9 'Healthy' Foods that Aren't So Healthy
When it comes to the basics, most people have no trouble distinguishing between nutritious and not-so-nutritious foods.
Fast food is "bad," while vegetables and fruits are "good." Yet, thanks to clever marketing and widespread misconceptions about nutrition in general, many "healthy" foods are actually disguised in excess sugar, salt, fat, chemicals or carbohydrates.
If you're trying to clean up your diet or balance your blood sugar, the following foods may do more harm than good:
1. Fruit smoothies
The smoothie movement is huge in health circles. But many times, whether you're buying one from Jamba Juice or making your own at home, smoothies include fruit, yogurt and juice. In moderation, these ingredients aren't "bad," but a typical fruit smoothie may include up to 50 grams of sugar and a similar amount of carbohydrates.
To make your smoothies more diabetic-friendly, use low-sugar fruits like berries and blend them with fat-free, sugar-free Greek yogurt and ice.
2. Frozen yogurt
"Froyo" has a reputation for being ice cream's healthy cousin. And while frozen yogurt is lower in fat and calories than ice cream, it is still high in sugar. Adding toppings like candy or fruit, too, increases your carb load.
3. Whole-grain bread
Whole-grain bread is healthier than white bread. But even one slice of fiber-rich, 100-percent whole-grain bread can contain up to 22 grams of carbohydrates.
Easy fix? You're better off making sandwich wraps from lettuce leaves or a low-carb tortilla.
4. Dried fruit
While having a good amount of fiber, dried fruit has about three times more calories per volume than fresh fruit. It also usually comes with added sugar (check a label - you'll probably be stunned at the sugar content) and chemicals that act as preservatives.
5. Canned produce
Canned fruits and vegetables may seem like a smart choice, since they last forever and they're cheap to buy. Yet, compared to the fresh varieties, fruits and veggies that come in cans are loaded in excess sugar, salt and preservatives.
Moreover, most of these foods are stored in cans that contain BPA - a harmful chemical that has been linked to hormone disruption and metabolic problems.
Granola is another food with a good reputation. But a closer look at the nutrition label on the average box or bag reveals that most granola is incredibly high in sugar.
Look for unsweetened varieties and mix it into plain yogurt for a more balanced meal or snack.
As a vegetable, potatoes are healthy - right? Yes and no. Potatoes - especially white potatoes - spike blood sugar quickly, as they're high in carbohydrates.
If you have a potato craving, opt for sweet potatoes, which are absorbed more slowly in the digestive tract and have a healthier profile in terms of calories and carbohydrates.
8. Diet soda
Diet soda is a staple for many diabetics, but a lot of recent research suggests that diet drinks may actually cause weight gain. The reason? One theory is that drinking calorie-free beverages disrupts natural satiety cues - meaning your body tastes something sweet, but receives no energy (in the form of calories) from it. The result is that you may end up with more cravings and overeat.
Packaged yogurt is one of the most popular "health" foods, but most varieties are packed full of added sugar and artificial flavors or colors.
The best option is plain, organic, unsweetened Greek yogurt, which is high in protein. Low-fat varieties will also save you some calories.