It may surprise you to learn, but the food industry is awash with so-called "healthy" foods that are anything but. Whether it's deceitful food brands looking to make a fast buck, or the latest diet fads persuading you to make poor nutrition choices, it can be a real minefield. Therefore, it's worth fully understanding what you're consuming. After all, you are what you eat!
1. Fruit Juice
One of the worst offenders when it comes to unhealthy "healthy" options is fruit juice. It's easy to assume that you're pouring pure goodness out of a carton, but the reality is that most fruit juices are essentially liquid sugar. Some of these "juices" haven't even seen a fruit, but are simply fruit-flavored, and even those that are 100% fruit aren't necessarily a good option as all the good stuff, such as fiber, has been removed.
Often recommended as a healthier alternative to butter, margarine is best avoided. Whilst it doesn't contain the saturated fat content of its dairy cousin, the spread is laden with refined vegetable oils and is actually responsible for more heart disease deaths than those who consume butter. Your best option is to ditch margarine entirely and go for real, good quality butter.
3. Vegan Junk Food
The clue really is in the title, but the word 'vegan' seems to render people oblivious to the word 'junk'. Sure, a vegan diet is better for the environment and many foods that fall into that bracket are incredibly nutritious, but products like vegan bacon or vegan burgers are highly processed and highly unhealthy.
4. Processed Breakfast Cereals
Breakfast cereals have always been served alongside shiny marketing campaigns that sell their alleged nutritional benefits, but these claims are often misleading. The primary contents inside a processed breakfast cereal box are sugar, refined grains, and artificial chemicals. Cereals also have a tendency of claiming nutritional benefits provided by the addition of milk, so always be sure to read the label closely.
5. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks were designed with athletes - and physical activity - in mind. High in electrolytes and sugar, these drinks can provide the pick-me-up or even the edge needed to perform at a high level. However, most people don't need this additional salt or sugar in their diet and it will likely end up being stored as fat in the body. Again, a name can be misleading. These drinks may say 'sports' on the label, but they are essentially the same as any other sugary option. You're better off staying hydrated by sticking to water.
6. Processed Organic Foods
Like vegan junk food, the name 'organic' often disguises a whole manner of sins. Used as a marketing buzzword, food producers have found clever ways to shoehorn organic ingredients into the same unhealthy food options, while convincing the consumer that it's a healthy alternative. Processed foods that are organic are still processed, so always check the label first.
7. Commercial Salad Dressings
There aren't many healthier foods to eat than vegetables. Unfortunately, they often don't taste amazing on their own, which is why salad dressings are so popular. Drizzled over the top, a salad dressing can turn a bland bowl of rabbit food into a sophisticated side dish. But beware, these innocuous-looking dressings are actually packed full of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, trans fats, vegetable oils, and artificial chemicals. The answer? Consider making your own salad dressings instead.