Healthy or Junk Food In Disguise

bran muffinHealth bars, vitamin drinks, bran muffins, fruit and veggie chips and "whole grains". You were passing a wall full of products that were screaming healthy all over their package. You then took a cereal bar and stared at it. It looked back and told you: "Eat us. We’re healthy." The health freak you are, you went home with a grocery bag full of these foods. You would have them for a week.

But surprise, surprise. The weighing scale is telling you now that you’re heavier compared last week before you ate the "healthy foods". You will then turn to God and ask, kneeling: "My dear Lord, what happened?" To be honest, many of those claiming to be healthy foods sold in health food stores are pure junk. Here are some of the products that you must be careful of.

Granola and Cereal Bars

Gone are the days when there were few granola and cereal bars in the market. Now they are making a huge comeback: you can find chewy granola bars and bland cereal bars in almost all groceries and health food stores. Many of these bars, however, are not at all bad, just make sure that you read the label. You might want to buy bars made with whole grains. These have low fat content, with a fiber content of not less than 3 grams.

Vitamin Drinks

Many vitamin drinks you buy in stores are no healthier than other regular beverages. Many of these drinks have high sugar content; they give you empty calories that don’t really fill you up. It would be much better to drink water and obtain your minerals and vitamins from real food. In addition, if you’re taking a multivitamin, you’re already meeting your health needs. Eating fortified foods is also a trend today. However, you need to examine what is added to your food. If you take a multivitamin and consume lots of fortified products, you could get more than what you need.

Bran Muffins

Beware of those oversized bran muffins you find in stores and coffee shops. Just because they have the word "bran" attached in them doesn’t mean they are healthy. Most bran muffins you buy in stores or coffee shops are loaded with calories and fat because of their sheer size, which is equivalent to around 5 servings from the grain group. A typical muffin weighs 5 ounces and contains 15 grams fat and about 400-500 calories. So it’s much better to eat a home-made low-fat muffins.

Fruit and Vegetable Chips

Gourmet chips made from fruits and vegetables and potato chips made with them proliferate in the market today. They claim that they are "natural" and "organic". But in reality, they are salty, fried, and calorie-dense. It is still much healthier to eat sliced carrots or apples. Not only they are low in calorie, they are also filling.

"Whole Grains"

You can find many foods that have the following tags: "12-grain", "multi-grain", and "made with whole grains." While such labels sound healthy, many of these products are made with refined flour. Whole grains are high in nutrition and fiber and it is highly recommended that servings of grain should come from them. So, how would you know if you bought whole grains. Just look at the ingredients – it should read "whole grain," "whole wheat," "oat bran,""whole oat," "rolled oats", or "brown rice".