Sunday, September 21, 2014

10 Unhealthy Foods that Claim to Be Healthy

Food selection with no doubt is one of the main and crucial steps for leading healthy lifestyle, and one of the main topics discussed between health and fitness seekers.

Choosing the best food items could be tricky and faulty if you as a consumer were not aware enough, misleading you to buy and consume foods that are not as healthy as they say they are. Here is a list of the most common foods that claim or exaggerate being healthy.


1-    Salad Dressings

Salad Dressings

Because Salad dressings come with the word “salad”, many think of it as a good food, but they aren't necessarily. They are usually prepared with sugars, Trans fats and often contain high amount of sodium. It is advised to look at the ingredients of salad dressing or prepare ones at home with healthy ones.


2-    Low-Fat or Fat-Free Foods

Low-Fat or Fat-Free Foods

The words “fat free” or “low fat” doesn't always mean well or better as people think these days, first: fats are an essential part of healthy balanced diets, second: in many products; when fat is reduced or removed, manufacturers may add sugars, syrups or artificial sweeteners to enhance flavor, which can cause health problems.

Read more about fats types and their important roles in the body fats types and their important roles in the body .


3-    Low-Carbs Junk Foods

Low-Carbs Junk Foods
     Just as in “low-fat” anything, “low-carb” anything could be not healthy, for the reversed reason of low-fat, that is; the food may be low in carbohydrate but still loaded with unhealthy fats, extra calories, and minimum or zero other needed nutrients. 


4-    Ready Fruit Juices

Ready Fruit Juices

Ready juices are mainly water, flavors and added sugars; they may not even have fruits in them! Many people fall for the “natural juice” tag on the package, especially when the juice is thickened, because that is how natural juices look like when they are blended, but unfortunately thickeners are added to the juices to make them look that way, not necessarily natural juice. 

You should opt for freshly prepared juices, or even better; eat the whole fruit so you won’t loose the benefits of its fibers.


5-    Margarine


Margarine is considered to be a healthier version and substitute for butter because it’s made from vegetable oils. But margarine is not a real food; it is an artificial imitation of butter.

In order to make vegetable oils more solid at room temperature, oils in margarine go through hydrogenation process, which leads to the production of Trans fats, the more solid the margarine the more Trans fats it contains.

Trans fats are known to their harmful effect to blood vessels and cardiac health; so substituting real food with a non-real food may not be the best choice, but you still need to maintain reasonable consumption of butter.


6-    Sport Drinks

Sport Drinks
     Sport drinks do offer benefits for athletes and heavily trained individuals to replenish electrolytes and energy, but for most lightly active persons; it doesn't offer a plus, only re-hydrating from plain water and maintaining well balanced diet is enough, no need for the extra calories existing in sport drinks to get hydrated.


7-    Many Processed and Spread Cheese

any Processed and Spread Cheese

The issue with many processed and spread cheese that most of them are synthesized from fats, flavors, thickeners, and to a varying degree cheese, milk and milk extract, putting back some minerals and vitamins that were lost in processing, so the manufacturers can say it’s fortified and deliver cheese benefits.

But with real cheese you get its benefits from calcium, protein and other nutrients without the unnecessary content of extra fats (especially Trans fats) and food enhancers.


8-    Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast Cereals
    Although many cereals are introduced to people as healthy, enriched and fortified food; they are usually a huge resource of sugars, refined grains and artificial colorings, especially the one targeted to children.


9-    Fruit Yogurts

Fruit Yogurts
    Yogurt itself is a good source of calcium and protein, problem with fruit yogurts that they are usually loaded with added starch, sugar, and corn syrup; this makes them contain higher calories and carbohydrates compared to mixing plain yogurt and fresh fruits in your kitchen. 


10-   Free-Cholesterol Junk Foods

Free-Cholesterol Junk Foods
    Many food marketers attract users with “low or zero cholesterol” label on food products, some of these products are even plant-source-based (cholesterol only comes from animal sources), so why the label from the first place? 

From health point of view; first: usually you synthesize cholesterol in your liver more than you get from foods, second: if a food is free or low-cholesterol it doesn't mean it’s healthy; it may still have other harmful ingredients such as trans fats or too much sugar.

Read more in: All About Cholesterol.


The main keys to avoid falling for overrated food-related health claims are:

First: Read the nutrition facts when selecting and buying foods, and familiarize yourself with the most commonly used ingredients and know what each means to health.

Second: Try to be a savvy buyer; isolate the effect of fancy, glowing marketing claims on food packages; one of their main goals is to sell more.

Third: Chose real foods more often; which are natural, usually single ingredient foods. 

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