We all know the basics when it comes to eating well: get plenty of greens and avoid processed foods.
But did you know there are some supposedly ‘healthy’ foods out there which may be scuppering all your best efforts?
You might feel virtuous swapping that carby wrap for a light sushi pack at lunch, or avoiding the crisp bowl for carrots dipped in hummus at your friend’s BBQ, but sadly these ‘healthier’ options aren’t all they seem.
From hidden sugars to surprisingly high calorie loads, here are 12 foods which are far less innocent than you think, courtesy of Greatist.com.
This crunchy, nutty breakfast option may look like a healthy way to start the day, but unfortunately many supermarket varieties include sweeteners and dried fruit, which may be higher in sugar and calories than you think.
Hummus is close to our hearts so this one hurts, but it’s another calorie trap, with some containers packing up to 700 calories. While the dip does offer a good dose of protein, heart-healthy fats and fibre, it’s essential that you consider portion control. Stick to one serving (2 tablespoons) to keep the calorie count under 80.
3. Fruit & Nut Mix
Pre-packed fruit and nut mixes are packed with protein and omega-3s, but they’re also full of excess sugar, oils and preservatives. And, even though nuts are filled with heart-healthy fats, that also means they’re high in calories. Avoid shop-bought mixes with lots of fruit and opt for homemade batches with unsalted nuts instead.
4. Dried Fruit
While dried fruit does have some redeeming qualities, varieties with added chemicals and sugar can be problematic. Also, beware of serving sizes: dried fruit is considered an energy-dense food, high in calories and relatively low in nutritional value.
5. Frozen Yoghurt
It might be a better alternative to ice cream, but frozen yogurt doesn’t always make it all the way to healthy. While brands with live, active yogurt cultures offer some health benefits, they're also often packed with sugar and preservatives.
Despite the fresh veggies and omega-3-filled fish, sushi can be a silent killer when it comes to calorie counts, as it’s often packed with too much rice (sometimes a full cup per roll), fried fillings, and heavy sauces. Instead, opt for sashimi or a brown rice roll with only fresh fish.
While an avocado and smoked salmon-topped bagel at brunch sounds like a pretty virtuous choice (at least compared to a Full English...), bagels actually contain up to 360 calories a pop.
8. Granola Bar
Although convenient, these oat, grain, and nut-packed bars aren't always as wholesome as they appear. Popular brands can contain as many as 25 ingredients, 13 grams of sugar, and calorie-filled ingredients like chocolate and peanut butter. In fact, these breakfast options can be almost as bad as eating a real chocolate bar in terms of sugar and calories. Many brands also contain high fructose corn syrup (linked to weight gain and insulin resistance), hydrogenated oils (which can raise cholesterol levels), and monosodium glutamate or MSG (linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes).
9. Peanut Butter
Just one 2-tablespoon serving of this nutty spread packs around 190 calories. By themselves, peanuts are pretty innocent but once they're processed and turned into butter, we enter dangerous territory. The nuts are roasted, shelled, and ground, at which point they're typically mixed with other ingredients such as salt, hydrogenated vegetable oil, dextrose, corn syrup, and honey.
10. Canned Foods
Fresh is always better. Often saturated with excess sodium or sugar, canned produce is rarely a smart choice. And the potential harm caused by compound BPA, which is often found in canned foods, is just another downside.
11. Fruit Juice
Just because it came from fruit doesn't mean it has the same benefits. One cup of apple juice can contain more than 100 calories. Some nutritionists believe the real problem starts when people think about juice as calorie-free, which is clearly not true. But our biggest problem with it is the sugar. Yes, fruits naturally contain a good deal of it, but squeezing them into juice form makes the sugar go down that much easier. Plus, juicing removes the super-healthy fibre provided by real fruit.
OK, yogurt is mostly healthy. Got a hankering for some low-fat, plain, Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey? Go for it. Just beware the siren song of flavoured options. Those with lots of added sugar can rack up the calorie and carb count far beyond that of natural yogurt. If ingredients like corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, maltose, or any other "syrup" or "sugar" appear on the label, stay away.
For the full article, visit Greatist.com