In today’s post about fake healthy foods to avoid, you’ll most likely find out that you’ve been consuming foods you thought were healthy, but they’re actually the opposite of that.
If you continue reading, you’ll learn more about the meaning of fake healthy foods, and you’ll enrich your nutrition knowledge. In addition, reading the labels will become a habit of yours.
What Exactly Are Fake Healthy Foods?
If you’re a person who wants to start living a healthy life, the first thing you need to do is to pay a bit more attention to your diet. You can’t be healthy if you constantly eat food that contains little to no nutrients.
Unfortunately, a lot of foods labeled ‘healthy’ or ‘low-calorie’ are often really bad for you. Many times when something unhealthy is removed from certain food, its substitutes are even worse. That’s why it’s crucial to carefully read the labels every time you go grocery shopping.
A great number of people get easily deceived by words such as ‘gluten-free’, ‘low-carb’, or ‘low-fat’. Although it may seem logical for these foods to be considered good, they have no nutritional value and are actually fake healthy foods.
A List of 12 Fake Healthy Foods to Avoid
Sugar-free desserts undoubtedly take the first place on my list of fake healthy foods to avoid. Often, when certain food contains no sugar, this means that a sugar substitute is added to it. And sugar-substitutes are no better than real sugar.
Excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners may lead do some serious health problems, such as stomach pain, weight gain, and heart-related problems. Even though sugar-free desserts may be low in calories, that doesn’t make them good for you.
A lot of people buy packets of muesli when they decide to go on a diet. I don’t know why it’s believed that muesli is healthy and diet-friendly. If you read the labels of a few muesli brands at the store, you’ll see that all of them have added sugar/sweeteners, dried fruit, or chocolate chips. Dried fruit is typically very rich in sugar, as well as the chocolate chips.
Oatmeal is a great alternative to this fake healthy food. Just boil a half of cup of fine oats with water and milk of your choice, add some fresh fruit, and a teaspoon of nut butter. You’ll have a bowl full of healthy carbs, fiber, and healthy fats.
I always find it funny when someone orders a Big Mac, fries, and a diet soda. Yes, diet soda contains just a few calories, but believe me, this doesn’t make it good for you. Such drinks are loaded with artificial sweeteners and colorings.
Diet or not, soda drinks are extremely bad for your health, and I’d suggest you exclude them from your diet completely. If you still can’t give up on them, try consuming a can of soda once in two weeks.
This is another one of those fake healthy foods people buy because of the label. It’s an undeniable fact that light mayo contains fewer calories and fats, but their substitutes are no better. Sugar, soybean oil, and modified food starch are only a part of the ingredients used to make it taste good.
It’s much better to make your own mayonnaise at home using real products.
Protein bars are a great way to get that extra protein for the day. However, most of these desserts are very rich in sugar and artificial ingredients. If you choose to have one, you won’t consume just protein. You’ll also consume unhealthy fats and most probably trans fats.
Luckily, some protein bars are actually good and contain healthy ingredients. Their only downside is that they don’t taste as good as the once described above. But if I have to choose between the two, I’d definitely go with the second one.
The case with these is the same as the muesli one. Granola is considered healthy and diet-friendly. However, there’s a great difference between the granola sold at the supermarket and the one you make at home.
The granola you can buy from the store is loaded with sugar and/or artificial sweetener, dried fruit, and roasted nuts, which makes it extremely high in calories. Therefore, it’s much better to make granola or granola bars at home, using honey or agave syrup, and raw nuts.
Peanut butter is probably one of my favorite toppings for my oatmeal. It’s so creamy, and its nutty flavor is out of this world!
Yet there are types of peanut butter that are not so good for you. For example, reduced-fat peanut butter is definitely something I’d never buy. The fats in natural peanut butter are healthy fats your body needs. If you choose to go with low-fat peanut butter, you’d actually buy something that contains sugar, unhealthy fats, and many artificial ingredients.
Always go with natural peanut butter that contains no sugar. if you’re worried about the calories, just consume it in moderation. A tablespoon of natural peanut butter contains 94 calories, which means that having one or two tablespoons per day is perfectly fine.
Dried fruit is another one of these fake healthy foods I’d suggest avoiding. Even though they’re rich in fiber, they’re also highly caloric and rich in sugars. This may result not only in weight gain but in tooth decay, as well.
I personally prefer consuming fresh or frozen fruits, because they contain fewer calories and I can eat larger amounts of them. However, if you’re a fan of dried fruits, I’d advise you to consume them in moderation.
Fruit juice ads are extremely misleading. You always see happy children drinking juices in vibrant colors, and you hear a pleasant voice talking about the vitamins and minerals found in the drink. It’s time for a reality check.
Fruit juices are the last thing you want to give to your kids. The vivid colors of these drinks should be the first indicator to suggest that this product is anything but natural. Juices are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and colorings, and other unhealthy ingredients. Most of these drinks contain less than 15% fruit.
It’s so much better to squeeze some fresh fruits at home and drink a cup of real juice packed with vitamins and minerals.
Instant oats are probably the best option for a quick breakfast. You just pour them into a bowl of hot water and stir them.
Unfortunately, this fake healthy food is not that good for you. It often contains sugar/sweeteners and powdered thickeners. That’s why your oatmeal gets so creamy in just a few seconds. Making your own oatmeal is definitely a slower process, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Just like protein bars, a protein shake is a great way to increase your protein intake. However, you should be careful when choosing your protein powder. A great number of brands offer products rich in thickeners and artificial flavors. This may lead to stomach pain and cramps.
Always choose a protein powder that doesn’t contain any of these ingredients. It may taste a bit bland, but at least you’ll provide your body with nothing but good nutrients.
Salads In Restaurants
Salads in restaurants may seem like a healthy and low-calorie option, but that’s not always the case. A lot of salads contain fried meat, which makes them high in calories.
Many times, when you order a salad with dressing, the greens are literally swimming in sauce. What you can do is, you can ask the waiter to serve the dressing in a separate cup. This way, you’ll be able to pour as much as you like. Another downside of salad dressings is that they’re typically rich in trans fats.
I’m sure that my list of 12 fake healthy foods to avoid contains at least one food that you like. There’s nothing wrong if you want to consume it from time to time. What’s important to do is to consume it rarely and in moderation.
I personally love protein bars, and sometimes I buy one with sugar in it. As long as I don’t consume them daily, it’s fine. In the majority of the time, I eat healthy food that gives my body essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Let me know in the comment section what is your favorite fake healthy food that you like to snack on sometimes.