Most people can decipher what’s junk food and what’s healthy. Who teaches us which foods are good and which one are bad? Our parents, our peers, but most of all advertising. Tv commercials and ads have shaped which foods we think are healthy. Food that’s good for you and food that isn’t good for you is pretty cut and dry, or is it?
We’re going to examine some foods assumed to be healthy for you but are really calorie bombs in disguise.
Let’s expose those supposedly healthy foods.
What could be healthier than a smoothie? Your local gym or spa may have a smoothie bar in it. They are made of fruit and vegetables and loaded with nutrients. That’s not all they’re loaded with…
How about sugar? Most pre-made smoothies are actually concentrated syrups cut with filtered water and other additives like fruit, chia, flax, protein, etc. In fact, some of these may be made with high fructose corn syrup, the same stuff that gives soft drinks their bad wrap. You are in essence drinking a liquid dessert in a bottle.
The smoothie chain restaurants can also be packed with sugar. This is taken from the nutrition information of a leading nationwide smoothie restaurant. Out of discretion I will not say what establishment this is, except for that this select item is on the “Whole Food Nutrition” category.
Check out that sugar. At 92 grams is it equal to 2.5 twelve ounce cans of Coke. That’s 1.4 twenty ounce bottles of Coke. Finally, that is .20 pounds of sugar. 476 of those 610 calories come from carbs.
Why is this sugar in there? The simple answer is taste. While fruit is naturally sweet, adding extra sugar is supposed to make the taste better. Factor in that American’s are so inundated with sugar that a large number of individuals can’t even taste the natural sweetness in fruit.
So next time you stop at the smoothie bar be sure to ask for the nutritional information. That healthy drink may have more calories than a fast-food burger and more sugar than a can of pop (yes I originate from a place where we call it pop, and I refuse to conform to the S word)
Large smoothie chains, while not advertised, will happily make your smoothie with no added sugar or a non-nutritive sweetener. Better yet, buy real fruit and invest in a decent blender.
Here is another classic “healthy food”. It seems like a large majority of people on a diet will eat a yogurt for lunch, in fact I’ve heard of diets where all you eat is yogurt. Who needs teeth right?
The yogurt manufacturers will go on TV talking about how you can lose weight eating yogurt. Or how the natural cultures in yogurt will cure bloating and digestive problems. What they don’t tell you is that you’re also eating a cup full of sugar. And sugar causes bloating. Hmm seems counterproductive.
One leading brand of yogurt which boasts that their product is lite and fat free contains 14 grams of sugar. The regular version that boasts being 99% fat free contains 26 grams of sugar. That’s the same amount of sugar in half a can of Coke. That Fat Free! label is tricky. It may very well be fat free but it also is loaded with sugar that can lead to weight gain.
Quick tip, when you remove fat from food you reduce the taste. Food manufacturers compensate for this by adding…SUGAR!
The best thing you can do is to flip that container of yogurt around and read the nutrition facts and ingredients. If the sugar content is over 10 grams and sugar or corn syrup is anywhere in the ingredients you should be cautious.
In yogurts defense you can find healthy options. Opt for Greek Yogurt with no added sugar. An eight-ounce container may contain 8-10 grams of sugar that is naturally occurring lactose. The ingredients should read Grade A pasteurized milk and live and active cultures. And buy it plain and add your own fresh or frozen fruit. Another great option is the new Oikos- Triple Zero. It boasts 15 grams protein, only 6 grams sugar, and 6 grams dietary fiber.
Now what can be a healthier food and more earthy than a nice bowl of granola. It’s got oats and nuts and all kinds of wholesome goodness, it’s also got, wait for it…sugar. Notice a trend yet? All these so called healthy foods are packed with waist expanding sugar.
Granola can contain different kinds of sugar from pure cane, refined table sugar, corn syrup, or even molasses. So while the oats and nuts in there are very good for you, they are systematically cancelled out by the often excess sugar.
You may also want to consider that granola is often served up with yogurt. That’s double the sugar rush for you and eventually the scale. Flavored granolas can even contain higher amounts of sugar.
In granolas defense not all are loaded with sugar, however the majority of prepackaged selections are. Your best bet is to make it yourself and control what goes in there. For example, combine oats, nuts, raisins, flaxseed, coconut, cinnamon, honey, etc. The point is that you control what goes in it and in you.
THE SUGAR FREE CONCLUSION
Sugar gets made out to be public enemy number one when it comes to healthy foods and eating. The truth is natural sugars in fruit and dairy can be fine when consumed in moderation. Even a little table sugar to sweeten coffee or iced tea can be acceptable. In this case opt for pure cane sugar which is a light amber color.
Where sugar becomes a problem is in the excess that it is added in our foods. Interestingly enough the FDA is pushing to have nutrition labels decipher between naturally occurring, and added sugar.
As I said in the beginning, healthy foods are not that foreign a concept. Your local grocer devotes a huge section of their store to them in the realm of PRODUCE.
Next time you think that ultra-healthy food is the answer, look at all the facts, because you might just be deceived.