10 Foods That People Think Are Healthy But Actually Aren't
It was January 2004. I had just started working with a personal trainer and was discovering my inner athlete that I never knew existed. I knew I had to start eating healthy so I decided to make some changes to my diet.
So I started drinking Capri Suns instead of Dr. Pepper, adding eating tri-colored rotini with frozen veggies and pasta sauce, switched to whole wheat bread, replaced Cinnamon Toast Crunch with Back to Nature Chocolate Granola (tons of it), and snacked on Yoplait - all day long.
Back then, this is what eating healthy meant to me. In hindsight, this was all wrong. The problem with these foods is that they are all full of sugar!
But how was I supposed to know any differently? Every time we turn on the TV, we're inundated with commercials for so-called "healthy choices." These foods are promoted as healthy but in reality; all those fat-free, gluten-free processed foods are merely loaded with sugar. And instead of making us "healthy" they keep us addicted to sugar.
To kick sugar to the curb, I recommend ditching these seemingly healthy, but actually toxic "healthy" foods:
1 | Fruit Juice:
Juice contains no fiber so even if it’s 100% juice with no added sugar; the reality is that fructose (fruit sugar) is still sugar. It will still spike your blood sugar dramatically and can be just as addicting and harmful as soda pop and kool-aid.
Note: Some who suffer from specific digestive conditions may need to reduce their fiber intake. In these cases I juicing veggies instead of fruit.
2 | Dried Fruit:
Dried fruit can be okay in moderation, or when eaten with some nuts and seeds for protein. If you find yourself popping a date in your mouth every time you get a sugar craving and thinking it’s healthy, think again. Dried fruit is nature’s candy.
3 | Pasta Sauce
Store-bought pasta sauce has a ridiculous amount of added sugar. Prego traditional spaghetti sauce has 40g of added sugar! Always read your labels, or better yet, make your own tomato sauce, so you control and know EXACTLY what’s in there.
4 | Bread
Ah, bread! People like to pretend that they’ve cut sugar out yet they’re still eating bread. When your body processes bread (yes, even whole wheat and gluten-free bread), it turns into sugar. Add to that the inflammatory effects of gluten and bread becomes a ticking time bomb for illness to ensue.
5 | Noodles
Both pasta and rice noodles are pure refined carbohydrates, which like bread, turn into sugar once they break down in your body. They may be fun to twirl on your fork and slurp, but they still feed your sugar addiction. Instead, you can make noodles from vegetables like zucchini and carrots, they're just as tasty and won’t spike your blood sugar.
6 | Instant Oatmeal
Oatmeal my love. Sigh. When I was a kid my mother always tried to convince me to eat it, but it just couldn't beat Frosty Flakes. My love for oatmeal didn't grow until I was an adult. Instant oatmeal was a quick and "healthy" breakfast, and it sure was convenient! But unfortunately, just one serving can pack as much as 15g of sugar! Instead of oatmeal, try this recipe instead:
Warm Seed Mush
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups dairy-free milk
1/2 banana, sliced
- Add the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and dairy-free milk to pot.
- Turn the heat to medium and stir until warm, but not boiling.
- Remove from the stove and serve in bowls.
- Serve with the sliced banana.
7 | Smoothies
Smoothies can be healthy and delicious, but the ones you get from Jamba Juice or those premade store-bought smoothies are often full of sugar. Sure, we want to make smoothies approachable for most people, but filling them with ice cream, yogurts, and fruit juice is not the answer. Opt to make your own homemade smoothies, adding in tons of veggies and low glycemic fruits like blueberries or raspberries. Because green smoothies are super cool!
8 | Yogurt
Yogurt has got to be the worst culprit on this list because it’s promoted as a great healthy food but most of the time flavored yogurt is FULL of junky additives including high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. Go ahead, read that food label - you'll see what I mean.
If you love yogurt opt for a dairy-free (coconut is a good option) plain yogurt and top it with some berries, unsweetened coconut flakes or chopped nuts.
9 | Granola
It saddens my heart to say this, but like oatmeal, pre-made granola is riddled with added sugar. Eating granola for breakfast is like having a big old cookie with your coffee. I know, you're probably thinking, "What's wrong with that?!" but think about what it'll do to your blood sugar - you'll be starving a couple of hours later and seeking out your next sugar fix!
10 | Protein bars
Even loves protein bars as a go-to snack. And why not - they're convenient, and they taste good! But the truth is, they are either full of added sugar or contain toxic sugar substitutes like aspartame. Even the popular brands include upward of 22g of sugar per bar! Always read the food labels of protein bars very carefully!
Want even more great tips to help you feel improve your digestion, increase your energy and end your sugar addiction once and for all?
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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.