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Five 'health foods' that are not as healthy as you think

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, December 3, 2018  /  09:02 am
Five 'health foods' that are not as healthy as you think

Some breakfast bars also tend to contain a lot of sugar. (Shutterstock/File)

What you put into your body is essential to whatever regimen you undertake; be it weight loss or maintenance or something as all-encompassing as a lifestyle change.

Despite containing healthy ingredients, there are snacks and foods available that are not as healthy you might think, according to a list by Reader’s Digest.

1. Vegetable-based snacks

Though made from vegetables, which on their own are healthy, snacks such as veggie-chips are not as healthy as the original ingredients they are made from. Potatoes are also considered a vegetable, and veggie-chips, which are simply made from other vegetables are often no better than potato chips, according to Livestrong.

People who think they are eating a healthy alternative to the usual potato chips might subconsciously wind up eating larger servings than usual. This amounts to a larger intake of calories, fat and salt, depending on the amount used in the production of the vegetable-based snack.

Reverting to eating vegetables themselves, such as celery or carrot sticks is an easy way to avoid this over-intake.

2. Flavored, colored yogurt and smoothies

Probiotics and calcium are essential for a balanced diet -- as the live bacteria helps keep your digestive tract healthy and calcium intake helps keep your bones strong. Although this is true, much like the veggie chips, what most commercialized yogurt is made of could be to the detriment of anyone trying to lose weight, or at least, not gain any.

According to a wellness dietitian’s advice from Cleveland Clinic, Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, but flavored yoghurt can have over 36 grams of sugar in some cases.

The American Heart Association advises a maximum of only 25 grams of sugar a day for women, while it allots 36 grams for men. This means commercial yogurt that is sweet to the taste has more than the maximum amount of sugar you should consume.

Much like commercialized yogurt, smoothies are served in colorful ways and filled with fruit, however “some smoothie bowls might not have any protein at all, meaning that you will feel hungry as your blood sugars crash mid-morning,” said dietitian Desiree Nielson, as quoted by Global News Network Canada.

Two tablespoons of maple syrup is equivalent to six teaspoons of added sugar, on top of the natural sugars that come with whatever fruit and berries are mixed in.

Natural, unsweetened yogurt is the best way to go, as you can flavor it by adding a mix of fruit and berries.

Read also: Five recommended foods for your brain health

3. Bottled and “fresh” juice

Like yogurt, commercially sold fruit juices can contain a large amount of sugar, and some juices are not even made with actual fruit, but rather fruit extract or artificial flavoring.

In other cases, more than one fruit is used to make the juice, which means you could unknowingly be taking in too much natural sugar by drinking the fruit instead of eating it. This could make fruit juice just as bad as a soda or other sugary drink, according to Healthline.

4. Bottled tea (usually chilled)

Drinking tea is heavily infused into Southeast Asian cultures, and has diffused around the rest of the world as well, which has given rise to different tea-based products. One of the most readily available of these is bottled tea.

Not only is bottled tea no longer freshly steeped, it is mostly just sugar-water, according a study by UCLA researcher Susanne Henning.

In a program on National Public Radio in the United States, Henning stated that polyphenols (which, according to Merriam Webster is an antioxidant chemical that tends to prevent or neutralize damage caused by exposure to the sun, and this possibly slow aging) in tea start breaking down after brewing. Bottled tea has few, if any, antioxidants left in it.

Opting for freshly brewed tea from loose leaf or tea bags is still the best way to enjoy tea with all of its benefits.

5. Diet soft drinks

Though diet versions of soft drinks may not contain the same amount of sugar as the original soda, they can still be considerably sweet. That is because companies substitute the sugar for artificial sweeteners, and phosphoric acid.

Other artificial sweeteners that can be found in diet sodas or drinks are aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame and sucralose, which are 200 to 13,000 times sweeter than regular sugar. The citric acid, malic acid and phosphoric acid added to diet drinks and sodas in general have been linked to teeth enamel erosion.

Observational studies have found that artificial sweeteners actually increase appetite because sweetness increases hunger hormones, which can then lead to an increased risk of obesity, and metabolic syndrome, according to Healthline.

Read also: 10 facts about frozen food that may surprise you

6. (Yogurt, cereal, granola, protein) breakfast bars

Like commercialized frozen yogurt, bottled juice and bottled tea, breakfast bars also tend to contain a lot of sugar. Despite also containing whole-grains and fiber, the sugar tends to negate any health benefits that can be gleaned from breakfast bars, no matter what ingredients they contain.

Some breakfast bars contained high-fructose corn syrup, trisodium phosphate, and end up being processed with more than 12 grams of sugar per bar, according to Fox News.

When looking for or planning a healthy, balanced diet, one should always consider the ingredients. Nielsen said that it would be wise to mind toppings such as granola, and look for foods that contain healthy fats such as avocados, and which are low in carbs. (acr/kes)