We strongly believe that marketing campaigns fool us into believing that one food item is “better” than the other because the packaging says so. “Sugar-free”, “organic”, “gluten-free” are words that have us believe that we’re making healthy food choices. But are we?
It all boils down to your fitness goal. So how does one go about making food choices? A lot depends on the nutrition label. It’s imperative that you learn how to read, to take out that extra time while out shopping so that you understand what exactly you’re ingesting. You’ll be surprised to see that your “healthy” bowl of cereal or that energy drink is in fact loaded with sugar. So what are some of the foods that you thought are healthy, but are actually junk foods in disguise? Here’s a list:
Breakfast cereals are just high-sugar desserts. You might feel good about “bran flakes” and “cornflakes” but in the process of focusing on these keywords we miss seeing the sugar content in 100gm of our favourite cereal. A lot of that post-run cereal bowl is processed grains and artificial ingredients.
Healthy swap: Rolled oats and milk/water with fruits and no added sugar.
You’ll be surprised to know how many people swear by their daily pack of fruit juice. The truth is, fruit juices are nothing but sugar! In fact, they have little to no fruit content in them. Most of the time they use artificial flavoring too. So what you are essentially drinking is fruit-flavored sugar water!
Healthy swap: Opt for freshly squeezed juice made at home.
Many of the low-fat yogurt varieties in the market are not too nutritious. They do not have the probiotic bacteria that helps our digestive system, and they are usually pasteurised after fermentation, which kills all the “good” bacteria.
Healthy swap: Home-made curd.
This brown bread isn’t exactly doing you any good. Many of these breads are packed with high fructose corn syrup and molasses, or simply made with refined flour and added colouring.
Healthy swap: Buckwheat bread loaf.
Most of the protein bars are hardly any health food. They contain high amount of sodium, sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colouring. These sugar-free varieties use heavy doses of artificial sweeteners that lead to sugar cravings.
Healthy swap: Whey protein powder with water/plant protein powder.
You’ll be surprised to know the amount of sugar that goes into the peanut butter jars that you love so much! The reduced-fat varieties have the same amount of calories as regular peanut butter, so it’s not helping you if being on a calorie deficit in your goal. Ideally, look for a natural peanut butter which says no added oils, no trans fats and no sugar.
Healthy swap: Natural peanut butter/home-made peanut butter.
The granola you find in stores is usually packed with sugar, calories and fats. It is definitely a part of a healthy diet, but only those that do not undergo so much processing. They also have a lot of added preservatives in order to make them last longer. Making granola at home is far healthier.
Healthy swap: Granola made at home/by your local cafe.