Naturally, we all want to be healthier. And when we’re walking the aisles at our local supermarkets, there is no shortage of products that purport to help us do just that. But, do all of them really deliver?
The answer to that question is a resounding “no.” While there are plenty of healthful options out there, there are an unfortunate number of so-called “health food” products that simply fail to deliver on their promises. So, what are they, and why aren’t they all they’re cracked up to be?
Truly intense workouts deplete the body’s electrolyte and glycogen supplies. So for legitimate athletes, sports drinks can be an ideal post-workout refresher. But, most of us don’t exercise on the same level that someone training for an Olympic triathlon would. So, drinking sports drinks just adds unnecessary sugar to our diets. As for the sports drinks that tout high vitamin content as a benefit? You’d be better off drinking water and snacking on some nutrient-rich veggies.
While excessive dietary fat is certainly not a desirable thing, fat intake is not the bane of a healthy existence. That’s why it’s so perplexing why so many people equate “fat-free” with “healthy.” The fat-free label simply means the manufacturer removed the fat and replaced it with mysterious chemicals and sweeteners.
Wheat flour is better for you than white flour, but just because your bread claims to be “wheat” does not make it a health food. It is important to look at the ingredients to make sure the wheat is “whole wheat,” or opt for sprouted grain breads or multi-grain options.
Purveyors of this frosty treat like to give the impression that it’s somehow way better for you than good, old-fashioned ice cream. True, frozen yogurt contains less fat, but it’s still full of sugar. If you’re going to indulge, it’s a bit healthier, but don’t start thinking of it as health-food.
Pasteurized Fruit Juice
I know what you’re thinking… “but, it’s fruit!” Well, fruit juice might be derived from fruit, but it’s missing the stuff that makes fruit good for you. The pasteurization process kills all of the nutrients. Plus, all of the fiber is gone, which means your body absorbs the juice’s sugar as rapidly as it does the corn syrup in a can of soda. Fresh-fruit smoothies are a better option, as the fiber and vitamin content is retained.
Organic Junk Food
An organic label does not a health food make. Organic potato chips or cookies might be better for the environment, but they’re nearly as disastrous for your health as their pesticide-riddled counterparts.
Most of these fall into the same category as sports drinks. If you’re running a marathon, they’re energy-rich, but if you’re just hanging out, you might as well eat a candy bar and a handful of granola. Which brings us to…
Granola and other “healthy” breakfast cereals are actually not that healthy at all. They’re full of carbs and sugars. OK if you’re carbo-loading for a long bike ride, but not so good if you’re just sitting around the office. Swap out your breakfast cereal for a grapefruit and some raw almonds, and you’ll feel the difference.
Butter That’s Not
Believe it, it’s not butter. Most butter substitutes trade something that’s OK for you in moderation (fat) for things that really don’t deserve to be called “food.”
Fast Food Salad
“I’m on a diet. I’ll have the salad.” Have you ever said those words? Depending on where you got the salad, it could be just as bad going with the cheeseburger. Fast food salads are designed to trick they restaurants’ core demographic into thinking they’re eating healthy, while still satisfying their cravings for the same unhealthy elements present in their other offerings, by including fat-laden dressings and croutons.
[Photo Credit: gardenstatenutritionandwellness]