(Not) Health Foods
You think you're doing your body a favor by chomping on a big salad for lunch and sipping juice throughout the day. Surprise: Your actions may be undoing your diet. Read on to learn about four foods that masquerade as healthy.
Cooked with added oils, loaded with sugar, and containing as many as 260 calories and 11 grams of fat per three-quarter cup: Yup, that's granola. "There's not a really, really low-fat granola out there. A lot of them are high-fat. If you like granola, you should find a recipe and make your own," says Catherine Champagne, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition and chronic diseases and chief of nutritional epidemiology at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University.
Just because a drink tastes fruity doesn't mean it has the same benefits as fruit. Take Sunny Delight: It boasts 100 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C but is made of mostly water and high-fructose corn syrup (less than 2 percent of the drink comes from actual fruit). A better choice is 100 percent juice. Check the label and the serving size. "Keep in mind that drinking any juice so long as it's 100 percent juice is going to offer you more nutrition than drinking Coke," says Champagne. But even healthier is eating actual fruit, so grab an orange, an apple, or a handful of grapes and enjoy.
Green leaf lettuce topped with vegetables, fruit, and nuts makes for a healthy meal. But you can get into trouble if you don't pay attention to the dressing you pour over it. "I have seen dressings that have 150 calories in 2 tablespoons," says Champagne. "You're ending up with 25 calories of good, healthy stuff and another 300 calories of fat." Skip rich and creamy varieties, and stick with light vinaigrettes or drizzle on your own olive oil and vinegar.
These whipped drinks seem healthy ... and they're packed with fruit, right? Don't be deceived into thinking they are a healthy way to snack. Many store-bought smoothies are really glorified milkshakes, heaping sherbet, yogurt, frozen yogurt, or peanut butter on top of protein and vitamin powders and fruit. Take Jamba Juice's 24-ounce Peanut Butter Moo'd: It has 800 calories and 21 grams of fat-more than a Burger King Whopper. If you love smoothies, your best bet is to make them from scratch and add your own healthy ingredients.
Don't swear off coffee or eggs. Click here to find out why these and other controversial foods are OK to eat.