Take a moment and consider this logic: Fat-free foods are healthy. Poppins are fat-free. Therefore, poppins are healthy. Make sense? Of course not. But it’s exactly the type of reasoning that food manufacturers want you to use.
You see, in our example, we started with a false premise. That’s because the term “fatfree” is often code for “high-sugar”-an attribute that makes a product the opposite of healthy. Case in point: Johns Hopkins University researchers recently determined that high blood sugar is an independent risk factor for heart disease. So high-glycemic foods-those such as sugars and starches that raise your blood sugar dramatically-are inherently unhealthy.
Unfortunately, faulty food logic is far less obvious when you’re shopping outside the candy aisle. Why? Because making healthy choices isn’t as simple as knowing that beans are packed with fibre, or that fruits are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. After all, manufacturers often add ingredients, such as sugar, that can instantly turn a good snack bad. As a result, many of the products that you think are wholesome are anything but. And that’s why we’ve created our list: 7 “healthy” foods that you can-and should-live without.
The upside Yoghurt and fruit are two of the healthiest foods known to man.
The downside Corn syrup is not. But that’s exactly what’s used to make these products supersweet. For example, a cup of strawberry yoghurt contains 36g of sugar, only about half of which is found naturally in the yoghurt and fruit. The rest comes in the form of “added” sugar.
The healthy alternative Opt for Nestle’s probiotic curd, which has 90 per cent less sugar than regular yoghurt does.
The upside Beans are packed with fibre, which keeps you full and slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.
The downside The baked kind are typically covered in a sauce made with brown and white sugars. And because the fibre is located inside the bean, it doesn’t have a chance to interfere with the speed at which the sugary glaze is digested. Consider that 1 cup of baked beans contains 24g sugar: That’s about the same amount in 250ml of regular soda.
The healthy alternative Red kidney beans, packed in water. You get the nutritional benefits of legumes, but without the extra sugar. They don’t even need to be heated: Just open the can, rinse thoroughly, and serve. Try splashing some hot sauce on top for a spicy variation.
The upside Granola is made with whole oats, a nutritious food that’s high in fi bre.
The downside The oats are basically glued together with ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, honey and barley malt-all of which quickly raise blood sugar.
The healthy alternative Grab a low-sugar meal-replacement bar that contains no more than 5g net carbs-those are the ones that affect blood sugar-and at least 15g protein.
Fat-free salad dressing
The upside Cutting out the fat reduces the calories that a dressing contains.
The downside Sugar is added to provide flavour. But perhaps more important is that the removal of fat reduces your body’s ability to absorb many of the vitamins found in a salad’s vegetables. Ohio State University researchers discovered that people who ate a salad dressing that contained fat absorbed 15 times more beta-carotene and five times more lutein-both powerful antioxidants-than when they downed a salad topped with fat-free dressing.
The healthy alternative Choose a full-fat dressing that’s made with either olive oil or canola oil and has less than 2g carbs per serving.
The upside The main ingredient is fruit.
The downside If you don’t read the label closely, you may choose a brand that’s packed in heavy syrup. For instance, your favourite pack of fruit juice has only 20 per cent pulp and it’s loaded with added sugar.
The healthy alternative Look for fruit juice that has been freshly squeezed. And drink it fresh as studies show that cut fruits lose their nutrition when they are stored in a refrigerator within a day.
The upside It contains the essential omega-6 fatty acids- unsaturated fats that don’t raise bad cholesterol levels.
The downside Corn oil has 60 times more omega-6s than omega-3s, the type of healthy fats found in fish, walnuts and flaxseed. Studies suggest that a high intake of omega-6 fats relative to omega-3 fats increases inflammation, which boosts your risk of cancer, arthritis and obesity.
The healthy alternative Olive or canola oils, which have a far better ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s.
The upside They’re so small they contribute very few calories to your overall meal, yet they add a satisfying crunch.
The downside Most croutons are made with the same refined fl our that’s used in white bread, a food with a higher glycemic index than sugar.
The healthy alternative Sliced roasted almonds. They’re crunchy, sugar-free and high in monounsaturated fats.