We thought we were done with diet culture. It seemed like we were slowly but surely moving away from crash diets to healthy eating, lifestyle changes, and overall fitness. But food culture just won’t let go. Our grocery store and supermarket shelves may seem filled with healthy foods, but when you take a closer look, they’re just junk food masquerading as a healthy snack. Let’s take a look at some of these unhealthy foods disguised as healthy.
1. Frozen yogurt
Frozen yogurt is very deceptive. It’s like they said in The Good Place. It’s so human, we spoiled something a little to have a lot more. It looks like it’s better than ice cream and it doesn’t taste as good as ice cream, but it’s still high in sugar and because of the fake “healthy” label, you get a lot more. At this point, you can just have a small serving of real ice cream to satisfy your craving.
2. Dried fruits
Dried fruit is a no-brainer when it comes to health. It’s been dried, so it’s reduced in size, and now you can eat a lot more of it than fresh fruit, which means you’re consuming more sugar than usual. Because you can eat a glass of grapes that will be like maybe 10 grapes. You can also easily eat a cup of raisins, but that quadruples the calories and a lot more sugar. Dried fruits can only be preserved, but fresh is always better.
3. Sports drinks
Sports drinks are weird, they’re advertised as a great source of hydration for athletes, but they’re mostly bought by teenagers who don’t even exercise. They are supposed to contain an electric light to help hydrate more effectively those who are exercising intensely and losing a lot of water. If you’re an athlete running a marathon, this is a good idea, but if you’re just a regular person doing a 30-minute easy jog – skip it. Basically, they have a little less sugary soda.
4. Vegan junk food
There is a myth that if something is labeled as vegan, it means it is healthy, but it is not. All this means is that it does not contain any ingredients of animal origin, it is not inherently healthy. Vegan chocolate is still chocolate, it’s still full of sugar. Vegan burgers are still greasy burgers, except they’re full of vegetable oils instead of animal fats. Basically, junk food is still junk food and isn’t healthy, even if it’s vegan.
5. Gluten-free snacks
The same logic applies to gluten-free foods. The fact that it does not contain gluten does not mean that it is somehow better and very healthy. There are tons of gluten-free snacks that are loaded with sugar and trans fats. So if you’re looking for healthy stuff – read the ingredients, don’t just fall for false advertising and deceptive packaging.
6. AAshly Compressed juices
It sounds like a healthy alternative to soda, it’s made with fruit, right? Well, not always. Freshly squeezed juice is made from fruit, but all those juice cartons you see in the supermarket are basically sweet water with fruit extracts added to give them a vaguely fruity taste. If you look at the ingredients list, you will see sugar as the second ingredient. But even if you’re drinking freshly squeezed juice, you’re still missing out on good things like fiber, and you’re only drinking fructose water. Yes, it is natural, but if you drink it excessively, it will still be too sweet. Just eat real fruit.
7. Whole wheat products
There’s this weird tendency where people know that too much bread, pasta, and baked goods aren’t good for them, but when you add “whole wheat” to the name, they suddenly think it’s good. Wheat is not very good for us, it can be eaten in moderation, and fresh bread, baguettes and bagels are delicious, but don’t be fooled by the “whole wheat” label. These whole grains are still ground into flour to make dough, so they will still raise your blood sugar.
8. Agave nectar
So we’ve all learned that sugar is bad and try to stay away from it, but that also means people are looking for healthier alternatives. That’s where agave nectar comes in. It sounds better, it’s natural, it must be healthy, right? Not really, it’s still mostly sugar. I mean, sugar is also made from natural sources. It really doesn’t make any difference whether you sprinkle your pancakes with sugar, syrup or agave nectar, it will affect you the same, your body can’t tell the difference. So just use less of whatever sweetener you prefer and save money.
9. Defatted products
The idea was to remove saturated fat from foods, but the evidence for how this would make them healthier was weak at best. In the end, we’re left with a bunch of fat-free and low-fat foods that either taste terrible or have a whole bunch of added sugar to offset the fat and add flavor. So the next time you’re thinking about buying low-fat yogurt, just skip it and go for full-fat instead.
10. Salad dressings
We all know we need to eat more salads. They are full of vitamins and good for us vegetables. However, we often pour salad dressing over these vegetables without thinking about it. But you have to be careful and read the labels, too many salad dressings are filled with trans fats, sugar and other chemicals that basically turn your healthy salad into a junk food, at which point you could be having a happy meal.