With so many so-called “healthy” food products lining shop shelves, it’s important that we look beyond fancy labels and catchy phrases. Just because we see buzzwords like “sugar-free”, “fibre-rich”, and “low-fat” on the packaging doesn’t mean we should feel it’s okay to binge them.
Here are five seemingly healthy foods that actually pack just as much fat, sugar, and calories as their ordinary counterparts.
Sports drinks are marketed as the perfect post-workout drink and ultimate thirst-quencher – but this could not be further from the truth. These power drinks are specially designed for athletes who need to replace a lot of lost carbohydrates and nutrients after an intense training session, and they contain electrolytes and sugar.
For the average gym-goer, drinking them can do more harm than good. In fact, the average sports drink contains at least 250 calories per bottle, and some even have as much sugar as a bottle of Coke! You’re better off sticking to plain water.
Low-fat salad dressing
These “healthier” dressings could really end up hurting your diet. Many of them are piled with artificial flavours, salt, and preservatives. They also contain sugar to enhance the flavour of the otherwise bland mixture. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to ditch them altogether. Just stick to versions which list oil, water and vinegar as the main ingredients, and avoid misleading “low-fat” labels. You can also make your own salad dressing using balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Granola and protein bars
These “nutrient-packed” bars may seem like a healthy go-to snack – after all, they’re filled with fruit, rolled oats, and nuts. But take a quick glance at the ingredient list, and you’ll see many of them are just candy bars in disguise – most contain hydrogenated oils and high-fructose syrup. A bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey is a much healthier alternative.
It’s easy to demolish an entire bag of vegetable crisps and still feel good about it – because they’re vegetables, right?
But these snacks are too good to be true. While many claim to be made from vegetables, they are usually made by adding coloured powders to potato starch and cornflour. They also contain a lot of salt, and sometimes sugar, to replicate the flavour of real potato crisps. Instead of these “guilt-free” snacks, increase your fibre intake with real vegetables.
Nothing beats the heat like a froyo treat! It’s both delicious and healthy – or is it? While frozen yogurt contains less fat than ice cream, because it is made with milk instead of cream, the sugar content is pretty much the same. What’s more, the never-ending array of colourful toppings that come with froyo can easily bump up the sugar and calorie content. A healthier bet is plain yogurt and fresh fruit.