While most Americans look on sushi, fruit juice, snack bars, frozen yogurt, and granola as ‘guilt free’, nutritionist strongly disagree. As a matter of fact, a recent study by the New York Times has shown a notable discrepancy between public opinion and science on this topic.
Here are the 10 foods which are believed to be good-for-you, but science shows something quite different.
Most people see cereals as a crucial part of a healthy, well-balanced breakfast. However, most of the popular cereals brands are packed with unhealthy ingredients.
‘Unless you’re choosing the whole grain option, cereal can cause a surge of blood sugar, which releases insulin and that being repeated every day is not good for your body,’ explained Lakatos Shames, a nutritionist of the Nutrition Twins.
‘The calories add up really quickly and you’re hungry before you know it. You can have one portion of cereal and be adding 400 calorie to your day.’
2. Fruit Juice
According to Shames, drinking a glass of fruit juice supplies the body with a dose of antioxidants, but the calories are more concentrated.
‘The brain doesn’t compensate for the calories because they’re so concentrated like with whole fruit and so your blood sugar levels sky rocket,’ she explained.
Eating whole fruits and veggies is far superior and juicing should be reserved for cases when the daily intake of fruits and veggies is inadequate. To minimize calories, avoid adding honey when juicing.
Just like fruit juice, sushi can be a good idea if you are opting for healthier options like vegetables and lean proteins. However, some of the fancier types are packed with fats, sodium, and refined white rice.
‘Typically, it’s hard to get a lot of fiber or to get vitamins and minerals out of sushi,’ Shames said.
‘Plus you need to be careful with raw fish because you can get really sick.’
While granola is a good topper for oatmeal, the conventional granola options are packed with added sugars and hydrogenated oils. It is also worth noting that most people tend to overdo it, as a serving of granola is one-fourth cup, while most people eat more than this amount.
‘If you’re pouring a bowl, you can be eating upwards of 200 calories or more, and sometimes get your calories for the entire day,’ Lakatos Shames said.
‘So it’s much better to stick to options that have whole grains and limited amounts of sugar.’
5. Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt is considered healthier when compared to ice cream. The problem is that most shops serve frozen yogurt that is packed with fat and sugar.
‘If you pick the low-fat, or fat-free option, you have a much less chance of eating something that’s going to clog your arteries,’ Shames suggests.
6. Meal Replacement Bars
Replacing a daily meal with bars is a huge mistake. As Shames explains, ‘They’re high in calories and don’t fill you up that much.
‘Many times, you’re no better off than if you ate a candy bar.’ In addition to this, ‘Many of these bars are high in hydrogenated oils, which load up on cholesterol. I’ve even had clients that have their hair falling out from it.’
As long as you make them yourself, smoothies can be a healthy option. However, smoothies offered at restaurants and juice bars can be quite unhealthy, though.
‘They’re high in calories, they blend in a lot of fruit which concentrates the calories and then add in sugar,’ Shames said.
‘Pretty soon you have a drink in front of you that’s 700 or 800 calories.’
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil, which has become all the rage these days, is only beneficial when taken in small amounts.
‘If you look at the research, it show that the fatty acids can clog your arteries and really place a lot of pressure on the heart,’ Lakatos Shames said.
To minimize the calorie intake, it is recommended to put the oil in a spray bottle when you use it to coat the pan for cooking. Olive oil and avocado oil are good and healthy alternatives.
9. Trial Mix
Trial mix can be a healthy snack as long as you make it yourself. On the other hand, ‘The trail mix you buy at the store often has a lot of items that add up the calories really quickly,’ Shames said.
‘And many options have dried fruits that are full of sulfites, food preservatives which we know to be carcinogenic.’
If you are interested in making a healthy version, mix unsalted nuts, sulfite-free dried fruit, and a bit of dark chocolate.
Margarine became quite popular in the 1960s, when the US was basically waging its war on fat. However, most margarines are made of hydrogenated oils, which makes them quite unhealthy.
‘They’re full of trans fats, which we know is bad for cholesterol and for the heart,’ Lakatos Shames said.
‘At the end of the day, a tablespoon of butter is better for you than a tablespoon of margarine.’