The food industry is a multi-billion-dollar business; so is the weight-loss industry. Put these two powerhouses together and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Food manufacturers are consistently tagging their products with buzz words like “healthy” and “natural.” While these claims may be within FDA regulations, some of these foods are not as good for you as you may think.
While granola does contain some whole-grain carbohydrates and fiber in the form of oats and dried fruit, the bad generally outweighs the good. Most granola is also loaded with sugar in the form of honey, maple syrup and brown sugar. A cup of granola can contain 12 grams of sugar. This makes granola high in calories as well – a cup of granola can contain as much as 597 calories and 29 grams of fat. For that amount of calories and fat, you could eat an entire meal and it would be more satisfying.
Fruit-flavored yogurt is packed with sugar. A single carton of yogurt can contain 14 grams. Sure, you can get the “light” varieties that use artificial sweeteners in place of sugar, but if you’re looking for something healthy and natural, this is not a much better route.
If you choose the right type of yogurt – low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt – and add fresh fruit, yogurt can be a healthy snack. Yogurt is packed with calcium and offers probiotics – microorganisms that keep your digestive system functioning well and your immune system strong.
Whether they are baked or fried, chips are still pretty low in nutrition. Many varieties, such as pita chips and tortilla chips, are made with refined grains and starches that offer carbohydrates and sugar, but not much else. While baking the chips does reduce their fat content, it doesn’t make them a health food. You’re better off having some 100 percent whole-wheat crackers topped with hummus.
Technically, water is not a food, but since it’s a vital nutrient, it’s worth mentioning when discussing “health” foods you should avoid. Enhanced waters – those with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and electrolytes – sound good in theory, but they really aren’t necessary. In addition to the added nutrients, these waters often contain added sugars and sweeteners, which defeats the purpose of drinking water in the first place. Sure, endurance athletes could use that extra boost of electrolytes during a marathon, but most people don’t need it. Opt for plain, old water instead and make sure to get at least 8 glasses per day.
Lindsay Boyers has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.