To follow up on my article That's Healthy? 10 "unhealthy" foods that are actually good for you, I thought I’d give you guys the other side of the story with a list of “healthy” foods that are surprisingly unhealthy.
1. Diet Soda: Ok, so it would be kind of hard to find someone who genuinely thought they were gaining nutritional value from Diet Coke, but find a college girl on a “diet” or “trying to eat healthy” and I bet she guzzles diet soda and other artificial drinks like it’s her job. Within the past couple weeks, news stories about the downside of diet drinks have popped up everywhere, about the daily drinker’s 63% increased risk for heart problems and possible weight gain. People claim we can’t completely denounce aspartame quite yet, but it is time to get that diet soda addiction in check.
2. Rice Cakes: As much as you convince yourself that calories are all that matter to lose weight and be healthy, it’s simply not true. Yes, these 20-75 calorie fat-free cakes are a good substitute for a bag of chips, but that doesn’t negate the fact they are the definition of empty calories. If you want to actually make these into a filling, satisfying and nutritious snack, throw some nut butter on top of it.
3. Veggie Sticks/Chips: Just like rice cakes, these babies are another nutritional zero. Sure they do have traces of vegetables in them (key word traces), but if you look on the ingredients I bet you’ll find most of the brands have potato flour right at the top, with your precious veggies towards the bottom. Also, check the calories and fat because in many cases, they don’t differ too much from the Lay’s you substituted them for.
4. Frozen Yogurt: Like I wrote in my "Hun-Cal" Froyo Epidemic article, this dessert of choice for all you Duke girls following LoYo on the Go is not as healthy as you’d like to tell yourself. The overarching issue with frozen yogurt is that it’s packed with sugar and offers none of the probiotic benefits of real yogurt. If you comfort yourself with the nutrition facts on the LoYo website, keep in mind the nice loyo guy with the beard that you love for overflowing your cup is without a doubt giving you at least twice the serving size listed on the site.
5. Muffins: If you’re looking for something on the go as you cut through Bella Union or the Refectory, you might want to think twice before grabbing a muffin. Despite their brown, whole-wheat-looking appearance, muffins are usually packed with fat and calories. Muffins have anywhere from 200-600 calories, 5-30g of fat and unmentionable amounts of sugar. Looking for a healthy muffin? Try the Raspberry or Blueberry Low-fat Vegan muffins in Bella Union.
6. Granola: If you like piling granola onto your morning Chobani, you might want to think again. Granola is a great definition of a nutritionally dense food: one cup can have as many as 600 calories, 30g of fat and a boatload of sugar. True, not all granolas are created equal, but just make sure you check the serving size before you incorporate it into your daily routine.
7. “Diet” or “Light” Yogurt: Not only do a lot of these yogurts contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, they also have abnormally high amounts of sugar compared to their regular counterparts, to make up for the loss of taste from removing the fat. If you want lower-calorie yogurt, consider buying plain and spicing it up with some fruit and Kashi GoLean Crunch as a healthy alternative to granola.
8. Granola Bars/Energy Bars: The most important thing to do when choosing an energy bar is to look at the label. Some are great, like Lara Bars, which are purely made of fruit and nuts while others, like Clif Bars, might as well be considered a dessert. So, what should you look for? Look for a short list of recognizable ingredients, a decent amount of protein (~10g), a few grams of fiber and a low amount of sugar.
9. “Smoothies”: Fake smoothies are one of my biggest pet peeves. By fake, I mean smoothies like those 70 calorie Freshens smoothies at Alpine Atrium that contain about 5 strawberries and the mysteriously neon syrup they pump into them. Jamba Juice and other chain smoothie companies aren’t much better. Most of them pack their smoothies full of sorbets and yogurts and might as well call them desserts.
10.Salads: Prepared salads are many people’s biggest mistakes when they’re trying to lose weight. Take one of the Loop’s Walnut, Cranberry and Goat Cheese Salad for example. Without dressing this salad comes in at 532 calories and 29 grams of fat. Add 2oz of their balsamic vinaigrette, and you instantly add 340 calories and 36 grams of fat. The keys to making a healthy salad are avoiding croutons, anything with “crispy” in the title and dried fruits like cranberries that have a lot of added sugar.
Sorry I had to be the bad guy today, but I hope it helps you out next time you’re standing with a rice cake in one hand and an apple in the other, wondering what the health gods would tell you to do.
That’s NOT Healthy? 10 “Healthy” Foods That Are Actually Bad For You
Posted Apr 6 2012 - 12:00am
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