We’ve all made the mistake of eating junk foods posing as healthy foods. It’s an easy one to make! The trend towards eating healthier more natural foods has driven manufacturers to brand their products accordingly. So how does one navigate through all the marketing and misinformation? Well a good rule of thumb is, if it tastes like junk food then it probably is. Here are five examples of foods that we commonly mistaken for being healthy:
1. Vitamin and Mineral Infused Drinks
The first thing to remove from your fridge are any sugary beverages being pushed for their richness in vitamins, probiotics or fiber. Ya kombucha has some probiotic benefits but did you ever look at the sugar content of some of your favorite brands? Also, taking the fizz out of orange soda and calling it “Vitamin Water,” not cool. The more ingredients involved, the more calories in the form of simple sugars and artificial sweeteners, which are nothing but bad for you. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to be just as dangerous for your risk of heart disease, diabetes and all sorts of things that these healthy beverages claim to prevent.
2. Premade Smoothies
Next on the list to discard are premade smoothies. We have to tread lightly on this one because some smoothies can contain more calories than a cheeseburger, ranging from 610-1000 per drink! The reason behind this is due to the large amounts of fruits and at times added sugars and syrups. Like most foods, this can be overdone, so keep it simple and minimal when it comes to the ingredients, or better yet, make them at home!
3. Trail Mix
These tasty snacks are not low in the calorie department. There are healthy trail mixes, if you find ones with JUST nuts, maybe a little dark chocolate & dried fruit but most of the popular ones you’ll find have M&M’s, sugary yogurt covered raisins, sesame sticks and all sorts of other things which we know full well aren’t good for us. Digging your hand into the average bag results in an about 600 calories!
4. Protein and Energy Bars (Yes, we mean you Cliff Bars)
Bars labeled for being great for energy, fiber, and protein often belong in the candy bar aisle. Most bars contain high levels of corn syrup, in addition to sugar. Soy is another ingredient to watch out for in the not so healthy bars. When buying bars look for the healthier options with chia seeds, with clean whole-foods, plant-based ingredients. Also keep a look out for bars with almonds, coconut, sea salt and whey protein. These tend to be healthier and better for your body.
5. Frozen Yogurt
The greatest ruse to ever perpetrate the dessert industry. Most people think substituting frozen yogurt for ice cream is a better choice, but they’re wrong. Yes you are staying away from saturated fat but as far as calories and simple sugars they’re not so different. Most fro-yo stores have the option of added toppings, which covertly tack on more sugar and fat to what is already a pretty unhealthy treat.
Removing these five foods from your diet and staying cautious to ingredients in the future is the best defense. Stay vigilant!