HEALTHY FOODS THAT AREN’T HEALTHY
A personal note: As I began writing this post after considerable research (credit Muscle and Fitness Magazine for much of the content along with numerous studies) that I come off sounding like a health nut and somewhat of a conspiracy theorist.
I am neither. I work hard at fitness but I am able to eat, within reason, pretty much what I want. But other people are not so lucky. And I realize that many people need this information to help them with their fitness and health goals. But some of the information is a little scary, even to me.
Referring to the food industry, The British Journal of Sports Medicine likened the actions of the food industry as “chillingly similar” to those used by the tobacco industry .(in their methods)
Here’s a secret the food industry doesn’t want you to know: Many foods labeled and sold as “healthy” aren’t. Some have little nutritional value, some contain harmful chemicals and some are downright bad for you.
Forget the fancy packaging and look at the ingredients. And challenge the myths.
Of Americans who eat breakfast, 31% have a bowl of cereal with milk. Yet many cereals that claim to be “healthy” such as Honey Nut Cheerios , Raisin Bran and others, contain as much sugar as Fruity Pebbles.
To make those little flakes of corn, the makers destroy most of the original vitamins and minerals. They then add synthetic ingredients to fortify the cereal.
Low fat Milk
Ditch the low fat milk options to have with your cereal. Have whole milk instead.
While low fat and skim milk do have fewer calories, whole milk has more saturated fat and monounsaturated fats that keep you feeling full and support metabolism. Skim and low fat milk also contains less vitamins like A,D,E and K.
Worse yet, producers add powdered milk to skim milk to improve the consistency because skim milk doesn’t even resemble real milk. That process introduces oxidized cholesterol which damages your arteries more than regular cholesterol.
The health claims of low- fat milk and non-fat milk vs. whole milk are unsupported. Research has correlated low-fat and non-fat milk with higher obesity levels in children when compared to whole milk.
Skip synthetic oils (Crisco, margarine, etc)
The rise in popularity of these products arose from the myth that fat makes you fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat. A bad diet and lack of exercise makes you fat.
Unfortunately, food companies hydrogenate many of the fake oils you buy to maintain shelf life and keep them solid at room temperature. This process, however, makes the oil harder to digest and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. The oil is then bleached and artificially flavored.
Commercially produced vegetable oils are not much better.
They come from chemicals: Solvents and high heat are used to extract the oil. Later other chemicals are added to improve color and odor. All this transforms the vegetable oil into an unstable fat called polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). PUFA has a high ratio of Omega 6 fatty acid which can create inflammation, increased risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Many protein bars are candy bars in disguise. While the high protein content is commendable, many contain sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats and artificial sweeteners.
Ultimate thirst quencher? Better than water?
A study from the University of Oxford found:
“There is a striking lack of evidence to support the vast majority of sports-related products that make claims related to enhanced performance or recovery, including drinks… Half of all websites for these products provided no evidence for their claims, and of those that do, half of the evidence is not suitable for critical appraisal. No systematic reviews were found, and overall, the evidence base was judged to be at high risk of bias.”
Along with electrolytes, a glance at the nutrition facts reveals lots of sugar and a lot of calories.
Breads labeled as “whole wheat’ or “whole grain” can contain as much s 70% refined flour. But because it contains some whole grains it can be advertised as whole grain. The same holds true for labels stating “100% Natural”
Worse, many contain partially hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives and even food coloring.
Fruit juices do have some vitamins. But one 8 ounce of grape juice, for example, has about 170 calories, 42 grams of of carbs and 40 grams of sugar. That’s more calories and sugar than a 12 ounce can of soda. You can’t build muscle with that many empty calories and sugar. Even the “all natural” juices may contain corn syrup and additives.
Low- fat and fat-free yogurt
Many contain high-fructose corn syrup, sugar and starch. Some have as much sugar as a candy bar, while others use artificial sweeteners which may spike your insulin. Avoid the yogurts with fruit inside-the fruit is either soaked in sugar or from concentrate. Buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit.
Ignore how good it taste and think of it as candy with fiber. It contains a lot of sugar and chemicals to improve shelf life. Because it’s dried, it packs more calories per bite than a piece of fruit.
Remember, Read the ingredients and challenge the myths. You don’t need many fat-free and cholesterol-free options because, in its unprocessed form, fat doesn’t make you fat and cholesterol doesn’t clog your arteries.
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