A lot of times we have the impression that something is healthy just by its name but that is not always the case. I came across this great article from MSNBC.com that details five foods that are typically labeled as healthy, but aren't:
- Yogurt: Most people know that calcium is important to build bones and prevent osteoporosis. And milk products, such as yogurt, are one of your best sources of calcium. Recent research also shows that some healthy bacteria in yogurts, called probiotics, can help keep you regular, curb symptoms of travelers' diarrhea, diarrhea associated with taking antibiotics and inflammatory bowel disease, and might even boost immunity and lower colon cancer risk. The most powerful bacteria are ones like L. acidophilus.
Don't pay extra for the brands on the market that say their specific form of bacteria — with silly names like “regularis” — are any more effective at keeping you regular. And just because a yogurt has the word “immunity” in the title doesn't mean it's better at boosting your immune system either. Choose a brand with a mix of bacteria. Also, skip most fruited varieties, which have up to eight teaspoons of added sugar, more sugar than you'll find in most candy bars. With Americans consuming more sugar than has ever been consumed by any living creature in the history of the planet, or about 40 teaspoons a day, we need to cut way back on sugar, not keep piling it on! Oh, and those yogurt coatings on pretzels and raisins? It's more candy than yogurt, which explains why an ounce of yogurt-coated raisins has more than 40% more calories than plain raisins.
- Low-carb desserts: These sales gimmicks typically have just as many calories as their full-carb counterparts. For example, Oreo Reduced-Fat cookies have 150 calories for three, just 10 calories less than the full-fat originals. Weaver's Baked 40% Reduced-Fat crackers are only 20 calories less than the full-fat Weaver's crackers. And General Mills Reduced Sugar Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal has only 10 fewer calories per 3/4 cup serving than the regular.
Why don't you save more calories? Many of these items replace sugar with a sugar alcohol, such as maltitol or maltodextrin, which has fewer calories than sugar, but isn't calorie-free. And watch out — these alcohols can have a laxative effect. Also, in some cases, the manufacturer has just down-sized the serving size, so you're eating less in order to get those slightly fewer calories. Also, beware. People tend to eat more when they think it is low-fat or low-carb, so you could end up packing on even more weight if you don't limit the serving size.
What about low-carb desserts?