Granola bars, yoghurt, “fat-free” products, dried fruits are all healthy right? – Well not always! In fact some of these so called “healthy food” have far more sugar than your average food that you might as well eat that cake!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we all should only eat salad – I believe in moderation. I don’t agree in being too strict on your food intake (Shocking, I know!) as healthy eating is a lifestyle change and we are only human who have cravings! If you are too strict, trust me, that when you crack (and you will..!), there’s no turning back because it was just too difficult. Instead, eat in moderation and more importantly, understand what you are eating! The worst thing possible is to eat something we think is healthy, but it is actually worst than that ice cream you’ve been dreaming about.
Take a look through our list of the worst offenders; these are some of the most common foods we think are healthy but really aren’t. Avoiding these eats can make a huge difference.
1. Granola / Energy Bar
Nearly every energy and granola bar boasts health claims, but many times they have nutritional profiles more similar to candy bars than fit foods. Literally. Some bars have as much sugar as candy. That’s not to say you should banish them all, but take special care to look at the amount of sugar, calories, and ingredients. If you’re looking for an energy boost before gym, I usually just have a piece of bread with spread (yes, there’s sugar but it would just be a teaspoon of it) and a handful of raw nuts – gives me carbs, protein and some sugar for energy!
2. Dried Fruits
Yes, I was once fooled too! Anything with fruits, we assume its healthy right? It’s not the fruit itself that is bad, but the fact that companies use sulfur dioxide to preserve freshness of the fruits and often sweetened with added sugar. When purchasing any dried fruit, you want to see only one item in the ingredient list—the fruit. You need to understand that because it’s been dehydrated, dried fruit isn’t going to fill you up like fresh fruit, and the portion size is significantly smaller. This can lead to extra calories before you realise it, and when the dried fruit has added sugar, the calories add up even quicker. Solution: Just eat fresh fruits! I love having a variety of fruit stocked in my fridge and have it BEFORE my meal. Current favourite – pear, apple and papaya 🙂
3. Diet Soda (Light, Zero,Diet… etc)
I used to drink Diet Soda like it was my only source of liquid to hydrate when I was in University – because you know its zero sugar… Just thinking about it now scares me! The artificial sweeteners in diet soda fool your body into thinking you’re eating real food and causes a spike in insulin sent to regulate your levels (since artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than actual sugar), which can turn into stored fat. Research shows soda consumption increases your risk of heart attack and stroke and makes you eat more. Drink water instead or infuse it with fresh fruits. I love infusing my water with lemon & chia seed or another combo is strawberry & mint – if you’re too lazy to make it, get yours at impressed in NU Sentral, Lower Ground (http://impressedmy.com). Another tip is, don’t ever buy it for home – worst habit as you would definitely drink it. Maybe once in awhile treat yourself to it when you are out dining. I’m guilty of having soda when I’m having a burger or steak!
4. Fruit Yoghurt
I somehow have never been a fan of fruit flavoured yoghurt as it is just too sweet for my taste. However, I know a lot of people that eats this for breakfast thinking it’s healthy! Fruit yoghurt is packed with more sugar than you’d ever suspect. Most brands have close to 15g per 6oz serving. Instead, have natural greek yoghurt (which fills you up longer) and add real fruits on it. I usually add mine with blueberries, figs or papaya and I also add raw nuts & seeds into it to get that extra crunch. OMG just thinking about it makes me hungry! And you know what it taste better than fruit flavoured yoghurt! Waaaaay better. Another easier option is to try Impressed’s smoothie bowls as they are made with 100% fruits.
5. Fat Free Food
Fat-free does NOT mean calorie-free. Just because a food contains no fat, that doesn’t make it a health food (Just look at the picture above.) Of course, there are many very healthful fat-free foods (like most fruits and vegetables), but always check the nutrition labels when buying packaged foods to be sure you’re getting a nutritious product and not just one that’s fat-free. Calories, sodium, fiber, and vitamins and minerals are all aspects you should consider in addition to fat. I strongly believe in – “Fat doesn’t make you fat, over eating does!”
6. Skim / Low Fat Milk
Skim milk is skimping on a lot of the factors that make whole milk so healthy. Yes, you’re getting rid of the fat, but you’re also stripping away essential vitamins (as well as texture and flavour). To combat this, skim milk is fortified with synthetic vitamins in an attempt to replace the protein and calcium lost in processing. Overall, there’s really little benefit to buying fat-free dairy products. If you’re looking for calcium, just stick to full fat milk (which tastes so much better!) But if you are concerned about the calories, you are better off drinking nut milk (i.e almond milk) which is rich in protein and low in calories.
7. 100% “Fruit” Juice
The fruit juice you find at the supermarket may not be what you think it is… even if it’s labelled as “100% pure” and “not from concentrate.” After being squeezed from the fruit, the juice is usually stored in massive oxygen-depleted holding tanks for up to a year before it is packaged. The main problem with this method is that it tends to remove most of the flavour, so the manufacturers need to add so-called “flavour packs” to the juice, to bring back the flavour that was lost during processing. So even if you’re buying the highest quality juices at the supermarket, they are still far from their original state. Instead, juice at home if you have the time, if not try cold-pressed juices from Impressed (http://impressedmy.com or visit them at NU Sentral, Lower Ground or whatsapp 019 4522200) as there’s no preservatives or sugar added. Tip: To know if the juices is pasteurised / processed just simply check the expiration date. REAL fresh juices should only last 3-5 days.