Food, (read healthy food) so vitally important, not just for our survival but also plays a key role to keep us healthy, it is comforting and our social gatherings would be incomplete without it. Imagine a party or marriage reception or a get together with friends or relatives with healthy food on the menu like salads and soups? Am sure you would not be party to it, would you?
Food is part of our lifestyles and daily lives. We love our food, don’t we? and guess that’s the reasons why we like to gobble up everything written about it. It is overwhelming to read so many opinions, suggestions, advice, trends by a plethora of food articles about healthy food, nutrition, weight loss and more.
Definitely, you too have come across many articles with interesting headlines like 12 unhealthy foods to avoid, 15 reasons why you should not eat processed foods, 10 ways to eat healthy food and so on. They are all good to read and definitely add some value to your knowledge base. However, there are some which can scare you to death. Am sure if you read a dozen of such blog articles, you would stop eating, and starve to death.
Don’t turn into a healthy food or fitness freak.
You work hard, don’t you?
That gives you the freedom to make some bad decisions when it comes to food. It is pretty hard to get one’s facts straight when it comes to food, and facts have become more of fad opinions which cannot be relied upon.
Life is full of RISKS. It’s you, who can choose to minimize the risks in your life or live it to the fullest, risks be damned. However, you could choose to live your life somewhere in between by avoiding certain risks. You could avoid consumption of certain foods on a daily basis or reduce the serving size. Over indulgence in anything you consume and complete abstention can both be unhealthy and harmful.
Here’s the truth: Living will eventually kill you and so would breathing. Sense and moderation are the only keys.
The intention is not to advise anyone on what to eat and suggest what is healthy food, on the contrary, it is to give a three-sided picture about food, the good, the bad and the alternates on which foods you could cut down on and which foods you could replace with healthier options.
The best nutrition advice: Eat a WELL ROUNDED healthy diet, eat bad stuff in moderation and add more of healthy food like vegetables and fruits.
Here are 10 foods you might think are healthy for you, but in reality, they are not. These are alternate ways to make them into healthy foods. You would want to try all of them.
WOW, who does not like pizza? 94% Americans eat Pizza on a regular basis and every American eats 46 pizza slices every year according to Mayo Clinic. These figures prove its popularity not just in the US but around the world. So what is it that makes pizza into junk food, its refined carbohydrates, fats, and sodium.
Refined flour is the major ingredient to make pizza dough which forms its crust. So why refined flour is not good for your health? Well, because the processing process strips off all the good stuff like germs and bran from the grains. This is the reason why it contains fewer vitamins, minerals, and fiber. That’s one of the major reason why pizzas are not nutritious and loaded with carbs.
According to a study published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in November 2010, eating refined grains like those found in pizza increases your risk for abdominal fat, including a more risky type of abdominal fat called visceral abdominal fat. This kind of abdominal fat increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer, according to Harvard Medical School.
We all love cheese and meat on our pizzas, more the merrier. These two ingredients increase the risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. Both, cheese and meat are high in saturated fats.
Hypertension or high blood pressure are closely linked to excess consumption of sodium. On an average, if you devour a 5-ounce slice of cheese pizza, that’s 675 mgs of sodium. That translates to around 29 percent of your recommended daily salt consumption.
Instead, Consider Healthy Option:
Make your pizza at home. I know it sounds absurd when you can dial a pizza. A Little effort will pay you off in the long run.
While making a pizza at home, use whole grain flour to make the dough and chuck the pizza sauce out of the window. That sauce contains preservatives and sugar. Ideally, make your own fresh pizza sauce, it is not that tough to make and take much time. Results, fewer carbs, tastier and healthier pizza. WOW
In case you are not convinced and want to order one? skip the extra cheese and fatty meats like pepperoni and sausages instead ask for extra vegetables. Yeah, sodas, shakes etc. go well with pizzas, my suggestion would be to completely avoid them, you do not want additional empty calories to add on.
2. Flavored Yogurt
Yogurt – is undoubtedly one of the healthiest foods on earth. It offers hundreds of benefits, aids loose weight, contains probiotics and much more. One of the major benefits of this wonderfully healthy food is probiotics, beneficial bacteria that live in your digestive tract. Probiotics also help crowd out microorganisms that are harmful and cause intestinal infections.
