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Foods People Think Are Healthy But Are Not

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There are a surprising number of foods people think are healthy but are not. The problem is that the packaging or nutrient and/or health claims do not always mention all the ingredients in the food product.

For instance, a food product that says low fat can often mask the presence of other negative ingredients like sugar (as it improves the taste).

Let’s take a bran muffin as an example.foods people think are healthy but are not

Just the thought that it has bran in it makes us think that it is a wholesome choice.

It does have a decent amount of fiber, and this makes a bran muffin a better choice than a chocolate muffin. Unfortunately, there are also other factors to take into account to ensure that you are making the healthier choice.

The best way to be guided is by the amount of energy (kilojoules) that the product has. Check the amount of sugar, total fat, saturated fat and sodium that the product has, and more specifically how much of each occurs in each serving. These are negative nutrients that you need to eat less of.

As a rule, you need to aim to eat no more than the GDA (Guideline Daily Amount), which will normally show on the label. For each of the abovementioned nutrients, the total of each being the overall amount gained from all meals, snacks, and drinks throughout the day.

Seven Foods People Think Are Healthy But Are Not

You may or may not be surprised by this list of foods people think are healthy but are not at all as they seem.

Iced Tea

Iced tea can have as much as six teaspoons of sugar per 330ml. If you need to have a bought iced tea, rather buy the artificially sweetened ones.

Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is very high in sugar, even if they are natural sugars. Consume sparingly or dilute with water. Eating whole fruit is far better for you.foods people think are healthy but are not


Although muesli appears to be healthy, it is loaded with sugar. Once again, check the label. You will be shocked.

Vitamin Water

Although vitamin water does have added vitamins, it is also high in sugar. It’s best to get your vitamins from fruit and vegetables. Try a green smoothie for instance.

Granola Bars

These are very high in sugar, although are a good source of fiber.  Look out for bars with less than 7g of sugar.

Fortified Cereals

Fortified cereals are foods people think are healthy but are not. They have added vitamins and iron,  but most of them tend to be high in sugar and salt and low in fibre. Check the labels before buying.

Flavoured and Drinking Yoghurts

Although these contain sugars from the fruit pulp, a lot of them also contain added sugar. Compare the food labels and choose the ones lowest in sugar.

Other Foods To Watch Out For

Any Product That Says ‘Light.”foods people think are healthy but are not

Sometimes these products have less fat, but more sugar is added to compensate for a decrease in fat.

Wholewheat Bread

Wholewheat bread is actually healthier than refined white bread, but make sure to check the percentage of whole grain (like oats or rye) in the product. The higher the percentage, the better.

Look for bread that has over 6g per 100g of whole grain.

Fizzy Cooldrink

Did you know that one fizzy cooldrink can contain up to 39g of sugar? That’s almost 10 teaspoons.

What You Need To Look Out For

Choose foods that are:

  • Low in sodium – less than 120g per 100g
  • High in fiber – at least 6g per 100g
  • Low in sugar – no more than 4 to 8g per 100g
  • Low in saturated fats – less than 1.5g per 100g
  • Trans-fat free – less than 1g per 100g

When checking labels, the ingredients are normally listed in descending order of inclusion. If you see sugar, salt, and fat at the top, then stay away.

Unfortunately, the amount of hidden sugar consumed each day adds up rapidly, without you even realizing it.

Always check your food labels and ensure that you don’t exceed the World Health Organisation’s recommendations.

Total Sugar intake should be less than 10% of your total daily energy intake. This is no more than 10 teaspoons, which isn’t a lot if you consider all the hidden sugar we consume.

The less sugar you eat the healthier you will be.

If you can think of any other foods people think are healthy but are not, feel free to comment below in order to add to my list.





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