Losing weight is actually super easy, according to… absolutely nobody.
Modern technology eliminates a large portion of daily physical exertion (the car, the dishwasher, that thing with two wheels that mall cops zip around on).
Also, calorie-rich foods and drinks practically pop out at us around every corner. Just to drive into town, you have to pass up a dozen fast food restaurants that want to fill you up with tasty badness for 99 cents.
Dedicating yourself to getting into better shape in this environment is difficult. It takes willpower and discipline. That’s why we want you to be aware of a few foods that aren’t as healthy as you’re led to believe. We call them “Fake Health Food”.
You should be rewarded for your healthy choices. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can avoid unintentionally sabotaging your success.
Leading off our fake health food list is flavored yogurt. It’s a shame that yogurt has to appear on this list at all, because yogurt itself is a great healthy snack.
The problem is that the flavored stuff often contains more than 15 grams of sugar in a very small individual serving size, destroying the health benefits. If you’re a yogurt fan, opt for the plain Greek variety. Add fruit and even a little honey for flavor, and you’ll be much better off.
Diet soda seemed like a good idea. For a generation of people who grew up on the fizzy good stuff, but wanted to get away from the massive sugar intake, diet sodas seemed like a good option.
Unfortunately, the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas have been linked to some pretty serious health issues. For years we’ve known about the cancer risks associated with these products. Recently, however, research has come out that links diet beverages to stroke and dementia as well.
And the connection is significant. Moderate consumption (1 to 6 diet sodas per week) could more than double your risk of stroke.
If that isn’t enough reason to kick the habit, you may be interested to know that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda are up to 100 times sweeter than real sugar. You do avoid the calories, but all that sweetness makes the palette crave even more.
Fruit is healthy. So it stands to reason that fruit juices make a healthy beverage.
Unfortunately, most of the commercially available juices are loaded with extra sugar, and diminished real fruit content. In fact, many options are little more than juice-flavored soft drinks without the fizz.
Even when you can find pure fruit juice without anything added, you still miss out on the fiber and other nutrients that you get from eating the fruit itself. Whenever possible, opt for actually eating fruit, and drinking water.
Granola is another product that should be healthy, but often isn’t. Rolled oats, nuts, and dried fruit are all healthy ingredients. But to improve the flavor, many granola products include large amounts of sugar.
Pay attention to the nutrition information, and you’ll see how quickly the calories can add up. A bowl of granola can be comparable to children’s cereals. But if you get the right brands, and pay attention to sugar content and portions, granola can work for you.
Smoothies are a big part of a lot of diets. They’re used as nutritional supplements, snacks, or meal replacements. Because of this usefulness, smoothies have been seen as a very healthy nutritional choice. And they can be. But it’s important to make them yourself, or at least be very aware of what they contain.
Smoothie stores often load their products with things that turn a healthy meal replacement into a dessert. Some smoothies are even based around ice cream. They taste great, but know what you’re getting.
Low-Fat Peanut Butter
Here’s the thing, almost all of the peanut butter on the grocery shelves is actually candy. Yes, we said it.
Sure, there were some peanuts involved at some point, we think. But the finished product ends up being a conglomeration of artificial ingredients, and sugar, so much sugar. All you need to do in order to prove the difference, is to try some natural peanut butter without any added sugar. They are not the same foods.
Low-fat peanut butter is no exception. The fat is reduced, but the sugar content is not. Speaking of which…
We’ve been misled.
For decades, we were told to closely monitor our fat intake in order to stay in shape. That seemed to make sense, of course. If you want to lose fat, why not limit the amount of fat that you take in?
But things are just not that simple. The fats that we consume are not transported directly to our own fat stores. Instead they are broken down and used by the body in a variety of ways. It actually turns out that proper dietary fat is an important element of our nutrition.
But the low-fat/fat-free trend still has its impact on much of our food choices. The main reason that this is a problem is that food sellers need to keep their reduced-fat offerings tasty in order to sell their product. To accomplish this, they turned to added sugar and artificial ingredients.
The decades since the low-fat movement have proven that dietary sugar is a much greater threat to our health than were the fats that they replaced. Click here to learn more about how different types of calories affect us.
These bars are another food that is aimed specifically at the health-conscious. Protein consumption is crucial to a healthy diet, and helps you to feel full and fight off cravings.
The problem with “protein bars” is that they tend to contain much of the stuff you’re trying to avoid, and less protein than you could get through other sources. A single protein bar may well contain over 8 grams of sugar, and more than 200 calories. That’s hardly a healthy substitute.
Many protein bars actually are a good option, but be careful to read the nutritional information before making your purchase. Most products packaged as protein bars should actually be found next a Snickers or Baby Ruth.
Despite the marketing images depicted with sports drinks, they’re little better than soda when it comes to sugar content. In fact, the most popular brand (It rhymes with Gatorade) contains about half the sugar of Coca-Cola per fluid ounce.
Sports drinks also usually come in larger sizes too. Depending on the size you select, it’s easy for the sports drink to contain more sugar than a can of soda.
To be fair, these drinks do a great job of keeping you hydrated during intense physical activity. But if you use them for that purpose, understand that it comes at a price.
We end our list with another food that really should be good for us. Nuts are a wonderful source of healthy fats, and are very nutritious. But many of the commercially available nut varieties have added a great deal of sugar and salt.
In order to keep nuts a healthy choice, eat them raw and unflavored. Or you can roast your own, and use flavoring ingredients that don’t turn a good thing bad.
What foods have you realized aren’t actually that good for you? Share your experience in the comments below.