Eating well is so important to achieve the body we want and the health we require for a long and fulfilled life. But it’s not all plain sailing; some supposedly healthy food is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and can be undoing all of your hard work. A lot of seemingly healthy food can take its toll on our teeth. It can be high in acidity, so we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to dental hygiene, and try to avoid it in large quantities. Health food companies can be misleading too. Many so-called “fat-free” food alternatives actually use added sugar to make it palatable, undoing all of your hard work. Don’t let this put you off your healthy food, though. It’s all about a balanced diet, and educating ourselves, so we know what to look out for. Here are a few foods that sound healthy, but could actually be doing us more harm than good.
Yogurts, cheeses, ice-cream and basically anything other dairy food now seems to come in a “fat-free” format, should you want it. It’s a con that many of us fall for as the war on saturated fats continues. But actually, we need fats in our diet. Granted, we don’t want loads of it, but we do need a little bit, and natural fats from dairy products are some of the best for us. What makes it worse is that fat-free products tend to taste appalling, so companies fill them with sugar instead, making them even more fattening and removing any nutritional value in the process.
Fruit equals healthy, right? Well, actually maybe not. Fruit juices are basically just bottles of sugar, and acid, and nutrients. Many store bought fruit juices haven’t been fruit for a long time, and are usually made from concentrate in a production that isn’t too dissimilar from soda. Yes, the nutrients are good, but there are plenty of ways to get the same goodness, without all the sugar and acid. The acidity will also play havoc with your teeth, causing corrosion and even cavities, all while you think you’re doing the right thing for your body. If you’re worried about the effects of fruit juice on your teeth, it’s important to visit your dentist. Visit our website for more information.
Advertised as a necessity for proper post-workout care, the sports drinks market is a new giant. While they contain everything you do need to replace after exercise, namely sugars and electrolytes, they contain them in unnecessary quantities. It’s important to stay hydrated after a workout, but good old water or milk are a much better choice.
Commercial salad dressing
Salad is a good choice if you’re trying to keep your weight down. It’s full of nutrients, low in sugar, and low in fats, while still being flexible enough that you can dress it up however you like. Adding protein in the form of cooked meats, nuts, and seeds is a great way to make a salad interesting, but it’s advised you add your own salad dressing. Try using a bit of cold-pressed virgin olive oil, some lemon juice, and a bit of seasoning. Commercial salad dressings are actually full of sugars, trans fats, and artificial chemicals. Basically, they take your super healthy meal and make them no better than a bag of chips.
We all know that sugar isn’t particularly good for us, and too much of it can have a severe impact on our weight and our health. Sugar alternatives seem to be cropping up all over the market, including agave nectar and brown rice syrup. Agave nectar could actually be worse for our health than sugar itself, as they’re mainly formed of fructose, which we know can cause metabolic problems if eaten regularly. Even though it is natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a healthy alternative.
Butter was basically the devil’s food due to its high saturated fat content, but its alternative isn’t much better. While it used to be filled with trans fats, margarine is now just a medley of vegetable oils and chemicals with little to no nutritional value. Studies have shown that people who replace butter with margarine are actually more likely to suffer from heart disease - not the best healthy substitute! Try using small quantities of real butter, or even good quality olive oil as an alternative.
Processed organic foods
Organic is a word that conjures up images of healthy crops and chemical-free foods, but actually, it doesn’t mean that the food is any more healthy when it comes to eating it. Processed organic snack foods may sound healthy, but they still contain all the same fats and sugars as before, it’s just that now the ingredients are organic. The impact on your body is almost exactly the same.
Free-from junk food
Similarly to organic foods, junk food which claims to be “free from” wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, or any other ingredient is still junk food all the same. It sounds healthier, obviously, but actually, it’s a bit of a weight loss myth. Calorie for calorie there isn’t a whole lot of difference. If you’re gluten intolerant and fancy some junk food, they’re perfect. But if you’re not, don’t look to them for a healthy alternative. If you have a gluten intolerance and want healthy food, you’re best off sticking to naturally gluten-free foods such as nuts and vegetables.
The health food market is vast, and almost everything has an organic, gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free version available if you know where to look. The trick is to read the labels, think about the alternatives, and consider the chemicals you put into your body. Some health food marketing is ingenious at disguising the actual implications of what you’re eating, so it’s worth doing some research. The best idea is to try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible, and stick to fruit, vegetable, nuts, seeds, and pulses.