Navigating the sea of misinformation regarding health foods can be a full-time job. According to the FDA, 54% of Americans examine nutrition labels when choosing their groceries, which means more than half of the US is focused on finding healthier options. Food companies have caught on to this trend and often advertise false nutritional benefits or completely dismiss the unhealthy aspects of their offerings. We’ve put together a list of a few imposters to keep an eye on while making your choices.
Commercial Smoothie Chains
Traditional advertising would have us believe that going to our local smoothie shop means that we will be drinking beverages chock full of vitamins and vegetable goodness. However, the opposite is usually the case. However, a recent article by Spoon University revealed top-performing drinks at a well-known smoothie establishment to have as much sugar and calories in them as candy bars. What’s worse is that many of these established chains have opted to replace the vitamin-rich foods listed in their ingredients with sweetened alternatives such as ice cream or sugary fruit juice concentrates.
Granola bars seem deceptively attractive due to their high fiber content and mix of whole grains. The danger is that many companies add exorbitant amounts of sugar to their bars to make them more palatable for younger audiences. These high-sugar contents lead to very sharp spikes in insulin levels, which we all know lead to the body converting excess glucose into fat. Additionally, some companies will use high amounts of oil as a binding agent in their bars. All around, the dangers of these bars far outweigh the benefits.
Frozen Yogurt Shops
A fun trip to your local frozen yogurt shop might sound like the perfect end to a week but consider this: most froyo shops use high levels of sugar syrup or high-fructose corn syrup to sweeten their mixture. Some frozen yogurt chains have been found to have as much sugar in their yogurt as commercial ice creams. Let’s not forget that even fruit toppings often have sugar added to enhance their natural sweetness. Don’t trust that all froyo is created equal and do your research. Grocery chains are beginning to carry frozen Greek yogurts that are perfect for mixing fresh fruit into for a creamy delight.
Recent research has uncovered that the levels of mercury in women’s blood has reached an all-time high. Mercury is toxic to the central-nervous system and is known to cause permanent damage to internal organs. The human body is capable of processing small amounts, but due to environmental pollutants, the fish we eat are now carrying increasing amounts of mercury, which is building up in our bodies to toxic levels. The number one fish used in sushi is tuna and unfortunately, tuna sits at the highest level of mercury saturation. Coupled with the large amounts of refined carbohydrates in white rice of a standard sushi roll and the sodium in soy sauce, those sushi rolls are not doing you any favors. Substitute the rolls for some baked fish low in mercury content such as catfish, tilapia, or trout.
Frozen Diet Dinners
The idea is simple enough: microwave an entire healthy meal in minutes for the ultimate dining convenience. However, simplicity is the word that best describes the nutritional profile of these “meals”. These drab concoctions are full of processed foods that have had all their vitamins and minerals cooked out during the packaging process. To make frozen dinners palatable, companies pack them with sodium and flavor enhancers to trick your body into thinking they contain substance. This highlights a major issue in the food industry: calling something healthy does not make it so. SlimGenics® has had a fifteen year-long track record of success in helping people on their health journey because we continually educate our clients that healthy food is REAL food. Skip the boxed mess and for a quick nutritious dinner, steam some seasoned chicken and vegetables together in a pan and serve with a side of savory quinoa.
The “sports drink” was born years ago to address a core complication experienced by long distance athletes. Sustained periods of moderate activity cause our glucose levels to deplete as our bodies quickly convert it into energy. After those levels go down, we experience a decrease in performance and an overall feeling of lethargy. As we sweat, our bodies also release electrolytes that we must replace to maintain physical output. The original sports drink was meant to add glucose and electrolytes back into the body to provide easily converted energy as well as replace the things being lost. Companies often fail to mention that an athlete must maintain activity continuously for at least 60 minutes for drinks like these to be beneficial to their performance. Otherwise, the high levels of sugar present in these drinks are simply providing insulin spikes that can lead to weight gain and poor energy use.
Fast Food Salads
The great lie of fast food joints is that the salads they make are healthy. Just last year, a major fast-food chain was found to have salads containing calorie and fat counts as high their biggest cheeseburger… And we’re not loving that. Fast-food salad dressings typically contain large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup as well as preservatives which extend their shelf life for years. These pair with loads of carbohydrates from oil-fried croutons and breaded meats making fast food salads just another processed product devoid of any real nutrition. Make your own salads at home. They are guaranteed to be more delicious and cost far less.