Nutrition bars and low-fat cookies must be good for
you, right? Well, just because something sounds healthy
doesn't mean it actually is. Many of the products marketed
as nutritious involve more hype than health. How can
you weed through the claims to separate fact from fiction?
Read on to uncover six "health foods" that
really aren't that healthy after all.
1. Reduced-Fat Foods. Perhaps they should change
the label to "Less fat than the original, which
had tons of fat." According to a spokeswoman from
the American Dietary Association (ADA), "Reduced-fat
foods are heavily marketed, and the marketing works.
You only think it's healthy." But the truth is,
most reduced-fat products are still high in fat. For
this reason, the ADA encourages consumers to read reduced-fat
food labels very carefully.
2. Pretzels. What a great snack, right? Actually,
pretzels are high in sodium and low in fiber, which
is why people can eat a lot of them and still not feel
satisfied. According to the ADA, pretzels serve as a
filler, but they don't add anything nutritious to your
diet. Instead, try replacing them with a sandwich, fruit,
or raw vegetablesfoods that curb hunger and add
nutrients to the body.
3. Cheese Crackers. As with pretzels, people
generally consider cheese-flavored crackers a fairly
healthy snack. But they're generally low in fiber and
high in sodium, according to the ADA. What's more, the
cheesy flavor is almost always artificial.
4. Granola Bars. They seem so wholesome, but
according to the ADA, their main ingredient is usually
sugar. Oftentimes, these treats are also high in fat
and coated in chocolate. For these reasons, the ADA
recommends replacing them with lower-sugar options,
like a bowl of cereal or a bag of trail mix.
5. Energy Bars. These power-packed treats might
seem like a sensible snack or meal replacement, but
the "energy" touted on the label usually means
a whole lot of calories, along with artificial flavorings
and preservatives. In some cases, they may even contain
trans fats. For a healthier alternative, try low-fat
yogurt or a piece of fruit.
6. Sports Drinks. It's tempting to think that
by guzzling down a sports drink, you'll become the next
Tom Brady or Serena Williams. But according to the ADA,
the electrolyte replacement in these drinks is designed
for people who exercise rigorously. So unless you work
out like a sports hero, you'll wind up consuming a lot
of unnecessary calories. For mere mortals, a half-cup
of water every 15 to 30 minutes is sufficient during