MUST READ: 10 Foods That Sound Healthy, But Are Not!

10 Foods That Sound Healthy, But Are Not!

10 Foods That Sound Healthy, But Are Not!

Some of the foods we eat sound to be healthy naturally but researchers have made it known that most of them are not. Some of these foods and the reasons why they are not healthy are explained below as shared by livestrong.com

Store-Bought Smoothies

Most smoothie chains and coffee bars start out with good intentions and healthy ingredients. Smoothies often begin with a “base” of blended fruit, yogurt and low-fat dairy. The problem with this seemingly-healthy option is disproportionately large serving sizes (the smallest size available is often 16 oz.) combined with added sugar, ice cream, and flavored syrups. Commercially-available smoothies often include a half dozen add-in ingredients. The resulting combination racks up a hefty amount of fat and sugar that can reach anywhere from 500-600 calories!

Multi-Grain and Wheat Breads

Terms such as “multi-grain,” “7-grain,” and “wheat” sound healthy on package labels, but the breads inside may not actually be made from heart-healthy whole grains. Many types of bread labeled “multi-grain” and “wheat” are typically made with refined grains. Whole grains, by definition, are foods that contain all the essential parts of the entire grain seed; this includes the bran, germ, and endosperm. Without processing, these components remain intact and provide more protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. How can you be sure you’re getting whole grains? Read nutrition labels carefully. If the first item in the ingredient list is refined flour (it will typically say “bleached” or “unbleached enriched wheat flour”), you are not getting 100 percent whole-grain bread!

Most Commercial Jarred Pasta Sauce

Tomato-based pasta sauce is rich in vitamins A and C and delivers at least a serving of vegetables. What’s more, tomato products provide nearly 85% of dietary lycopene, which protects against heart disease and some cancers. But commercially-available brands are loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sodium and fillers. Just ½ cup of Prego Fresh Mushroom Italian sauce has 11 grams of sugar — the same amount that’s in a glazed yeast-raised donut! To extend shelf life and taste, jarred sauces are packed with sodium and ascorbic acid. Some of your favorite pasta toppers pack well over 900 milligrams of sodium per 1-cup serving — more than a third of daily sodium intake. If you want to reap the nutritional benefits from tomato sauce, make your own with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and a touch of extra virgin olive oil.

Fat-Free Salad Dressing

When trying to lose weight, salads can be the perfect lunchtime meal or light dinner. But think twice about topping your salad with fat-free dressing. Many people assume that using fat-free dressing is a healthy choice as they are saving calories. Unfortunately, by skipping a full-fat dressing, you may be missing out on fully absorbing the nutrients found in fresh vegetables. Salads are chock-full of greens, which contain fat-soluble vitamins, essential minerals and antioxidants that protect our bodies from disease, but without the addition of some fat, our bodies are unable to fully absorb the nutrients in salad. A recent study showed that eating fat with your salad significantly increased how many nutrients were absorbed compared to fat free dressing.

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Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

Reduced-fat peanut butter is not necessarily a healthier version of regular peanut butter. Both regular and reduced-fat peanut butter contain about the same amount of calories, but the reduced-fat version has significantly more sugar. Some may ask, isn’t it healthy to cut out some fat in your diet? Not in this case. Regular peanut butter is a natural source of the “good” monounsaturated fats. In the past few years, research has shown that individuals who include nuts and nut butters in their diets are less likely to develop type II diabetes and are protected from heart disease. The verdict? Look for a natural peanut butter with an ingredient list that contains no added oils, cane sugar, or trans fats. Better yet, find a store where you can grind your own, or make your own nut butter at home.

Packaged Turkey

Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein and a good choice for a speedy lunch or dinner, but many packaged turkey slices are loaded with sodium, preservatives, and nitrates to extend shelf life. One 2-ounce. serving can contain nearly one-third of the maximum recommended daily sodium intake. A diet high in sodium has been shown to increase high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. If you love turkey wraps, roll ups and sandwiches make sure to buy low-sodium varieties or opt for fresh turkey slices. If you can’t roast your own turkey, the best rule of thumb is to find a brand with less than 350 milligrams of sodium per 2-ounce serving.

Restaurant Baked Potatoes

Sure, a baked potato in its natural state (that is, sans toppings) is a healthful food. Potatoes are naturally rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Additionally, a medium-sized baked potato contains only about 160 calories. But if you’re eating out in a restaurant, don’t assume that the baked potato is the healthiest choice on the menu. Many restaurant-style baked potatoes can come “fully loaded” with butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, and other goodies that can add up to around 600 calories and 20-plus grams of fat. Ask for a plain baked potato, and get one or two small toppings on the side. If you’re really craving an old fashioned baked potato with all the fixings, try making your own healthful baked potato meal at home by adding chopped cooked chicken, chives, a tablespoon of light cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt!

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Granola

Granola typically starts with nutritious ingredients: rolled oats, dried fruit, and a healthful dose of fat from nuts and seeds. The problem is that most of the whole grain goodness and fiber is coated in sugar, honey, and molasses and then baked in oil to deliver the crunchy texture and taste we all love. A traditional 1-cup breakfast serving can pack nearly 600 calories and 20 grams of sugar before adding milk or yogurt. With the addition of gourmet ingredients such as coconut, chocolate, and roasted almonds, some commercial brands deliver as much as 25 grams of fat per serving! If you can’t live without the crunch of your favorite granola clusters, try using this whole grain as a condiment and simply sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of granola on top of Greek yogurt or hot oatmeal to give it an added crunch.

Diet Soda

Sure, diet soda is calorie-free, but there’s no evidence that drinking diet soda will help you lose weight. In fact, some believe that drinking diet soda may increase your desire for sweets and may trip up your body’s natural mechanisms that help control your hunger and appetite. Using diet soda to satisfy your sweet tooth may train your brain to crave more sweets. Consequently, when you eat a naturally sweet food, like some strawberries or a banana these treats may not taste sweet enough.

Baked Chips

If you are one of the people scouring the grocery store snack aisle to make sure your potato chip choice is “baked” not fried, you might be surprised to hear that the fried chips may actually be a better choice. Here’s why: While baked chips do reduce the fat content of chips, they don’t offer as big of a calories savings as you might expect. In fact, many chips that say that they’re baked have just 20 fewer calories compared to their fried full-fat counterparts. In addition, because fat is filling, you may actually eat more calories when enjoying baked chips because they provide a higher carbohydrate to fat ratio than fried potato chips. When we believe we’re making a healthier choice, we often eat larger servings.

Culled from an article on LiveStrong.com