Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before. Surprisingly, people consider some of these foods healthy. Here are 15 “health foods” that are really junk foods in disguise.
1. Processed 'low-fat' and 'fat-free' foods
The “war” on saturated fat could be considered one of the most misguided decisions in the history of nutrition. It was based on weak evidence, which has now been completely. When this discussion started, processed food manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and started removing the fat from foods.
But there’s a huge problem. Food doesn’t taste well when the fat has been removed. That’s why they added a lot of sugar to compensate. Saturated fat is harmless, but added sugar is incredibly harmful when consumed in excess. The words “low fat” or “fat free” on packaging usually means that it’s a highly processed product that’s loaded with sugar.
2. Most Commercial Salad Dressings
Vegetables are incredibly healthy. The problem is that they often don’t taste very good on their own. That’s why many people use dressings to add flavor to their salads, turning these bland meals into delicious treats. But many salad dressings are actually loaded with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, vegetable oils, and trans fats, along with various artificial chemicals.
Although vegetables are good for you, eating them with a dressing high in harmful ingredients negates any health benefit you get from the salad. Check the ingredients list before you use a salad dressing or make your own using healthy ingredients.
3. Fruit Juices, Which Are Basically Liquid Sugar
A lot of people believe fruit juices are healthy. They must be because they come from fruit, right? But most fruit juice you find in the grocery store isn’t really fruit juice. Sometimes they don’t have any actual fruit in them, just chemicals that taste like fruit. What you’re drinking is basically fruit-flavoured sugar water.
That being said, even if you’re drinking 100% quality fruit juice, it’s still not the best choice. Fruit juice is like fruit, except with all the good stuff (like the fiber) taken out. The main thing left of the actual fruit is the sugar. Fruit juice actually contains a similar amount of sugar as a sugar-sweetened beverage
4. 'Heart-Healthy Whole Wheat'
Most “whole wheat” products aren’t really made from whole wheat. The grains have been pulverized into very fine flour, which causes them to raise blood sugar just as fast as their refined counterparts. In fact, whole wheat bread can have a similar glycemic index as white bread.
But even true whole wheat may be a bad idea because modern wheat is unhealthy compared to the wheat our grandparents ate. Around 1960, scientists modified the genes in wheat to increase the yield. Modern wheat is less nutritious and has some properties that make it much worse for people who have a gluten intolerance.
There are also studies showing that modern wheat may cause inflammation and increased cholesterol levels, at least when compared to the older varieties. Wheat may have been a relatively healthy grain back in the day, but the stuff most people are eating today should be consumed with caution.
5. Cholesterol-lowering Phystosterols
Phytosterols are nutrients that are basically like plant versions of cholesterol. Some studies have shown that they can lower blood cholesterol in humans. For this reason, they’re often added to processed foods that are then marketed as “cholesterol lowering” and claimed to help prevent heart disease.
However, studies have shown that despite lowering cholesterol levels, phytosterols have negative e