There’s no denying that Americans need to eat healthier diets. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer take a terrible toll even though a healthy diet can help protect against them. It’s never too late to begin reaping the benefits of eating right. Unfortunately, some supposedly healthy choices aren’t healthy at all. Here are five “healthy” foods that are actually bad for you.
Bagels got their “healthy” reputation during the eighties. A lot of people still eat them just because they think they’re healthy. But bagels are just bread. A whole-grain bagel is an excellent way to help meet the federal government’s MyPlate recommendations for grains, but so is any other whole grain bread. Refined flour is what makes bread unhealthy, so a white bagel is no healthier than any other white bread.
In the seventies people realized that animal fat was connected to disease. Margarine and hydrogenated shortening seemed to be healthier alternatives. It turns out, however, that the trans-fats in these products are at least as bad for you as animal fat. Look for spreads and sprays labeled “no trans fats” or choose cold-pressed olive oil instead for a healthier alternative.
Reduced-fat Peanut Butter
During the nineties, fat-free and reduced-fat products were hot. In general, less fat is good, but some foods are actually beneficial because of their fat. For example, the fish oils in tuna offer important health benefits. Another good example is peanut butter. Peanut butter is a great source of high-quality vegetable protein, but experts worried about the high fat content. Reduced-fat peanut butter was created to resolve this problem. It turns out, however, that peanut oil offers many health benefits, so reduced-fat peanut butter is actually less healthy.
Children love fruit-flavored drinks such as “fruit punch,” citrus punch” or “grape drink.” These drinks look like juice but the truth is they are nothing but colored sugar water with chemical flavorings and a few cents worth of vitamins added. You’d be better off buying 100% juice then adding your own sugar and water, but an even better choice is to serve your child water and a piece of whole fruit.
Homemade Baby Food
At first glance, homemade baby food seems like a great idea. You make your own baby food out of fresh, healthy ingredients instead of feeding your baby those processed, preservative and pesticide-laden commercial foods, right? Actually, the government tightly restricts what can go into baby foods. Unless you are using only certified organic foods and carefully cooking them to kill bacteria, your homemade baby food may actually be much worse for your baby than commercial baby food.
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