5 Unhealthy ‘Healthy’ Foods

The food and beverage industry spends 2 billion each year to market their products to young people, according to The State of Obesity.

Marketers look to mobile, television, social media and more to send the message to consumers. Additionally, research has shown that 60 percent on in store purchases are unplanned. People are making purchases because of the packaging, coupons, displays and the media.

But the foods that get the most marketing attention are often the ones in the frozen section, snacks and sweets isles and in color wrapped packaging; not the fresh fruits and veggies in the produce section. The following five foods are marketed as healthy when they really aren’t: 

Yogurt

This go-to snack is packed with sugars. Some fruit-on-the-bottom type yogurts contain 26 grams of sugar in a six ounce container; that’s equal to three Oreo cookies. While some opt for Greek yogurt types, there’s also some misleading information about the health of these types too. Not all Greek yogurt is the same and different companies use different types of ingredients for their products. First, Greek yogurt is not regulated. This means that any type of yogurt can be labeled “Greek.” Many times added sugars are added to flavored types and not all Greek yogurts contain as much protein as most people think.

Look for yogurts with milk and live active cultures. Sugars should be near the end of the ingredients list. Avoid frozen types and consider adding your own fruits.

Fat-Free or Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

This food is not a healthy alternative to its regular counterpart. Both regular and fat-free peanut butter contain the same amount of calories and the reduced fat versions have even more sugar than regular types. Regular peanut butter is a great source of monounsaturated fats or the “good fats.”  So there’s really no reason to purchase a “reduced fat” peanut butter.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative try grinding your own nut butters or select types with no hydrogenated oils.

Diet Drinks

Diet sodas were first introduced in the late 1950s, it’s surprising that some still believe that this “healthier” alternative to regular soda is truly a healthy choice. Although these types of soda are less sugary and contain less calories than regular pop, there are still plenty of reasons to kick the soda habit. Diet sodas contain aspartame, saccharin and Sucralose. All of the unnatural added sugars can actually warp your tastebuds and you’ll become desensitized to the taste of naturally sugary foods like fruit. And the sugar stand-ins in diet sodas can also trigger insulin which results in your body going into fat storage mode; this could lead to weight gain, not weight loss. These drinks are also associated with developing type 2 diabetes, headaches, depression and osteoporosis.

Diet sodas have no nutritional value. Give up this sugary, chemical cocktail and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you would like to sweeten the taste use fruits like strawberries or lemons or veggies like cucumbers to make your H2O flavorful.

Processed Meats

A ton of processed meats are marketed as healthy, but the truth is that these deli meats can lead to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. It’s often marketed as lo-cal, “roasted” or natural, but don’t be fooled. With a long list of health risks like this, it’s hard to understand why most people continue to eat this product. According to The Globe and Mail, after a 12-year-long study researches found that people who ate more than 160 grams of processed meats each day, versus under 20 grams, were 44 percent more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, cancers or even premature death. The put 120 grams into perspective, it’s equivalent to three slices of deli ham or two large sausages or three small hot dogs.

Processed meats are a source of saturated fat, a fat that raises cholesterol. it’s also very high in sodium. For example, four strips of cooked bacon packs more than half of a day’s worth of sodium intake. Traditional deli meats also contain sodium nitrite, a preservative used to combat botulism ( paralytic illness caused by bacteria). When the meats are cooked nitrates can react with natural compounds which potentially can form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. So called “natural cold cuts” are still high in sodium but instead of sodium nitrate they contain cultured celery extract, which is a source of naturally occurring nitrates.

Swap your processed meats for tuna, salmon, fresh cooked poultry, hummus or veggies for a fresher sandwich or wrap.

Salad Dressings

Salad dressings; the perfect topper to a leafy green salad. What could be wrong with adding this creamy condiment to your bowl of greens? For starters, the more toppings and dressings you add to your mix the more calories you’re consuming. Two tablespoons of one brand of ranch dressing is equal to 180 calories.

Instead of dousing your greens in dressings add toppings like fruits, nuts or fresh veggies.

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