Unhealthy Foods That Are Wrongly Deemed Healthy
The sugar content of most commercially-made smoothies can reach as much as 80 grams. These smoothies contain 350 calories and have no protein. Some are just made of fruit concentrates rather than real fruit extract. Adding to the calories are ice cream and loads of artificial sweeteners.
If you really have a penchant for smoothies, just consume a small serving. Order only those that are made of fresh fruits and low-fat yogurt.
Many energy bars are just candies with extra nutrients. Hungry athletes would not get their stomach full with these compact bars. And with a high price tag, energy bars may not give consumers their money’s worth.
So choose only bars that contain 200 calories or less, some proteins and a minimum of 5 grams of fiber. These nutrients would provide the needed energy when the sugar has been fully metabolized.
What is wrong with taking vitamin-enhanced water? Some enhanced-water products have 125 calories due to high sugar content.
The healthy alternative is of course a tap water with no artificial additives. Just refrigerate it and add lemon extract to make it tasty.
Sugar-free foods are not the ultimate solution to weight problems. Some think that they can indulge in high-calorie foods and gain no extra weight as long as what they are eating are sugar-free. This is a a faulty reasoning since obesity is a result of unburnt calories, regardless of whether the calories come from fat or sugar.
If you opt for sugar-free soda but order a large serving of fatty french fries, you would end up adding 300 calories to your meal. It is the calorie that matters.
Reduced-fat milk, as its name suggests, still contains fat. The difference in the saturated fat content of reduced-fat and whole milk is not that much. A cup of whole milk has 5 grams of saturated fat, while reduced-fat milk has 3 grams.
If you want to dramatically reduce your fat consumption from milk, you can take a mixture of whole milk, 2% milk and non-fat milk until you get comfortable with the taste of non-fat milk.
2% Milk Latte
2% milk latte has less fat than regular lattes with whole milk. However, if you add extra
cream on it, you are adding 15 grams of saturated fat and a hundred of calories. In terms of calorie impact, it is better to take a quarter-pound cheese burger.
The solution is to use non-fat milk. Forgo the whipped cream and save yourself 130 calories and loads of bad fat.
Muffins are often marketed as a healthy breakfast, but they are just sugary cakes made of refined flour. Commercially-made muffins could contain as much as 500 calories and more than 10 teaspoons of sugar.
Buy only those muffins measuring 2.5 inches or less in diameter. There are also 100-calorie brands with high amount of fiber and whole grains.
Chicken burrito seems fine with its healthy beans and meatless ingredients. However, it is packed with calories and saturated fat coming from sour cream, cheese and the jumbo tortilla. Some even end up as big as a forearm.
You should never order a jumbo burrito unless you plan to share it. A good substitute is a soft taco with meats grilled fajita-style, stuffed with veggies wrapped in a corn tortilla and served with low-fat salsa.
Turkey Hot Dogs
Not all brands have the same nutritional value. Some have more fat and calories than the others, so check their labels. Beware that some brands, despite claiming to have less fat, still have a lot of fatty ingredients listed on their label.
Loaded with high-fat dressing, a single bowl of Caesar salad contains 300-400 calories.
Ideally, salad dressing should be limited to 1 tbs only, while the tangy should not be more than 2 tbs.
The difference in the fat content of low-fat and regular granola is not that much – 10%. Moreover, low-fat brands can ironically add more calories to your diet by enticing you to overeat. Cornell University researchers found out that people tend to consume 49% more granola if it is low-fat.
The healthier alternative is sugar-free cereals served with fresh fruits.
There are “multigrain” products that are made mainly of refined grains which have less fiber and essential nutrients.
To make sure that you are buying the real thing, check the label. The ingredient list should include “100% whole grain”.
Low-fat yogurt, although rich in proteins and calcium, is loaded with sugars. Some brands have 30 grams of sucrose, fructose and other sweeteners.
The ideal sugar level for yogurt should not exceed 20 grams per six ounces.
Light Olive Oil
Most light oil brands have the same fat and calorie levels as regular olive oil. The only difference is the color and taste. However, there are some brands with lower calories. Compare labels to choose the healthiest brand.
Iced tea, although rich in antioxidants, cannot be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Most commercial brands are loaded with sugar. A bottle of iced tea could contain as much as 60 grams of sugar and 600 calories.
For healthier alternative, drink sugar-free tea with lemon or zero-calorie sweeteners. There are also various sugar-free herbal teas that have a sweet taste.
Omega-3 Enriched Foods
Some brands of milk, cereals, eggs and yogurt claim to have omega-3. However, most of these brands lack the types of omega-3 that are good to heart like DHA and EPA.
What these brands have is ALA which is derived from vegetables. Whether ALA is as beneficial as EPA and DHA is not yet confirmed.
You can obtain DHA and EPA from natural sources like salmon. Compared with a serving of yogurt, a salmon has 100 times more omega-3. For vegetarians, consider omega-3 supplements which are made of algae extracts.
Iceberg lettuce lacks vitamins and palatable taste, so the usual way of serving it is with a lot of fatty dressing. For a low-calorie dressing, mix spinach with blue cheese and add a bit of oil and vinegar.
Microwave popcorn is no more than a junk food. A snack-size package of a popular brand contains 6 grams of trans fat.
Compare brands and choose the one with the lowest trans fat. You can add more taste by sprinkling your popcorn with cheese and spices.
Cabbage is a good addition to weight-reducing diet, but not when it is served as cole slaw. A 4.5 ounce serving of cole slaw contains 21 grams of fat and 260 calories. These amounts are almost a third of the daily limit for most people.
Nevertheless, you can make your own low-calorie cole slaw with low-fat mayonnaise.
Processed artichoke hearts, olives and chickpeas have high amount of salt and sodium, so you should consume them moderately. Avoid cured meat also. If you have beans or tuna, only choose either one, but not both.
Among the good alternatives to these salty toppings are bell peppers, radishes and cucumbers. If you really need to use canned beans, rinse them thoroughly to remove the excess salt.
Deep-fried banana chips, although not greasy, are high in calories and bad fat. An ounce contains 8 grams of saturated fat and 145 calories, an equivalent of a hamburger. So eat fresh bananas instead which are free from fat.
Low Trans-Fat Products
A cinnamon role contains 2 grams of trans fat, which is the maximum daily limit. Pastries, crackers and cookies could be wrongly conceived as low in trans fat because of their small servings. There are brands with .05 gram of fat per serving, but beware that munching a pack of small cookies can lead to high trans-fat consumption.
Do not be misled by such labeling. Calculate the total amount of trans fat you would get when you eat a pack of food. Avoid overeating by not eating on a big cookie box or pack.
Do not be misled by labels of cracker sandwiches claiming they are made of whole grains. Most are just made mainly of refined or white flour.
Limit your consumption of cracker sandwiches and choose only low-fat brands.