We’re a nation that is seemingly obsessed with what we eat and drink on a daily basis, mainly because of our weight it has to be said. We find ourselves reading nutritional info, counting calories, counting fat, and obsessing over whether or not we should have dessert after dinner later this evening. Of course there’s nothing wrong with watching what we eat, because with obesity levels ever increasing, something obviously has to change. It’s bad enough us eating too much processed, fatty, sugary, and salty junk food that is obviously bad for us because it just so happens to be swimming in grease, but what about foods that we thought were healthy, that actually aren’t in the slightest? We see phrases such as “low fat” “sugar free” “reduced fat” “low calorie” etc, and we think these foods and drinks are automatically going to be good for us. The truth of the matter is that not only are they not really that good for us at all, many of them are actually very bad for us in the process. Take a look at these 6 food and drink examples and you’ll see exactly what we mean.
When you think of healthy foods and dieting, salads are probably one of the first examples that come to mind. If you take the time to prepare your own salad with quality ingredients, then salads will indeed prove very healthy and nutritious for you, the problem is that many of us would much rather go for a pre-packaged prepared salad instead of making a fresh one of our own. These salads often contain extra ingredients such as fried bread croutons, crispy fried bacon and onion pieces, and fatty cuts of meat. If the leaves are dressed then the dressing will probably be oil based so again you’re getting far more calories than you should be. As if that wasn’t enough, most of the time the leaves and vegetables making up the salad won’t have been washed and rinsed beforehand so they may still contain chemical pesticides and fertilizers that can damage our health.
Another common error that people will make when trying to eat healthily is to grab a prepared sandwich for their lunch as they think it’s a healthier choice than a burger or hotdog perhaps. Prepared sandwiches are notoriously unhealthy because the bread is often packed full of chemical additives and preservatives, the sandwich itself will have a high fat, high calorie sauce such as mayonnaise, and it will also be made with margarine instead of butter. Margarine is notoriously bad for us because it is full of trans fats that raise LDL cholesterol levels and contribute towards heart disease and heart attacks. Rather than buying a cheap and soggy sandwich, why not make your own using fresh salad, low fat ingredients, and a healthy bread such as organic wholemeal?
Reduced-fat peanut butter
Again, people see the words “reduced fat” and they immediately think that a food is going to be healthy. Reduced fat peanut butter is a prime example of this. Both the regular and the reduced fat version will probably contain roughly the same amount of calories, but the low fat version will contain more sugar instead of fat. In natural peanut butter, the fat is actually one of the healthiest parts because it is a healthy fat which benefits the body in many different ways. By taking this fat away, not only are we reducing the natural goodness, but we’re replacing it with sugar, which is bad for us. When choosing a peanut butter, always look for natural or organic butters containing no added oils. Some cheaper versions add unhealthy hydrogenated oils to their mixtures to make them more spreadable, and it is these fats that are unhealthy. Natural fats from the peanuts however, are very healthy and can actually help you to lose weight.
When talking about unhealthy foods and drinks, these beverages are arguably the worst offenders of all, and are actually even unhealthier than their sugary counterparts that they’re designed to replace. People see the word “diet” on the can or bottle, and fall for this clever marketing trick hook, line, and sinker. These beverages will not help you to lose weight at all, in fact, they do quite the opposite as they can slow the metabolism, making it even harder to lose weight than before. It is the chemical sweeteners designed to replace the sugar in regular sodas that makes these drinks so awful however, because they provide a number of very harmful side effects, including the fact that they have been found to be carcinogenic, which means they can cause cancer. Stay clear of these beverages, and sugary sodas and opt for fresh water instead.
These are another great example of clever marketing and how we tend to find ourselves getting sucked in. Cereal bars are marketed as snacks that can help you to lose weight. In reality however, they’re full of sugars, sweeteners, and various other additives that have no place in the human body at all. What’s worse is that many of them contain high fructose corn syrup and saturated fats, as well as a lot of calories for what you get. The average cereal bar can be consumed in two mouthfuls, yet will contain close to 400 calories, which isn’t far off what you would expect to find in a healthy and balanced meal. Rather than purchasing pre-made cereal bars from the shops, why not make your own instead? That way you control exactly what goes into each one.
Packaged cooked meat
If you walk down the chilled food section of most supermarkets, you’ll see packaged cooked meats that are ideal for use in sandwiches or salads. Typical examples include turkey, chicken, and ham. These meats however, are far more unhealthy than fresh meats because they’re often injected with water, salt, and dextrose (sugar) to make them plumper, heavier, and more succulent. They also contain preservatives and if you go for the flavoured varieties, many more artificial flavourings and ingredients on top of that.