Health myths abound when it comes to food. Many so called “health foods” are nothing more than nutritionally defunct, empty calories masquerading as the good guys you want them to be. What follows are the most notorious “health food imposters.”
- Flavored yogurt products: Although these “healthy favorites” provide some calcium, B vitamins, and essential amino acids, they are loaded with added sugar – in many cases more than is typically found in a standard dessert. “Yogurt” products, through slick packaging and clever marketing have very successfully garnered what is referred to as the “health halo effect” – meaning consumers naturally assume any product with “yogurt” on its label is wholesome and good for you. The only truly healthy yogurt is low-fat plain. If you prefer it sweetened, combine with some berries or cut up fruit or add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup or honey.
- Bagels: The standard fat-free bagel is a nutritional disaster – providing a whopping dose of nutrient depleted refined carbs (white flour) that give rise to a truly toxic flash flood of glucose in your arteries. Look for smaller sized, 100% whole wheat varieties and spread with a little peanut butter or reduced fat cream cheese to add sensory pleasure and slow down its glycemic response. Your arteries and your waste line will thank you!
- Pretzels: Standard pretzel packages scream “fat-free and natural,” but don’t be duped. This popular snack food is nothing more than 100% refined white flour (the exact same thing as sugar in your body) combined with a whopping dose of sodium. Instead, choose from the growing selection of whole grain or multigrain, crunchy snacks like Stacy’s multigrain pita chips or my personal favorite, Food Should Taste Good whole grain tortilla chips. Even regular potato chips (trans fat free of course) would be a better choice, as they provide significantly more fiber and nutrients, and will not spike your blood glucose level like the infamous white flour (naked starch) that pretzels are made from.
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