16 "Healthy" Foods That Are Actually Bad for You
These days, more and more Americans are choosing healthier diets that promote increased energy and trimmer waistlines. Unfortunately, many mistakenly believe they are eating healthy, when they actually aren’t. If you’d like to sidestep hidden calories and unnecessary ingredients, learn which unhealthy foods to avoid.
Identifying Problematic Foods
Fast food, red meat and sugary treats are all known for causing obesity, high blood pressure and other health problems. To the surprise of many, however, there are a number of so-called health foods which can also compromise our physical well-being. Among the most surprising include:
- Bran Muffins: Although bran offers substantial health benefits, a single bran muffin can pack between 400 to 500 calories and over 40 grams of sugar.
- Diet drinks: Recent studies have linked artificial sweeteners with metabolic syndrome and troubling vascular events.
- Granola: While nuts, oats and dried fruits do offer key nutrients, a single serving of granola contains more than 500 calories.
- Smoothies: Store-bought smoothies often contain added simple sugars and syrups, which give them more calories than the average cheeseburger.
- Fat-free Yogurt: A six-ounce serving of flavored, non-fat yogurt can contain about 15 grams of sugar.
- Turkey Sandwich: Although they may be low in calories, deli meats contain sodium and notates, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
- Chicken Wrap: The average tortilla can contain between 400 to 800 calories. High-calorie sauces can also contain loads of extra calories.
- Gluten-free Products: Heavily processed, gluten-free products are often high in calories. Try eating fruits and vegetables instead.
- Veggie Pizzas: Many veggie pizzas contain extra cheese, along with oil-soaked olives and tomatoes.
- Canned Foods: Canned vegetables and soups usually contain large amounts of sodium.
- Wheat Bread: Unless the label says 100-percent whole wheat, these breads are still mostly made up of white flour.
- Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter: Many of these products contain added sugar and other fillers.
- Fruit Cocktail: Most contain sugary syrups that drive up calories without adding nutrition.
- Fruit Juice: High in calories, fruit juice has been linked to stunted growth in children.
- Baked Beans: While most beans offer substantial nutrition, baked beans usually contain sodium, sugar and other additives.
- Pretzels: Most pretzels are made with white flour, which has very little nutritional value.
Choosing Healthy Foods
When it comes to choosing a healthy diet, it pays to avoid overly-processed foods, which are high in additives, such as sugar, sodium, nitrites and other preservatives. For improved overall health, look for foods that are high in fiber and protein, which help to keep you full and reduce insulin spikes. This includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with baked fish and lean poultry.