Don't Be Fooled by These Healthy Imposters

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As recent news has revealed, many brands of grated Parmesan cheese contain wood-pulp fillers. This may seem like an isolated occurrence, but there are more food faux pas to be looking out for. Don’t be fooled by these six seemingly good-for-you foods.

Fruit candy

Fruit Snacks

They might sound like a good choice for your little ones, but there’s no real fruit going on in these teeth-destroying chewy bits. They are made from a mix of sugar, juice concentrate, thickeners, colorings and flavorings.

Microwave Breakfast Sandwiches

They’re promoted as a healthy and fast way to start your day, but these boxed sammies are filled with sodium, fat, sugar and a bunch of other junk, including trans fats and azodicarbonamide (yes, that additive used in tires and yoga mats). Munch on one of these for breakfast and you’ll be taking in nearly 30 percent of the daily recommendation for sodium.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

You might think this stuff tastes too good to be healthy … and you’d be 100 percent correct. Even though it’s advertised as Mom’s healthy breakfast staple, with more than 10 grams of sugar per tablespoon, chocolate-hazelnut spread should be treated as a treat!

Multigrain Anything

The more grain the better, right? The word “multigrain” may imply a plethora of grains, but most are not whole grains, and that’s where all the nutrients are. Check ingredient lists on breads and cereals marked with this title and make sure there are actually whole grains in there.

Fat-Free Cheese

You can’t have cheese without fat. Period. Slices of nonfat processed cheese contain an impressively long list of additives and fillers to achieve a rubbery and somewhat cheeselike texture. Pass on this impostor and stick to the real thing.

Close view syrup spilling from container

Pancake Syrup

You may have grown up with a sweet face smiling back at you from the syrup bottle at the breakfast table, but it’s called “pancake syrup” because there’s no maple to be found in it. This syrup is just a gooey mixture of corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.