagine. Flavored yogurt is loaded with potentially-carcinogenic artificial colors, flavors, and loads of sugar. It can be just as bad as ice cream!

Next, that dried fruit you’ve been snacking on (in trail mix or on its own) could be adding tons of sugar to your diet. Many commercially-prepared dried fruits are coated with added sugar and preserved using sulfites, one of the most common food allergens.

Onto a crowd favorite: spicy tuna rolls. While certain types of sushi can load your diet with anti-inflammatory omega-3s, that spicy tuna roll is also loading it with saturated fat. The mayo-based sauce used to give the spicy tuna roll its heat adds a significant amount of fat to the recipe, as well as making it nearly twice as caloric as a traditional tuna roll. Unfortunately, this applies to many kinds of sushi rolls.

Some people tend to equate gluten-free with higher health content or less carbs. While going gluten-free can be a lifesaver for those suffering from celiac or gluten sensitivity, the gluten-free treats at your grocery store aren’t always a bargain when it comes to your health. Many gluten-free treats have just as much sugar, if not more, than their gluten-filled counterparts, and the flours in place of wheat are often significantly more caloric and not any lower in carbs. The majority of products that are created specifically to be marketed as gluten-free generally tend to be much more processed, contain more calories and added sugar, and less fiber and protein than the similar products that contain gluten.

Additionally, whole wheat bread likely isn’t the health food you were hoping for. Many loaves are packed with high fructose corn syrup and molasses, especially those that are marketed as “honey whole wheat.” Choose a sprouted bread such as Ezekiel make sure you’re getting added nutrients without added sugar.

Granola’s reputation as a health food isn’t exactly well-earned either. Many of the granolas at your grocery store are made using butter, vegetable oil, and white sugar. Just a half-cup of Kellogg’s Special K Touch of Honey Granola packs 9 grams of sugar coming from four different sources, including white sugar, honey, corn syrup, and molasses. Depending on the brand you buy, you may be consuming far more calories than you’d expect; many granolas have upwards of 400 calories per cup before adding milk.

Finally, don’t try to improve your health by ditching full-fat peanut butter for the low-fat kinds. Many brands make up for the flavor they’ve taken out of your PB with tons of extra sugar and salt while reducing the amount of heart health-promoting monounsaturated fat. Go for an all-natural, no added sugar jar of peanut butter.

Of course, it is important to take all of these warnings with a grain of salt. Don’t stop eating your favorite foods because they are on this list! The most important thing is awareness of what you are putting into your body, but you deserve to treat yourself once in a while. Maintain your intake of fruits and vegetables, heart-healthy foods, good fats, and supplements and vitamins (such as Host Defense), and you’ll be invincible!

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