Not-So-Healthy Health Foods

A lot of times we have the impression that something is healthy just by its name but that is not always the case. I came across this great article from MSNBC.com that exposes foods that are typically labeled as healthy, but aren't:

  1. Enhanced waters: Why drink ordinary water when you can drink “nutrient-enhanced water”? Well, maybe because these “enhanced” waters are just sugar water with a touch of nutrients and a lot of hype. There is no evidence that the ingredients prevent colds, boost health and energy, or reduce disease risk. They also come at a high price, some cost up to $1.50, two to three times the price of plain bottled water.

    Watch out for the serving sizes, too. A Glaceau VitaminWater says it supplies half of your daily need for some of the nutrients. But you have to drink the entire bottle, which according to the label would be 2.5 servings and 125 calories, almost the same amount of sugar calories as you'd get in a cola. In reality, you're getting only 7 out of the 40+ nutrients you need. Even then, the amount is miniscule. For example, the vitamin C you'll get from drinking an entire bottle of Glaceau VitaminWater could easily be gotten from eating two strawberries, for a fraction of the calories. You are much better off taking a moderate-dose multiple vitamin and mineral supplement and leaving these enhanced waters on the grocery store shelf.

  2. What about whole grain bread or salads, read more

  3. Whole grain bread: The brown wrappers of multi-grain, whole wheat, 7 grain, oat or rye breads all look so wholesome and healthy. Think again. Flip it over and read the ingredient list. If you see “wheat flour” or “enriched flour” as the first or second ingredient, you have mostly refined white bread with some whole grains added.
  4. Salads: Salads are often the answer to everything from waistlines to health. However, many fatty concoctions are guzzled under the guise of “salad fixings.” The fact that salad dressing is the number one source of fat in women's diets attests to the confusion over what is really a healthful salad and what is a fat-laden disaster.

    Skip anything mixed with oil, mayonnaise, cheese or whipped cream. This includes potato or pasta salads, Mexican meat or cheese sauces, tuna mixed with mayonnaise, egg salad, macaroni and cheese, tartar sauce and Waldorf salad. A one-ladle serving of these foods could contribute up to three tablespoons of fat to the meal. Remember that one small ladle drizzles two tablespoons of dressing onto your plate, or up to four teaspoons of fat and 170 calories. In essence, too much of the wrong dressing can transform four cups of low-fat vegetables into a 70% fat calorie lunch! Place some low-fat dressing in a small dish and dunk your fork lightly into the dressing before each bite.

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