With labels such as “low-fat”, “low-calorie” and “all natural” swarming grocery stores everywhere, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing certain food to be superior to others when it comes to health and wellness. Unfortunately, a good number of them fail to live up to these expectations. Run through this list and see if any of these “health foods” have managed to worm their way into your grocery basket or pantry!
1. Breakfast cereal
Many brands of cereal claim to be “healthier” with less amounts of or no preservatives. The refined grains in cereal don’t offer much in terms of nutritional value and can even elevate your blood sugar level.
2. Sweetened yoghurt
Yoghurt has always been considered to be a healthier alternative to ice cream! Yoghurt that is produced through fermentation contains live cultures that are especially beneficial for the digestive system. Opt for plain greek yoghurt and stay away from those with added sugar.
3. Egg whites
Egg whites and oatmeal used to be regarded as a breakfast staple for anyone looking to eat healthily. The truth is, eating the whole egg is not as bad as it seems! The yolk of the egg contains a ton of nutrients (and flavour!) that your body needs in order to function properly. Unless you’re baking a soufflé, leave the yolk in!
4. Fruit juice
Fruit juice is absorbed into your system faster than when you eat the whole fruit, and this can be bad news for those at risk of diabetes or who simply wish to keep their blood sugar under control. The fibre in whole fruits not only slows the release of glucose, but also contributes towards a healthy digestive system.
5. Chocolate milk
The amino acids and protein found in milk can be a good reason as to why it has become a popular post-workout drink. Combined with the sucrose found in chocolate milk, it’s no surprise as to why some people thought that chocolate milk excelled when it came to spiking insulin. However, the added chocolate may contain colours or artificial flavours, and is no more effective than a quality whey protein shake.
Tofu is great for adding into salads and wraps, they’re filling and can be cooked so easily! What’s not to like? However, the benefits of soy have always been a highly-debated topic, with soy being one of the most heavily genetically modified crops around. You might want to opt for tempeh instead, which is a fermented soy product.
7. Whole grain flour
The health claims of whole grain flour are somewhat of a misnomer; the process of creating flour practically strips the grain of most of its nutritional benefit. Whole grain flour can also be packed with empty calories, which doesn’t add any nutritional value at all to the dish you have in mind.
8. Energy bars
Some energy bars are labelled as “sugar-free” and we may be inclined to purchase them due to the promise of zero impact on blood sugar levels. However, some bars can come with an obscene amount of additives as well as synthetic ingredients like palm oil. Check the ingredient label thoroughly before deciding.
9. Sports drinks
While certain brands of isotonic drinks do deliver when it comes to replenishing electrolyte levels, they can sometimes be accompanied with a significant amount of sugar. Coconut water or BCAA (branched chain amino acids) drinks can be considered as viable alternatives sans sugar!
Most wraps use refined flour and hydrogenated oils, making them a poor choice when it comes to nutrition. They are also denser, making them more calorie-heavy then say, a slice of bread. If you’re looking to scratch that savoury itch, try using whole grain bread like rye or one that’s made from sprouted grains instead!
You can avoid buying into food that masquerades as being healthy by reading into food labels and doing your research. Many food brands rely on jazzy marketing tactics and packaging tricks to convince a would-be consumer into buying them, so teach yourself to look past the obvious and you’ll come out much wiser for it!