Companies are sneaky in the way they advertise their food products as “healthy”. They usually promote the healthy part while leaving out information about the unhealthy ingredients, which in some cases far exceed the healthy ones. The only way to tell for sure is to read the nutrition label.

For example, many “fat-free” products are loaded with added sugar. Fat provides flavor, so if it is taken out, something has to replace it to make it as palatable as possible. That is usually sugar in one form or another.

 

Dried Fruit

This sounds innocent enough – fruit with the moisture taken out. How bad can it be? It can be full of sugar, both naturally occurring and added. When fruit is dried, the natural sugar is concentrated so you are actually getting more sugar for the same size piece. And on top of it, some companies also add more sugar to their products, not to mention processing their dried fruit with a chemical call sulfur dioxide. If you like dried fruit, you are better off making your own with a dehydrator and only eating a few pieces at a time.

diet soda

Diet Soda

Because it has a “diet” in its name, it should be good for you right? Wrong! Because most diet sodas are sweetened with an artificial sweetener, they fool your body into thinking it is real sugar and in response cause your insulin level to spike.

Once it comes crashing down, you are left hungry. Studies have shown that the chemical used to give soda (diet and otherwise) its caramel color is also bad for you. Water, either plain or carbonated, is still the best drink that will not add calories to your diet or spike your insulin level, but quench your thirst.

 

Margarine (or any of the butter substitutes)

Several years ago when the low-fat, no-fat craze began, butter fell out of favor in lieu of one of many butter substitutes. If you knew how margarine was made, you would (and should) stick with real butter. To make margarine, vegetable oil is extracted from corn, soybeans, or safflower seeds, steamed, hydrogenated, emulsified, bleached, steamed again, and then doctored up with synthetic vitamins and colors to make it look and taste like real butter. Does that sound whole process sound healthy? If your answer was no, you are right! Real butter in moderation is the only healthy option because it is made with real milk with minimal processing.

The only way to tell if food or drink is healthy is to read the nutrition labels. Stay away from foods with added sugar in one of its forms or another, along with high amounts of saturated or trans-fat. Also, look at the number of ingredients. The more it has, the less healthy it will be. Stick with foods that are minimally processed and contain few ingredients … all of which you can pronounce.