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5 Foods You Think are Healthy, but aren't.

But first, a rant.

Unfortunately nowadays, the stealth marketing agencies of the world have succeeded at confusing the crap out of us. What’s worse - they’re making good money off of it.

“Low fat,” “Zero Carb,” “All Natural” - these are common labels placed upon MANY foods (even ones that are in no way healthy) to make us think we’re buying health food.

We hum and haw between two options, but the one that has the shiny “natural,” “part of a healthy diet” or “Gluten-free” label is the one most of us would buy in the end.

It breaks my heart to see people trying to make healthy choices at the grocery store, only to be conned into buying unhealthy ones - making their tummies bigger and the fat cat’s wallet even fatter.

Harsh? Maybe. True? Absolutely.

And it’s not that they are necessarily lying when they put labels like “Zero Fat” or “Gluten-Free” on their products. Those items most likely are those things. But it is MISLEADING, leading people into thinking that they are making the healthy choice.

The classic example would be a sugary breakfast cereal box, slapped with labels like “all natural ingredients,” “part of a healthy diet” and “low fat”. At the end of the day though, it’s still that sugary cereal that will not leave you healthier in any way, shape, or form.

Knowledge is power my friends, so here we go.

5 foods you think might be healthy.

1) Commercial Granola (store bought)

I’ve fallen for this one before. Hiking-enthusiasts, romcom movies, and your childhood (most likely), have convinced you that granola in the morning is a sure and sturdy breakfast. Commonly though, commercial granola (one that you didn’t make at home) is full of high fructose corn syrup, way too much fat (typically from fats that are prone to rancidity when heated like sunflower or canola oil) and all in all, WAY too much dried fruit.

This equates to a calorie-rich, nutrient-poor food. The serving of granola is normally ¼ - ⅔ cup, and I highly doubt any of us can limit ourselves to that. This should NOT be part of your diet if you are trying to lose or watch your weight UNLESS you make it yourself.

Better options: steel cut oats with a drizzle of maple syrup, do-it-yourself granola (I like this recipe from Joyous Health).

2) Low Fat Yoghurt

Most of the time when you see “Low Fat,” it will often mean HIGH SUGAR, which in turn makes you fat. No sugar coating there (get it?). Read your labels and keep an eye out. Some may be low fat and no sugar (in which case get it, IF you tolerate dairy). Otherwise, steer clear.

Better options: kefir, coconut or almond yoghurt, or organic yoghurt topped with seasonal fruit.

3) Dairy

It’s no secret by now that I’m not a dairy fan. It’s linked to skin problems (including acne and eczema), constipation, bloating, hormonal issues and fatigue. We can do without!

*If you do choose to include dairy in your diet, don't do it every day, and be sure to buy organic as much as you can...

Better options: collard and leafy greens for calcium, nut milks and cheeses and coconut cream! With regards to protein powders, New Zealand Whey Isolate is the one I'd recommend if you are dead-set on a dairy protein!

4) Most Protein Bars

Many protein bars on the market are loaded with way too much sugar (high fructose corn syrup being common), sugar alcohols that cause gastric distress (like Sucralose found in Quest Bars) and soy protein isolates (Cliff Bars anyone?), which can lead to a soy allergy pretty quickly if consumed regularly enough. Bars like these are NOT a healthy choice, and can lead to inflammation, breakouts and gastric distress.

Better options: Genuine Health’s Fermented Protein Bars, Pegan Bars, and Raw Rev Glo Protein Bars!

5) Agave

This was all the rage a couple of years ago. It was deemed “diabetic friendly” because of it’s low glycemic content. Some thought it was a guilt-free sweetener. Oh to be the bearer of bad news….The only reason agave is considered low glycemic is because it’s largely (90%) fructose, which in itself has a low glycemic index. But just because it’s low glycemic does not make it good. There’s actually more fructose in agave than there is high fructose corn syrup! A high intake of fructose has been linked to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, to name a few.

Better options: maple syrup, stevia and honey.

Stick with the better options, and beware marketing labels guys.

Remember, I could slap a label on a bag of candy saying “Cholesterol FREE”. This would be 100% true, but the candy would still do you harm.Be cautious. If you can’t understand the ingredients, don’t buy it.

Stay strong and smart my friends. Let’s outwit these marketing folk!


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