You can’t always judge food by its label. Many fake health foods promising longevity, beauty and true happiness are merely feeding you lies. SKIN shows you how to spot these foods that fool, and how you can eat smarter and slimmer.
They may look like dried veggies, but that doesn’t give you the license to dig in – the first ingredient in many of these snacks is potato flour with vegetables far lower in the list. Plus, these are typically fried and salted, which means they are loaded with calories and sodium, just like the fattening bag of potato chips.
Dig This: Snack on air-popped popcorn instead. It’s loaded with anti-aging antioxidants and fibre, but only costs you about 30 cal per cup. Your tummy and thighs will thank you.
Read More: The Perfect Anti-Aging Snack
Most of these soda-alternatives boast miraculous health benefits (mood elevation, energizing, more brain power, etc.) to ease our guilt of gulping down fortified sugar water (yes, that’s their true identity….with about 33g of sugar and 125 cal per bottle, the equivalent of a can of coke!) with no evidence to back up their colourful sugar-coated claims.
Dig This: Just drink water, seriously. Throwing back more health beverage imposters, packet O.J’s, and the like during the day can pack some serious pounds. The truth is that Americans get an alarming 25 percent of their calories from what they drink. Hence, the quickest and most reliable way to lose weight is to cut down on your liquid calorie consumption, according to a report by John Hopkins School of Public Health. And the best way to do that is naturally to reduce or eliminate empty calories from these sugary beverages.
Read More: Bad Foods that are Good for Weight Loss
Although instant oatmeal has a similar nutritional profile as traditional oats, it is heavily processed to cook quickly. This means that it is also digested more quickly by your body, giving it a higher glycemic index than other regular oatmeal (translation: your blood sugar levels spike more rapidly and then crash, leaving you hungry soon and may shortchange you of the weight-loss and cardiovascular health benefits associated with low glycaemic index foods).
Dig This: Stick to “old fashioned” oats. A “second-best” alternative for the time-strapped is to add a little lean protein (e.g. low-fat milk or a half-scoop of protein powder after cooking) to lower the glycemic index of your instant oats.
Also beware the sugar trap: Some flavoured instant varieties have 13 grams of the sweet stuff (more than three teaspoons). It’s better to buy plain instant oatmeal and add a dollop of honey to satisfy your sweet tooth.
REDUCED FAT PEANUT BUTTER
Reduced fat PB may have as little as 60 percent peanut (compared to the regular 90 percent or more), but can pack the same number of calories as regular PB’s. Ingredients like corn syrup and sugar are added to displace the fat content.
Dig This: Peanut contains “good” monounsaturated fat (or MUFAs), which has been shown to reduce belly fat. So stay true to the regular peanut butter labelled “natural”, or other natural nutty options, like almond, cashew, pecan, etc.
Many diet plans recommend healthy snack like yogurt between meals. Plain varieties appear to be no-brainers – they are low in sugar and are loaded with probiotics, calcium, potassium and vitamin D. But flavored yogurts or kids’ brands often contain high fructose corn syrup or highly processed sugary fruits.
Dig This: As with many things, plain and simple is still the most awesome for your body. Another warning: Don’t load up plain yogurt with sugary granola mixes (another common health food fake). Instead, toss in a few delicious and prettifying blueberries, or if you’re craving some crunch, add shredded wheat.
Read More: Superfoods for Delicious, Radiant Skin
Cutting back on red meat is recommended by health experts, but substituting your regular hamburger with the “virtuous” turkey option is not going to get you very far – it may have less saturated fat, but it can pack on similar total fats and calories to your waistline. So unless that turkey patty is made with 93 percent lean meat, steer clear.
Dig This: A wild salmon burger would be a smart swap for a typical beef patty. Salmon has healthy omega-3 fatty acids to benefit your heart, brain, joint and of course, skin.
Read More: Can Steak be Healthy?
– By Claudia Lin