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Deceptive Health Foods That May Shock You

Deceptive Health Foods That May Shock You

There are so many foods out there that have the low fat or fat free label on it. There are also “health” foods with the “natural” label on them that are very misleading. The trouble is the FDA has very skewed guidelines as to what is on a label. So it is up to the general public to self-educate about how to quite literally read between the lines. Otherwise, the deceptive health foods can have a way of keeping your waistline from shrinking.

What are some of the deceptive health foods out there that you should be aware of, especially if your goal is to purchase only the healthiest and highest quality foods for your family? Check out our list below for some helpful tips.

The Importance of Reading Food Labels

One of the ways we get duped as consumers is the confusion between calories and fat. When we get on a diet, we get to buying all sorts of low-fat stuff and end up sabotaging our efforts because we are still consuming big calories. The thing to keep in mind, is that fat does get used as energy which is calories but low fat does not mean no calories. You can eat low fat cookies that are 300 calories each! These deceptive health foods add more sugar to make up for less fat, adding up to a minimal difference in calories.

The best thing to do is to be a label watcher. Make sure you are reading the calorie count and then you can play with the fat content. The calories are what are going to cause you to gain the weight.

Deceptive Health Foods: Terms to Be Skeptical About

When reading food labels, there are certain terms that you should be skeptical about when you see them. According to the New York Post, certain deceptive health food labels are extremely misleading. For example:

  • Lightly sweetened foods – Something that is marked “lightly sweetened” might appear like a healthier option at first, but the truth is that the term “light” is not regulated by the food industry. This means that a manufacturer can call their use of sugar “light,” even if it isn’t. Check the actual ingredients list and nutrition facts to figure out how much sugar is in a food, and then figure out if the “lightly sweetened” label is really truthful.
  • Uncured meat – Even if a product like sausage or bacon says it’s uncured, it really is. Basically, it’s preserved, and there will be a different type of nitrate in it. Rather than using lab-made preservatives, makers of “uncured meats” will use nitrates that have been derived from plants. Bottom line: cured and “uncured” meats can contain harmful cancer-causing compounds.
  • Natural foods – A simple rule to remember is if reading “natural” on the label and see more than two ingredients, it’s not natural. The ingredients in, say, natural peanut butter should be peanuts and oil. Anything more than that and it does not qualify. If it doesn’t have to be refrigerated, it has to have something to stabilize it and won’t qualify either.

A Short List of Some Deceptive Health Foods

Smoothies

There have never been more smoothie bars than there are now. But not all smoothies are created equal. They are now a fashion and you have smoothies being engineered to satisfy a fad rather than to keep you healthy. It is better to make your own and be sure of what is in them. A lot of commercial ones are made with powders that are less than organic. Some smoothies have more fat and sugar in them than a serving of ice-cream! Next time you stop in to have a smoothie, ask for a nutrition guide and choose an option with fewer calories.

Bran Muffins

To put it simply, unless you are making your own with bran flour then you are probably consuming “ shortcut bran muffins” most commercial bran muffins including your neighborhood bakery, are probably full of sugar and salt and oats for cheap filler. You would do better to make your own from scratch. People went on a craze for bran muffins when it was said that they would lower cholesterol. But those deceptive health foods under the bran muffin guise will pack on the pounds rather than keep them off.

Veggie Chips

Veggie chips might seem like a healthier alternative to regular potato chips, but some of these snack foods aren’t all that healthy. This is another case where you need to look at the ingredients label to see what’s really in the food. Are the chips really made from vegetables, or do they merely contain some veggie powder for color because they’re actually made from potatoes? Also, once you look at the nutrition facts label, you might even find that these are comparable to regular potato chips when it comes to sodium, fat, and calories. Be careful with these deceptive health foods!

Protein Bars

If you think that having a protein bar for a snack, or before or after a workout, is a wise idea, think again. A lot of the protein bars out there actually contain a lot of sugar, making them comparable to candy bars, and putting them on the list of deceptive health foods. Once again, reading the nutrition facts label and the ingredients list is super important to be sure you are really consuming a nutritious food, and not one that is masquerading as health food.

Remember that deceptive health foods exist everywhere. It is up to you to stay in the know about them so they don’t creep up on you as fat.

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