The supermarket is full of products that claim to be diet-friendly when in reality they are just as bad for your health as their junk food alternatives.
Food manufacturers often user misleading terms as ‘vegan’ or ‘gluten-free’ to mislead customers into thinking that they are good for your health.
The truth is that most of the foods on your snack list contain unhealthy fats, processed carbs and sugars with no real nutritional value. Here are 6 seemingly healthy packaged foods on the market that are not good for your health.
Veggie chips or puffs
Just because a food claims to be made out of vegetables doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy (aren’t the potatoes in French fries vegetables too?).
Don’t get fooled by packaging that has ‘fresh veggies’ written on it, because vegetable are never the main ingredient in that food. For example veggie puffs or veggie chips contain only a small percentage of preserved vegetables whereas the main ingredients are corn meal, rice flour and potato starch.
Veggie chips aren’t healthier than the traditional potato kind; most brands can contain up to 120 calories per serving with 16 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fat. In comparison, fried potato chips contain 160 calories and similar carb and fat content to veggie chips.
If you’re looking for a healthy, crunchy alternative to chips or puffs, replace this unhealthy snack with carrot or celery sticks with a hummus or guacamole dip.
Vegan can be healthy for you, but this isn’t always the case – especially not with vegan desserts like cookies, cakes and donuts which only omit eggs and dairy but still contain the same processed carbs and sugar content as non-vegan desserts.
One popular brand of ‘healthy’ vegan cookies contains almost 480 calories per cookie with 57 grams of fat (that’s more than your daily requirement!) and 78 grams of carbohydrates. This goes to show that portion control is important even if you’re on a vegan diet.
You can make your own healthy vegan cookies by combining rolled oats, almond butter, maple syrup or date paste and a dash of vanilla. The best part about these cookies is that you don’t even need to bake them!
Just like with vegan desserts, gluten-free foods aren’t necessarily good for your health. For example, gluten-free crackers which are popularly consumed as a ‘healthy’ snack contain vegetable oil and rice flour as the main ingredients. The calories and nutritional content in crackers are also similar to potato chips, making it an unhealthy snack choice.
For a healthier, gluten-free alternative, try Trader Joe’s organic popcorn which is only made of three simple ingredients: corn kernels, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Fruits are undoubtedly a nutritious snack option but the same can’t be said about packaged foods which claim to contain fruits but are full of artificial flavors and colors, cornstarch, corn syrup, fruit puree and sugar.
These snacks contain up to 20 grams of carbs per ping pong ball-sized serving. In comparison, a cup of fresh blueberries, an apple or strawberries contain less carbs and more nutrients.
Trail mix can be healthy depending on the brand you choose and the ingredients it contains. For example, many trail mix varieties contain dried fruit which is packed with sugar and preservatives. On top of that, some brands even mix sweet candy like milk chocolate in their trail mix products which can increase the calorie count to 200 calories per one-fourth cup serving.
You can easily make your own trail mix at home with your favorite nuts and seeds and some dried fruit that is free of preservatives and added sugar.
Pita chips may sound like a healthier alternative to the potato kind but in reality they are equally bad for your health. The main ingredients in this go-to snack are white flour and vegetable oil. Moreover, one serving of pita chips can pack up to 130 calories and 19 grams of carbs. That’s not far off from some potato chip brands that also contain 130 calories per serving with 17 grams of carbs.