Chances are you see the gimmicks every time you hit the grocery store. The words “healthy” and “natural” are tossed around by a variety of companies trying to appeal to your desire to be more health conscious. They promise to make you have more energy, be more regular, and to give you that supermodel body without any extra effort on your part. Most of us buy into these false hopes because we want an easy solution. Unfortunately, these terms are not well-regulated, allowing many “health foods” and other products into the market that are anything but.
Here are some common deceptively labeled products to avoid. Not only are they not healthy, often they lead to the very things they claim to fight – weight gain.
7 Surprisingly Not So Healthy “Health” Foods:
1. Diet Soda
Our top offender on the list isn’t actually food at all, but chances are you or someone you know consumes it regularly in an attempt to make healthier choices or get through the work day. Diet sodas have been linked in various studies to weight gain. The artificial sweeteners trick the brain and lead to cravings triggering excess food consumption. The artificial sweeteners in these drinks also create adverse reactions in many people, including migraines. Do you have a diet soda addiction? Check out these healthy alternatives that taste just as good.
2. Energy Drinks
Energy drinks make a ton of empty promises, but they come with numerous health risks. They’re often full of high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, and they’re loaded with caffeine and other stimulants to provide “energy”. The jittery, wired energy they provide is hard on the body, though, especially the heart. These drinks can be addictive, too. As tolerance builds, more is needed to provide the same “energy”. This increases the health risks associated with excess caffeine consumption.
Natural energy comes from eating and drinking natural healthy foods and consuming pure water. Energy in a can is a quick fix for the chronic fatigue that comes from unhealthy habits. Over time, it taxes the body leading to heart disease, kidney stones, and a host of other undesirable side effects. Even diet or “low carb” energy drinks can trigger overeating. Both soda and energy drinks are loaded with chemicals.
3. Salad Dressing
Even most “light” versions of salad dressings are loaded with calories, made with chemicals, and have little to zero nutritional value. Check out our natural Lemon Miso Dressing.
4. Frozen Yogurt
Many view frozen yogurt as a healthy alternative to ice cream, however most frozen yogurt is loaded with sugar and has no real redeeming nutritional value. Go for the real deal and enjoy our “Skinny” Strawberry Ice Cream. It tastes better than the alternative, and it’s better for you, too!
Cereals tend to be highly processed and made with refined grains and loaded with sugars. This makes many cereals far from healthy. Even the cereals that have vitamins/minerals added leave a lot to be desired. It is better to have a breakfast with real fruit and whole grains. Thankfully, we have a few breakfast cereal recipes that will satisfy your cereal cravings without any added “junk”. Try our Honey Nut Breakfast Cereal or our Quinoa Breakfast Cereal.
6. Bars, Shakes, and Other “Diet” Products
The word “diet” on a package should make you turn and run. These products have a chemical field day with all their fake sugars and flavors. They are cleverly marketed to “help people lose weight”, but are often loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other fat loss deterrents. They don’t live up to these false promises. The “diet industry” makes billions per year with false hope and gimmicks. When you need a quick and healthy snack that will give you lasting energy, try our Quinoa Protein Bars. They’re made with 100% clean ingredients.
7. Most Foods that Come in a Box or a Bag
Chances are if your food comes in a bag or a box, it isn’t healthy no matter how clever the slogans and marketing gimmicks are on the packaging. We’ve all seen those “100 calorie packs”. Sure, they are low in calories, but they are also highly processed and void of any real nutritional value. Calories should be measured not only in number per serving, but in the nutrient density of those calories.
If you’re looking for health food in a bag or box, stick to natural foods that come straight from the ground: quinoa, carrots, celery sticks, brown rice, apples and citrus fruits, and nuts can all be easily prepared or carried with you for a great alternative to the snack machine. Navigating the grocery store aisles can be overwhelming. Check out our 10 Tips for Healthy Shopping and our Ultimate Grocery Shopping List of Superfoods.