17 Health Food Myths: You Think They Are Healthy, But Aren’t

Do you eat a healthy diet?

Really think about that question for a minute. Is your diet really as healthy as you think it is? Unless you’re only eating fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats, and nothing from a box, then chances are the answer is no. Thanks to big food companies advertising their products as, “healthy,” a lot of people are extremely confused about what foods truly are nourishing. You may think you’re reaching for a healthy snack when in reality it’s loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, pesticides and other harmful toxins. We’re here to debunk the popular health myths and set the record straight. Check out these 17 foods many people think are healthy, but actually aren’t.

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1) Low-Fat, Reduced-Fat or Fat-Free Foods

When you’re walking down the aisles of your local grocery store, you will come across some foods labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free.” For someone trying to ditch those pesky pounds, these words are music to the ears. There’s only one problem. These low-fat foods are not a healthier option. In fact, these words are manufacturers trying to trick you. Foods labeled “low-fat,” “reduced-fat,” or “fat-free” are usually loaded with more sugar, sodium, and chemicals to enhance flavor. So while, yes, they don’t have as much fat in them, manufacturers are still loading that product up with harmful ingredients.

What To Eat Instead: The best thing you can do is to ditch processed foods altogether. Instead, reach for fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. 

2) Sugar-Free Foods

Another misleading label that tricks a lot of people is the “sugar-free” label. As more and more evidence rolls out against sugar, people are trying to cut back on the sweet stuff as much as possible. That doesn’t mean they are giving up their tasty treats, though. That’s why manufacturers are churning out sugar-free candies, puddings, and cookies. If you are someone who buys into the sugar-free labels, this may come as a shock — there is sugar in your sugar-free treats. Technically, a product can claim to be “sugar-free” if it has less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. That small amount of sugar adds up, especially when you eat an entire bag of cookies. Fact: Many people eat larger amounts of a particular treat if they think it has less sugar or fat.

Additionally, just like with fat-free foods, manufacturers of sugar-free foods need to make up for lost taste. So often times your sugar-free treat is loaded with undesirable sodium.

What To Eat Instead: If you are craving something sweet, reach for a piece of fruit. If possible, go organic. This will ensure you aren’t loading up on pesticides, chemicals, and other dangerous toxins.

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3) Pre-made Smoothies & Juices

Drinking smoothies and fresh vegetable juice is the best thing you can do for your health. Not only are they delicious, but they are chock full of beneficial vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function properly. So why are smoothies and juices on this list? Well, homemade smoothies and juices are great. You can choose which ingredients are included and can monitor the amount of sugar that’s added. You can’t do that, however, with pre-made, store-bought smoothies and juices. Pre-made smoothies and juices may seem healthy, but they often have more calories than a fast food meal. They are typically loaded with sugars and syrups to enhance flavor.

What To Eat Instead: Swing by your local grocery store or farmers market, pick up some organic produce, and make your own smoothies and juices at home!

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4) Frozen Yogurt

A lot of people feel guilt-free after indulging in a delicious bowl of frozen yogurt, assuming it’s way healthier than ice cream. Why? Because it has the word yogurt in it? You may think frozen yogurt is loaded with probiotics since yogurt is considered a probiotic food. I’m sorry to break the news to you, but frozen yogurt is no healthier than ice cream.

First, let’s address the probiotic theory. Through processing, all active cultures are killed. So frozen yogurt is not considered a probiotic food and won’t help improve your digestive health. On the contrary, frozen yogurt is high in calories and loaded with sugar. In general, a half cup serving of fro-yo has around 25 grams of sugar. That’s not to mention all of the sugary and fatty toppings people love to load up on. As you may know, a diet high in sugar is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, poor gut health, and a slew of other health problems.

What To Eat Instead: Live cultured, natural yogurt is loaded with beneficial probiotics. For this reason, it’s known to improve gut health and digestion. Note: I’m not talking about sugar-laden, flavored yogurts. Make sure you are buying a natural yogurt that contains live cultures. 

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5) Sports Drinks & Other Souped Up Drinks

Have you ever seen a bottled drink that says it’s loaded with vitamins or contains fiber? There are a lot of souped up drinks on the market today touting to boost your energy and improve your health. They certainly sound like they would benefit our bodies, don’t they? Well, the reality is, they can do more harm than good. Any drink with multiple ingredients usually contains some undesirable ones. In order to give you a pleasant flavor, they will typically have added calories in the form of simple sugars. If your drink is sweet but is labeled “0 calories” then you know the drink contains artificial sweeteners. While a lot of people think artificial sweeteners are a healthier option, they are far from it!

What To Drink Instead: Regular water is the best. However, if your taste buds need a little more stimulation, you can try detox water. Detox water is fruit/herb infused water that you can easily make at home. Detox waters have been known to improve digestion, aid weight loss, boost immunity, fight inflammation, and more.

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