7 “Healthy” Foods That Aren’t Actually Good For You

Wednesday 26 December 2018
Uncategorized
By Anonymous

Our idea of what makes food “healthy” is constantly changing. One day your favorite food is a good choice, and the next it’s been associated with weight gain or disease. As our idea of health is continuously evolving, these 7 “healthy” choices might not be as good as they seem.

1. Orange Juice

Health Claim:

Long considered a healthy morning beverage, orange juice has been praised as an easy way to meet daily vitamin C requirements. Some fortified versions also provide significant amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

Why it’s Problematic:

Even though most commercial orange juices brag about having “no added sugars”, the natural sugars they do contain are present in very high quantities. One cup of OJ contains about 22 g of sugar, which is absorbed more quickly by the body when ingested as a liquid without accompanying fiber. Excess sugar is eventually stored as fat by the body, and is linked to weight gain and heart disease.

Substitute With:

If you’re looking to get vitamin C with your morning meal, sub out the fruit juice for water and eat whole fruits and vegetables instead. In addition to oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwifruit, and strawberries are all excellent sources of vitamin C. Not only will you be consuming less sugar compared to juice, but the added fiber will help sugar be absorbed more slowly and make you feel full. 

2. Fat-Free Salad Dressing

Health Claim:

Low-fat guidelines that became popular in the ‘80s led to a boom of fat-free versions of products like salad dressings. Operating under the theory that all fat was bad, fat-free dressings were marketed as healthier alternatives meant to promote weight loss and heart health.

Why it’s Problematic:

Fat-free dressings usually contain more added sugar than their full-fat counterparts. They also might make your salads less nutritious. Consuming some fat along with vegetables seems to help your body absorb more carotenoid antioxidants.

Substitute With:

Choose dressings made with olive or canola oil that contain mostly monounsaturated fats. Making your own dressing at home is a good way to enjoy full-fat dressing while controlling the amount of sugar being added to your salads.

3. Sushi

Health Claim:

Sushi has a reputation for being a healthy restaurant option thanks to its emphasis on fish like salmon and tuna that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Why it’s Problematic:

The health factor of a sushi meal is highly dependent on what you order. If your favorite rolls contain deep fried tempura, cream cheese, or mayonnaise, your sushi dinner may be higher in calories and saturated fats than you realized.

Substitute With:

Switch out high-calorie specialty items for simpler sushi rolls, nigiri, sashimi, and fresh vegetable appetizers.

4. Gluten-Free Snacks

Health Claim:

For the 1% of Americans with celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction that damages the intestinal lining. The rise in popularity of gluten-free products has made grocery shopping and eating at restaurants much easier for people with the disease.

Why it’s Problematic:

Somewhere along the way, people got the idea that everyone should eliminate gluten from their diets. But gluten-free snacks often contain more sugar and calories than their counterparts, making them a less healthy choice for the majority of people who aren’t negatively affected by gluten.

In addition to the potential for extra calories, going gluten-free requires special consideration to ensure you aren’t missing out on nutrients like fiber from whole grains and the iron and B-vitamins that wheat products are often fortified with.

Substitute With:

Snacking on whole foods like fruits and vegetables is a better choice than most packaged products, whether they’re labelled “Gluten-Free” or not. But if you’re looking for something that’s easy to throw in your suitcase or desk drawer, choose packaged snacks that are lower in sugar and free of hydrogenated oils.

5. Frozen Yogurt

Health Claim:

Frozen yogurt initially gained popularity in the ‘80s as a low-fat alternative to ice cream. More recently, the popularity of self-serve chains have created a second wave of fro-yo mania.

Why it’s Problematic:

Frozen yogurt tastes so good because it contains sugar, often more than a comparable serving of ice cream. Include the fact that popular frozen yogurt shops provide an abundance of toppings, and many frozen yogurt desserts end up containing more sugar and calories than a simple serving of ice cream.

Substitute With:

Frozen yogurt and ice cream should both be considered treats rather than dietary staples or healthy snacks. To keep a handle on extra sugar and calories at the frozen yogurt shop, practice portion control and choose fresh fruit toppings instead of candy or cookie crumbles.

6. Diet Soda

Health Claim:

Originally developed in the ‘50s as an option for diabetics, sugar-free sodas eventually became big business as a low-calorie alternative to our favorite fizzy beverages.

Why it’s Problematic:

Regularly consuming diet soda has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and increased risk of dementia and stroke. Researchers aren’t sure if the soda is the direct cause of these conditions.

Theories regarding weight gain and diabetes suggest that artificial sweeteners can cause increased cravings or lead people to overindulge elsewhere in their diets.

Substitute With:

If you drink several diet sodas a day, try switching to water or skim milk instead. Adopting the mindset that any type of soda is a treat for special occasions can help to curb its potential negative effects.

7. White Wine

Health Claim:

Some studies associate moderate wine drinking with positive outcomes like a longer lifespan and lowered risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

Why it’s Problematic:

Most studies favor the health benefits of red wine over white, due to a greater presence of antioxidants. Sweeter white wines like some Riesling or Moscato varieties can contain 15 or more grams of sugar per serving, meaning a glass-a-day habit could represent a considerable portion of your daily sugar intake.

Substitute With:

If you want more health benefits and less sugar, switch to dry white wine or a red that’s rich with antioxidants.

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DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.