The food you eat may seem healthy on the surface, but it either has unwanted side effects or contains harmful ingredients that can negate the benefits of other, truly healthy foods on your diet. It is good to know that what you eat can affect your overall health and well-being, but it is also a good idea not to be fooled by what the label says. Just because the label claims itself to be “healthy” does not mean you can just buy it right away. It is always a good idea to check the labels first to avoid getting junk masquerading as healthy food.
These “health foods” below are actually junk food in disguise:
Commercial Salad Dressings
Vegetables are undoubtedly healthy but they do not taste good by themselves. That is why dressings are used in adding flavor to their salads, turning them into delicious meals.
The issue? Many salad dressings are loaded with sugar, vegetable oils, trans fats and other unhealthy ingredients, along with various artificial chemicals. Commercial salad dressings can negate any health benefit you get from a veggie-loaded salad.
It is best to either check the ingredients list before using a salad dressing or make your own using healthy ingredients.
Contrary to what the labels say, most “fruit juices” at the grocery store are not really made of fruit at all. In fact, what you are drinking is fruit-flavored sugar water made of chemicals that taste like fruit.
Even 100 percent natural fruit juice is still not a healthy choice since the good stuff from the actual fruit (particularly fiber) are removed during the juicing process, leaving only the sugar in the final product.
Low-Carb Junk Food
Popular for many decades, low-carb diets have been confirmed by studies to effectively lose weight and improve health. Unfortunately, food manufacturers have caught up on the trend, producing low-carb-“friendly” processed foods on the market as a result.
Among those foods are Atkins bars, which actually contain no real food, only chemicals and refined ingredients. Although they can be consumed occasionally without messing with your metabolism, they do not really nourish your body in the long term.
Vegan Junk Food
Often for ethical and environmental reasons, vegan diets have become popular. The problem is that many promote these diets because for the purpose of improving health. Vegan foods include processed vegan food such as vegan bacon, which are often sold on the market as replacements for non-vegan ones. Do keep in mind that these highly-processed, factory-made products are bad for almost anyone, including vegans.
Processed Organic Food
“Organic” has become a typical overused buzzword in many instances and that is not a good thing. One reason is because good manufacturers have found ways to make the same food products, except they are replaced with ingredients that happen to be organic. These ingredients include organic raw cane sugar, which is exactly identical to regular sugar, being just glucose and fructose with little to no nutrients present. In many cases, an ingredient and its organic counterpart are indistinguishable. So always check the label to see what the product contains.
We are often advised to eat vegetable- and seed-based oils such as canola and grapeseed oils. All this is based on the fact that these oils have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels at least in the short term. Do keep in mind, however, that blood cholesterol is a risk factor and not a disease in itself.
Vegetable oils can help improve risk factors but they are not guaranteed to help prevent heart attacks, death and other actual health outcomes. In fact, despite lowering cholesterol levels, these oils have been shown by several controlled trials to potentially increase risk of developing heart disease and mental impairment.
When eaten in moderation, natural fats such as butter, coconut oil and olive oil are better alternatives for vegetable oils.
Processed Breakfast Cereals
Don’t be fooled by the way some breakfast cereals are marketed. Many of them, even those marketed toward children, have varying health claims listed on the package. These include claims such as “whole grain” or “low-fat” which may be misleading. This is especially the case when you look at the listed ingredients and see that these mostly contain refined grains, sugar and artificial chemicals. So it is important to always review the packaging to confirm what you are putting in your body and whether it is good for you.