Health food has invaded the market in hundreds. There are now low calorie alternatives to traditional high calorie products. There are also hoards of snacks, cereals and fluids for those who wish to remain fit and lean. Apart from the diet colas, oil free chips, and sugar free cakes, these are some products that we buy with our eyes closed because we already consider them to be healthy, like the fruit juice cartons, the oil containing the good omega-3, the multigrain breads etc.
But are you really sure that the products that is coming straight from the supermarket shelf, packed in a luminous cover and offering you multiple health benefits is actually healthy? Here are 10 food products that seem to be healthy but are not
- Fruit Juice – The juice cartons that you get at supermarkets looks very promising as it is after all a product that has been made from the healthy fruits. But the real fact is, juices might have the same amount of calories as cold drinks and sodas! It is only in the nutrient content that juices are healthier than soda whose nutritional value is nil. The amount of artificial sweeteners added to the packed fruit juices make them as sugary and calorie laden as sodas. And therefore with the useful antioxidants, minerals and vitamins present in juices you are also gulping lots of sugar and calories. A better alternative – Make you own fruit juice at home without the added sugar or buy the product only after you have read the content and ascertained that sugar or any other artificial ingredient has not been added to the juice.
- Microwave Popcorn – There is nothing like a box of popcorns with a movie, but health conscious try to avoid this temptation because of the added butter and fat and sometimes cheese into the popcorns. For weight watchers, the new favourite alternative is the microwaves popcorn which somehow comes with an assurance that it is fat-free. The truth- even in store bought packs of microwave popcorn there may be almost 9 grams of bad fat including 6 grams of trans fat in the small pouch. If you really are dying for popcorn, why not get the raw kernels and then microwave them at home without the added fat.
- Energy Bar – These are something new in India. The cereal bars or energy bars that can curb your food pangs instantly in hungry situations. Many of these are in reality the same chocolate bars that kids get only without the chocolate sometimes and with a higher price tag. The amount of calories inside the small bar is up to 500 calories, equal to what is present in a chocolate or a candy. If you are hungry why not carry a fruit instead or if you really want to have a stylish energy bar choose the one has 200 calories or less, at least 5 grams of fibre, and some protein, which helps provide energy when the sugar rush fades.
- Multi-grains – Another food fraud doing the rounds is multi-grain flour, bread, pasta, noodles and biscuits. You flip the pack and read the contents, it will surely show the names of all the seven-eight grains that have been used to make the product, but if you look closely at the amount used, that will show you the real picture. Most of these multi-grain products are still mainly made up of refined flour or maida, and other grains are added like the coriander topping we give to our dishes. If you still want to purchase the multi-grain product, choose one that has 100 % whole grain marked or one that shows the percentage of grains used higher in quantity.
- Omega-3 – Many oils claim be loaded with the goodness of omega-3 fatty acids that are actually good for the body. The type of omega-3 that are actually good for the heart are EPA and DHA and most products derive the omega-3 from vegetable sources called ALA and these are not at all healthy. When you look for the sign ‘omega-3’ in a pack, do make sure that it is DHA or EPA and not ALA.
- Iced Tea – The antioxidants present in the iced tea definitely make it healthier choice than the colas, but the added sugar spoils the fun. If you are getting your iced tea from the market it could very well contain 60 grams of sugar and more than 200 calories. Instead, make your own iced tea at home using lemon, tea and chilled water. It is simple to make and much much healthier.
- Coleslaw Salad – Cabbage is supposed to be very good roughage for the body when eaten as a salad and therefore many restaurant serve it as a tasty looking coleslaw salad. In reality while the cabbage is healthy, the coleslaw is equally unhealthy because even a small cup may have 260 calories and 21 grams of fat because of the added mayonnaise. In general that is one third of the daily fat a person should have. If you really want to watch your weight and even reduce it, eat raw cabbage made tastier with lemon juice or vinegar or made into coleslaw using hung curd instead of mayonnaise.
- Banana Chips – Now just because it is made of banana does not make these chips healthy. These deep fried varieties may have as much calories and fat as a McDonalds burger. Try eating a fresh banana instead that will definitely have more potassium, and nutrition content minus the bad fat.
- Muffins – Many people believe that if they cannot have a cake or a pastry that is laden with cream, they can easily devour on the alternative muffins or cup cakes. While you are definitely avoiding the cream, the cupcake may still made up of sugar and refined flour. You can actually end up gaining 500 calories from a simple cup cake if the baker has been extra generous with the sugar.
- Low-fat Milk- You may have asked the milk man to give you the low-fat milk packet instead of the whole milk but again the amount of fats present in low fat milk is almost equal to that present in whole milk. It definitely is a good choice to avoid the fat from the milk, because believe it or not the goodness of milk is not altered with the presence or absence of fat. So if you are keen on taking that step, why not avoid the fat completely by asking for the toned milk or double toned milk.
Thus, if you really want to make healthy food choices, look before you buy an item and check the nutritional value, the content of the product. Those packs are really full of unhealthy surprises if you are not curious enough to find out.