There are many terms that are misleading in the food advertising industry today. Think of how many times you see the following phrases plastered all over food containers:
* Fat Free
* Reduced Fat
* Low Fat
* Sugar Free
* No Added Sugar
* Diet [Insert Product Name Here]
Let us examine some examples of nasty food that is supposed to be healthy:
1. Diet Soda
Why is it good? A sugar free version of the popular carbonated beverage that you can drink on the go.
Why is it bad? OK, so soda is horrible for you, but take out the sugar and add in carcinogenic artificial sweeteners, combined with the artificial flavors and colors that are in all sodas, and you have a recipe for Tumor in a Can. Then of course we have the caffeine factor, which is linked to hyperactivity, high blood pressure, and can mess with your blood sugar.
Instead choose: filtered water and the occasional glass of milk or goats milk
2. Sushi made with white rice and imitation crab meat or vegetables
Why is it good? Seaweed contains essential nutrients such as selenium, calcium, iodine, and omega-3 fats. Sushi is nearly always wrapped in seaweed.
Why is it bad? This garbage does not deserve to be called sushi. They are just small, compact, high glycemic, high calorie, carbohydrate nuggets. There is not even much protein in these things. Eat 3-4 of them and you've had your serving for the day. Aside from that, imitation crab meat is not even good for you. It is mostly just a crab flavored tofu-like substance fortified with sugar, sugar, and more sugar.
Instead choose: In order to get some healthy carbs, some high-quality protein, and the benefits of omega-3 fats, choose real sushi made with salmon or tuna. To make it even healthier, order sashimi instead of white rice.
3. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter
Why is it good? All peanut butter provides a heart-healthy substantial quantity of monounsaturated fat.
Why is it bad? Most commercial peanut butters are made with the same type of sugar that cake frosting is made with. Reducing the fat makes it even worse because even MORE nasty sugar is added and they contain less healthy fat. I would rather just eat the extra calories.
Instead choose: Choose almonds or all natural organic peanut butter instead. Just remember to pour off the top layer of oil and replace it with olive oil if the resulting peanut brick is too stiff. Olive oil is very low in omega-6 fats.
4. Fat-Free or Reduced Fat Salad Dressing
Why is it good? Less fat means less calories. Plus that salad dressing fat is lard just like mayo and Crisco. Sick.
Why is it bad? Firstly because when fat comes out, sugar goes in. Either that or artificial flavors and sweeteners. Secondly, since many vegetables are fat soluble, taking away the fat from the dressing means fewer of the salad nutrients will be absorbed into your body. This was confirmed by a study at Ohio State University wherein a higher fat salad dressing resulted in an increased uptake of the antioxidants lutein and beta-carotene.
Instead choose: A salad dressing made with olive oil, or just use olive oil and vinegar as your salad dressing. If you try it you might like it.
5. Anything made with Soy
Why is it good? It's not. But in the spirit of argument: vegetarians and vegans eat the stuff so they can get protein in their diets. Yay ::sarcasm:: Plus the stuff is apparently low in fat and an alternative to whey for the lactose intolerant.
Why is it bad? Straight up, soy is linked to lower testosterone and increased estrogen in males, and is also linked to increased breast cancer in women. Soy also promotes hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, and infertility. Soy is extremely destructive to infants, as it can effect development in many adverse ways.
Instead choose: any high protein whole food such as brown rice, goats milk, coconut milk, almond milk, whole grains, nuts, seaweeds, seeds, beans, and lentils. As a side note, goats milk is considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet today, so give it a try.
6. Fruit Juice, Dried Fruit, and Fruit Cocktail
Why is it good? Well because fruit is good for you. It has a ton of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; not to mention fiber.
What is it bad? Fruit juice and fruit cocktail normally have sugar added. Some fruit cocktails come in a thick sugary syrup. You get no fiber from fruit juice, and the stuff usually has preservatives added to it.
Instead choose: eat the whole fruit including the skin if possible, but limit it to one serving of fruit per meal/snack to avoid insulin spikes. If you must have fruit cocktail, choose one that comes packed in its own juices instead of syrup.
7. Smartfood (Cheesy Popcorn)
Why is it good? Because cheesy popcorn is oh so tasty.
Why is it bad? Because you are really just eating the popcorn equivalent of potato chips. Seriously, compare total calories and you will find that you are not saving much on the calorie front by eating Smartfood instead of chips.
Instead choose: get some spray butter, pop some plain popcorn, spray a light coat of spray butter on the popped corn, sprinkle various spices on the corn (but go easy on the salts), and shake it up in a bad. Now you have a low fat tasty treat.
8. Beans packed in sugary syrups such as Boston Baked Beans
Why is it good? Baked beans are good for you because these types of beans are loaded with fiber
Why is it bad? The sugary syrup, just as much as in a can of soda, is just going to spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. This is never good for preventing heart disease or type II onset diabetes.
Instead choose: Red kidney beans. These things are packed with protein and fiber, and can be mixed with any sort of salad or pasta. Sometimes I enjoy kidney beans straight out of the can; no cooking, just wash and chow.
9-15. Granola, White Pasta, Pasta Salad, English Muffins, Bagels, Croutons, and Pretzels
Why is it good? Granola has some fiber, pasta salad has some vegetables, croutons make our salad crunchy, English muffins are one step up from bagels, and pretzels are a quick low-fat snack.
Why is it bad? One word: carbohydrates. All of these foods are made with corn syrup and/or processed white flour. These foods will spike your blood sugar faster than Bruce Lee could have kicked you in the face. You also will not get much nutrition in the way of protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals from any of these foods.
Instead choose: 100% whole grain or whole wheat pasta and English muffins for increased fiber and protein. Egg salad because, like it or not, eggs are good for you and are high in protein. Almond slices are high in omega-3 fats and are crunchy like croutons. Substitute healthy nuts for white starches whenever you can and you too can receive a 30% less chance of heart disease.
About the Author
Steve Hanson has 10 years experience in the fields of exercise science and sports nutrition. He writes articles on all forms of athletic training and nutritional theories. View the blog to learn more about your favorite exercise and nutrition topics. Project Swole :: Weight Training | Conditioning | Nutrition | Mixed Martial Arts