We all want healthy to be easier and packaged food makes life easier. There are some healthier packaged options but a lot of packaged food items are just pretending to be healthy.
It’s important that you learn how to read the labels and determine for yourself. We cannot trust health claims. In fact, if a food package is making a health claim, it’s usually a bad sign.
Here are 15 foods that may look healthy but are unhealthy.
These taste so good.
The upside is that they are made of bananas and therefore contain the fiber, iron, magnesium, and potassium than bananas offer.
The downside: They’re often deep-fried and include flavor enhancers and sugar. Instead, try homemade banana chips cooked in the oven.
Gluten-free snacks and bread
The upside: many people, not just those with gluten intolerance or sensitivity, can find it hard to digest gluten.
The downside is that in processed foods when something is removed, another thing is usually added. So, gluten-free items can contain a lot of refined additives that are essentially depleted of nutrients, and they’re no
healthier than any other snack.
Instead, try a homemade, or cleaner snack. One with fewer ingredients and more whole grains even if it does contain wheat or gluten, will be healthier for most than a refined and processed gluten-free option.
Ezekiel bread, for instance, is a clean bread that is not completely gluten-free but will do our bodies more justice than a gluten-free, processed variety.
The upside: they are fruit.
But the downside, they’re often coated in sugar, and to protect them from mold and to keep their color, they are treated with preservatives and additives.
The upside: yogurt contains probiotics that can be great for gut health.
The downside: most commercial varieties are loaded with sugar and contain little protein.
Greek varieties are better when it comes to a protein balance, but they can still pack on the sugar. Greek does not mean healthy.
Instead, use plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and add a drizzle of honey.
Instant oatmeal packets
The upside: They are convenient and do contain oaty goodness. So, even quick-cooking oats can be a healthy choice.
The downside: These packets are often a very small serving with more sugar than anything else.
The upside of agave is it tastes pretty good and I guess it comes from a plant, but so do coffee beans, and it doesn’t make it a vegetable. It’s far from natural.
The downside: Agave is actually extremely processed and there’s more fructose in agave than almost any other sweetener, even high fructose corn syrup.
Instead, try almost any other natural or raw liquid sweetener, but the truth is they should all be consumed in limited amounts.
Brown rice syrup
The upside: It’s made from rice. It seems natural and healthy, and it contains glucose but no refined fructose which is good.
The downside: It’s very high on the glycemic index, meaning it will spike blood sugar super fast. Not to mention it’s extremely refined and contains no essential nutrients. It’s empty calories.
Vegan mayo or store-bought mayo all together
The upside: There isn’t really an upside, to be honest. What makes mayonnaise unhealthy isn’t the eggs or cholesterol or saturated fat, it’s actually the inflammatory oils.
The downside: Inflammatory oils exist in regular and vegan mayonnaise options.
What’s worse is that vegan mayo options, like many other fake vegan foods, are often more processed.
Some variations contain MSG in disguise and many contain brown rice syrup or soy proteins which aren’t doing our
bodies any good either. Instead, try making your own clean avocado or olive oil mayo. You can avoid inflammatory oils and sugar.
Low net carb, high fiber supplements.
So the upside: For most people, these can help keep the total carb counts down and get into protein.
The downside: Most of the fiber supplements used do not create a universal blood sugar response meaning, different people respond to them differently.
Some people can absorb the fiber and those high fiber syrups just like regular carbohydrates, it just sorts of depends on the person and their own carbohydrate tolerance.
Also, many companies keep the net carb count low by adding synthetic fibers that don’t provide the same benefits as
natural dietary fibers from whole grains and fruits or vegetables.
Instead, try whole foods. Most of us don’t need supplements to get enough protein and if we are in a pinch, there are still plenty of cleaner options for energy or fuel.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever eat protein bars, it just means to really be mindful about what’s in them and why you’re consuming them.
The upside: They’re low in calories and a great vessel for spreads or toppings.
The downside: They’re typically made with white rice which is digested quickly and can spike blood sugar and insulin, meaning you’re more likely to store it as fat than burn it.
Instead, try a less processed or even homemade seed or whole-grain cracker.
They may have more calories, but they’ll have more nutrients too.
If you must have rice cakes, then get one that’s made with 100% brown rice or a whole grain option, but recognize that they are still very much so processed foods.
The upside: They do provide nutritional benefits.
The downside: They’re pretty much a waste of money.
So, not only are they expensive, but they aren’t giving you much more nutrition than regular fruits and vegetables
that you can buy locally.
Almost all fruits and veggies contain antioxidants and fight inflammation and you know they aren’t processed.
Some contain added sugar, too. Instead: whole fruits and veggies, fresh or frozen.
If you love adding these to your smoothie, they probably aren’t going to hurt, but they might not help as much as you’re hoping either.
The upside: It tastes delicious.
The downside: Did you know that it’s actually just refined wheat? Essentially like a processed white pasta. You have to actually buy a true whole wheat variety to make sure it’s whole grain, or better yet, try a more nutritious option, like quinoa or bulgur wheat.
The upside: You can enjoy a burger meatless.
The downside: They’re often loaded with over-processed proteins and soy products, lacking vegetables, nd rarely healthy.
Instead, if you aren’t eating meat but will eat fish, consider a tuna or salmon patty. If you want to go meatless all together, go for a homemade or at least a cleaner variety with fewer ingredients using actual vegetables, legumes, or quinoa.
The upside: They can be a great way to get in fruits, vegetables, and nutrients.
The downside: Buying them at a restaurant or store almost ensures a sugar overload with far less nutrition.
Instead, make your own so that you’re in control of what goes in, especially that sugar content.
The upside: They are lower in fat than fried potato chips.
The downside: Other than that, they’re pretty much the same as other fried snacks.
They’re higher in sodium, nutritionally empty, made with white flour, corn syrup, and corn oil. Instead, go for a potato or sweet potato chip that’s baked or if you’re really feeling nutritious, vegetable or kale chips.