It is loaded with vitamins and a great source of potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, vitamin B5, it is also loaded with calcium and vitamin D. Benefits of eating yogurt are endless if eaten plain.
“Popular yogurt brands try to trick consumers by boldly advertising their flavored yogurt as ‘made with real fruit pulp’, but that fruity flavor comes from a slew of artificial flavors and plenty of sugar”. thehealthorange.com
It seems that no one likes to eat yogurt by itself or in its plain form leading to the popularity of packaged yogurt. Every food manufacturer, not just in the US but around the world, decided to jump on the bandwagon with different flavors and combinations. You walk into any store today and you will find umpteen no. of brands offering a wide variety and combinations and flavors. The reason for such phenomenal growth of flavored yogurt is because the food manufacturers advertise and promote it as a health food, its convenience, and many flavor options.
How Can Flavored Yogurt Be Unhealthy?
Well, you might wonder how flavored yogurt can be unhealthy which has fruits and yogurt. It is quite easy for us to fall in the so-called healthy food trap, we know that fruits are healthy and so is yogurt. When we come across a product saying fruit yogurt, by default we tend to believe it is healthy. However, most popular brands trick us all through their innovative advertisements by claiming that their products contain real fruit, which is correct to some extend. What they do not tell you is that it contains a minuscule amount of real fruits and that too in the form of pulp, contain plenty of artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors.
Flavouring Agents In Yogurt
Delightful mango, banana, strawberry flavors do not come from real fruits but artificial flavors. Most popular brands avoid listing which artificial flavoring agents they use and get away by just cautioning consumers by stating “Contains Added Flavor”. For e.g.:
- Amyl Acetate – Used as Banana flavoring
- Ethyl Butyrate – Used as Pineapple flavoring
- Armine – Used for distinct strawberry color
Why care if it tastes good? Right? WRONG. Various studies show that many flavoring agents are linked to respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. The strawberry flavor yogurt you love gets that lovely pink color from a food Carmine, a coloring chemical which is made from cochineal insects. It is known to cause allergic reactions like Hives (urticaria), asthma, and even anaphylactic.
Most flavored yogurt also contains Carrageenan which has no nutritional value. It is used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of processed foods like ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk etc.
In 2012, Joanne K. Tobacman, MD, published multiple peer-reviewed studies about the biological effects of carrageenan. Her research has shown that exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation and that when we consume processed foods containing it, we ingest enough to cause inflammation in our bodies. That’s a problem since chronic inflammation is a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and cancer.
Sugar in Flavored Yogurt
Most flavored yogurts have as much sugar as in ice-creams if not more. It would be ideal if you consider flavored yogurt as a dessert rather than breakfast food. It can definitely jeopardize your weight-loss goals and lead to weight gain. The American Heart Association recommends that women should not eat more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day which translates to 24 grams. For men, it is no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) a day. Most fruit yogurts have about 26 grams of sugar per serving. Comparatively, plain yogurts have only 8 grams of sugar – which are all naturally occurring from lactose.
The bottom line: Yogurt is awesome healthy food and its unparallel health benefits are vital as long as it’s plain. Get your daily fill of proteins, probiotics, vitamin D, calcium and without any harmful additives like sugar. If so desired, add fresh fruits to it or whip up a smoothie with fresh yogurt, add choice of fruits if you like.
If you still fancy flavored yogurt, go ahead and enjoy it as dessert…once in a while. Remember moderation is the key.
3. Salad Dressing
What could be better and healthier than a good salad? Perfect inclusion to your daily diets and cannot get better and natural. So far so good, but the moment you get a store-bought bottle of salad dressing into the equation, everything changes.
It is the last thing you would ever suspect to be unhealthy and bad for you. And if you think by buying “light,” “low-fat” or “fat-free” dressings, you made good choices? Read on.
“Salad dressings can be a minefield for consumers looking for something healthy to top off their salad,” says author and former food-industry exec Bruce Bradley.
Salad Dressings contain unhealthy ingredients like:
- Processed Oils (Genetically modified)
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners
- Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Artificial colors
- EDTA – Preservatives
- Potassium Sorbate
- Titanium dioxide
And much more. Read for more details on what these ingredients are: Harmful ingredients in salad dressings