So you’ve been dieting for weeks and finally take that first brave step onto the scale. The number flashes. No, this can’t be. I’ve been eating right! Your weight has gone up. Don’t rush for the nearest bag of Oreos in defeat and give up on healthy eating just yet. The sad truth is that a lot of the foods we think are healthy are actually anything but, and many can even be worse for you than junk food. Here are a few so-called “healthy” foods you should avoid.
Multi-Grain BreadsWhen reading this label, one might logically assume that any bread or other substance that carries a variety of grains must simply offer more nutrients. Wrong. That’s the logical trap food-makers hope you fall for. What most multi-grains offer, in reality, is nothing more than processed grains that break down in your system like any other simple carbohydrate. If you must have bread, make sure the label says “100% whole grain” instead.
Skim MilkMilk that’s lower in saturated fats with the same amount of vitamins and minerals? Sounds too good to be true. And you’d be right. You won’t shed pounds any quicker by switching from 2% to skim. In fact, you’ll probably gain them. Why? Not only is there no hard evidence to support the theory that saturated fats are linked to weight gain, but drastically reducing the number of saturated fats in your diet will only make you crave carbohydrates. Like all milks, skim contains lactose, which your system breaks down into glucose and galactose (i.e. sugars).
Protein BarsThe idea behind a food bar that offers protein, vitamins, and healthy carbs in one convenient hand-held morsel seems noble. Sadly, these usually offer a nutritional compromise. What about the rest of the chemical makeup behind these sticky bricks? Check out the nutrition facts. Many of these compounds are overloaded with calories and contain more sugar than those of their candy bar cousins. In fact, some studies have shown that they produce the same metabolic effect on athletes as eating a Milky Way. While some offenders are worse than others, doctors generally only recommend items like these for high endurance athletes in need quick meal replacement on the go.
“Fat Free”… well, anythingEat an entire pack of gummy bears every night and try not to gain weight. They’re labeled as a “fat free” food, so that means you can indulge all you want, right? Hardly. Just because it’s fat free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Weight gain often isn’t from fats to begin with—it’s from the sugars. Anything heavy in sugar will spike your insulin levels, which not only feeds the sugar into your muscles and converts it to fat, but also stops the body’s entire fat burning process.
Light Salad Dressings
A lighter option for those who don’t want to give up the taste of their favorite salad dressing for olive oil or bitter vinaigrette? Perfect. Yet by now you’re skeptical. What exactly does the term “light” really mean? The answer is: whatever the manufacturer wants. The FDA has no authority over this diet phrase popularized by clever marketing strategists. Oftentimes, “light” foods are just a few calories lighter and are instead jam-packed with extra food additives and sodium that add inches to your waistline.
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