Nutrition articles by Alyssa Simon, RD

Healthy Foods that Aren’t

on May 18, 2012

Many of us know that some key foods to staying healthy include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and nuts and legumes. When we look at the nutrition facts, we typically look at calories, fat, sugar, carbohydrates, and protein and it is easy to be swayed into buying fat-free or sugar-free foods. Often times people think they are doing their bodies a favor when digging into nutritious foods like smoothies, muffins, and turkey burgers, when really, these diet disasters may be health food in diguise.

5 “healthy” foods that aren’t

Yoplait yogurt– With a healthy dose of protein, calcium, and probiotics (good bacteria), yogurt is generally a nutritional plus. However, when it is made with 26 grams of sugar, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, modified corn starch, tricalcium phosphate, potassium sorbate, and minimal probiotics, any nutritional benefits are basically counteracted.

A better choice would be to stick to yogurt brands that have less than 20 grams of sugar, contain probiotics in the ingredient list, are high fructose corn syrup free, and do not contain anything you would find in a chemist’s lab. Stonyfield, Chobani, and Siggi’s are excellent choices.

Trail mix– If you buy pre-mixed trail mix, you may not be making as healthy a choice as you think. While nuts are heart healthy and full of protein, they often come salted in trail mix. Dried fruit is full of antioxidants and vitamins, but it is typically covered in sugar. Trail mix also may come with candy, and is often laden with hidden, unhealthy oils.

A better choice would be to make trail mix yourself! Throw in some of your favorite unsalted nuts, dried fruit with no added sugar, and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of candy covered in hydrogenated oils.

Sushi– Sushi is generally thought as healthy because it is filled with seaweed and omega-3 rich fish. However, some sushi rolls even come with real meat, and some are filled with cream cheese and mayo-based sauces.

A better choice would be to stick to vegetarian sushi rolls. Instead of the spicy tuna roll (290 calories, 11 g fat), try the cucumber roll (136 calories, o g fat) (source)

Multi-grain bread-when people see bread labeled “multi-grain”, they are tempted into thinking it means the same as whole grain. This isn’t necessarily true because it simply means there are different types of grains in the bread, which could mean refined flour.

A better choice would be to check the label for the word “whole” grain. This ensures the bread is giving you the whole grains that you want without tricking you. Remember, just because the bread is brown does not mean it is whole grain.

Granola bars– Not all granola bars are created equally. Some are filled with natural ingredients such as whole grains and oats, dried fruit, and nuts, while others are filled with refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils.

A better choice would be to check the ingredients, and fiber to calorie ratio. Look for granola bars with at least 5 grams of fiber. The caloric count depends on the amount of energy that you are expending. If you are choosing a granola bar for a snack, look for a granola bar with less than 200 calories.

Remember, it is perfectly okay to splurge on occasion. This list is only meant to be informative when you want to make healthy decisions.

One response to “Healthy Foods that Aren’t

  1. Kailey says:

    Oh yoplait yogurt – how you decieve SOOOO many people. Seriously though, their greek yogurt has gelatin in it…why!?

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