'Healthy' Foods That Are Actually Ruining Your Diet
A nutritionist shares the health food impostors to avoid in order to keep your diet on track.
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Health Food Impostors
Your intentions are healthy, but your choices may not be. Prevent diet sabotage by smartening up about these seemingly-nutritious foods.
Fat-Free Salad Dressing
Keeping oil out of the bottle means your dressing is mostly water, salt, sugar and thickeners to give it some body. You and your salad would benefit from the healthy fats in olive oil so make your own or shop for a vinaigrette with a simple ingredient list.
Opening a can of soup at the end of a busy day may not be the healthy option you bargained for. In addition to the ghastly amounts of sodium that canned soups are famous for there are also plenty of thickeners, coloring agents and other chemicals sealed in those cans. Some brands offer lower sodium varieties that still manage to pack in one-third of your daily dose of salt per serving. Add some fresh veggies and leftover chicken to a low sodium boxed chicken or vegetable broth instead.
Whether they are spiked with supplemental vitamins, artificial sweeteners, other questionable additives, or all of the above, there are clearly better ways to stay hydrated. Check ingredient labels carefully as many of these beverages are more processed than they seem.
Frozen Diet Meals
Words like "lean" and "fit" or "smart" can dupe a health-conscious consumer into thinking they’re making a wise choice but many frozen entrees are processed junk in disguise. Armed with plenty of sodium and long lists of other preservatives, you’d be much better off sharpening your meal prep skills.
Bottled Juice Blends
They may promise to deliver multiple servings of fruits and vegetables, but these drinks often come with a hefty dose of added sugars, plus a bottle full of calories (upwards of 200 per serving. There’s no slurpable replacement for fiber-filled whole fruits and veggies.
Trying to cut the calories on your sandwich by switching to a wrap? These round flour tortillas may stack up to the same calorie count as 3 or 4 slices of bread. Be especially careful when ordering wraps at delis and restaurants, as these wraps tend to have the largest circumferences (10-inches or more!).
Seems like a new gummy item hits store shelves every day. It’s a challenge to find much fruit in these candy-like chews; the texture also wreaks havoc on your teeth. Instead reach for real dehydrated fruit without added sugar and enjoy in moderation.
This term is used for a plethora of ingredients added to food to enhance flavor and aroma. While they are derived from plant or animal products, they are made in a laboratory and likely less natural than you think. A better option would be whole foods where the flavor and smell come from nothing but real food, herbs and spices.
Leave these salty noodle cups in college dorm rooms where they belong. Social media hacks suggest skipping the flavor packet but that block of noodles is also spiked with sodium and unhealthy fats. If you really want to experience the glory of authentic ramen noodles, find a local restaurant where it’s offered on the menu.
In search of a high protein post workout snack? Try a sandwich! Just because it has the word "protein" on the label doesn’t mean a bar is a high-quality food. Many popular protein bars are nothing but candy bars spiked with protein powder so read labels carefully.
The lowest-calorie option isn’t always the healthiest. When it comes to junk food in disguise, yogurt may be one of the worst offenders. Some ultra-low-cal yogurts cut back on sugar and fat but replace them with artificial sweeteners and thickeners. Check the ingredient list on your favorite brand.