Hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake if the food industry can convince you that eating their junk food is actually good for you. And unless you educate yourself on what “healthy” actually means, and you learn to read and interpret food labels, you could be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts by thinking you’re eating healthy when you’re really not.
So here we go.. 10 foods that most people think are healthy, that are actually junk food:
- Fruit Juice: It’s LOADED with sugar, even the “100% natural” stuff. (Seriously, a candy-bar is probably healthier).
- Vegetable Juice: When you juice a vegetable, the healthy part is removed (the fiber) the the sugars are basically what’s left behind. You end up drinking ultra concentrated sugar-juice, and again, a candy bar would probably be healthier. I know a lot of people who like to start their day with a “healthy” dose of vegetable juice from their juicer. Most of them are fat.
- Bagels: Did you know that a typical bagels has TWICE as many calories as a donut? And to make matters worse, they’re DENSELY packed with the bad kind of carbs. Add the cream cheese and bagels become one of the worst junk-foods you can eat.
- Granola Bars: The food industry uses the term “Granola Bar” to sell you a candy bar and make you think it’s healthy. Unless they’re the super gross kind that nobody actually likes to eat, almost all granola bars are packed with sugar.
- Yogurt-Covered Pretzels: If you look at the ingredients, the “yogurt” these are covered in as actually sugar-based frosting, with the addition of something called “yogurt powder” (I have no idea what that could possibly be). Based on the label, you might as well eat chocolate covered pretzels instead.
- Rice Cakes: Yes, they are low in fat and calories (bonus!) but they don’t actually have any real nutritional value, either. The flavored versions (the only ones a real human can stand to eat) are loaded with artificial sweeteners, colors, etc. It’s probably a bit of a stretch to call these “food”.
- Frozen Yogurt: While it might not have as much fat as ice cream (And that IS a bonus) it’s got just as much sugar.
- Gatorade and Vitamin Water: Both drinks claim to be ideal for athletes, a can of soda has roughly the same nutritional value and sugar content. Earlier this year, the makers of Vitamin Water (Coca-Cola) were sued for making false claims that it was healthy. Guess how Coke’s lawyers decided to defend themselves: “.. no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitamin Water was a healthy beverage.”
- Hummus: This one hurts me to write, because I love hummus. However, it’s a calorie trap. Just two tablespoons pack 80 calories (2T doesn’t go very far when you’re dipping veggies in it). And if you eat a whole container of hummus thinking you’re eating “healthy”, you could be consuming upwards of 700 calories. (More than a McDonalds Big Mac!)
- Salad: Not ALL salad, of course, but almost any salad served at a restaurant is LOADED with calories and fat. (That’s why they taste so good). It’s not uncommon for a typical dinner-salad at a chain restaurant to contain 80+ fat grams and 1,200+ calories, making “salad” one of the LEAST healthy options on the menu at most restaurants.
Bottom line? If you plan to lose weight, it needs to become second-nature to read nutrition labels, rather than relying on the packaging and messaging that the food industry is trying to sell you.
I find that even in the “health food” aisle of the grocery store, very few things aren’t packed with sugar or the bad kind of carbs. I also find that most “healthy foods” are fairly dense from a calorie standpoint, and mislead you by telling you a “portion size” that no human would ever consume. (“3 chips” is not a portion size!!)
And seriously… stay away from bagels and restaurant salads.