We thought we were done with diet culture. It seemed like we’re slowly but surely moving away from crash diets and towards healthy eating and lifestyle changes and overall fitness. But the diet culture just won’t let go. It seems like our grocery stores and supermarket shelves are filled with healthy foods but when you look closer they’re just junk foods 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 misleading. It’s like they said in The Good Place. It’s so human, we ruined something just a little so we can have a lot more. It sounds like it’s better than ice-cream, and it doesn’t taste as good as ice-cream, but it still has lots of sugar in it, and because of the fake “healthy” label you will have way more. At that point, you might as well just have a small serving of actual ice-cream to satisfy your craving.
2. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is kind of pointless when it comes to health. It’s been dried, so it shrunk in size and now you can have way more of it than you would of fresh fruit, and that just means you’re consuming more sugar than you usually would. Cause you can eat a cup of grapes, which will be like what, maybe 10 grapes. You can also easily eat a cup of raisins, but that quadruples the calories and a lot more sugar now. Dried fruit is just preserved, but it’s always better to have fresh.
3. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are weird, they’re advertised as a great source of hydration for athletes, but they’re mostly bought by teens who don’t even work out. They’re supposed to contain electro light to help more efficiently hydrate those who are exercising heavily and losing a bunch of water. If you’re an athlete running a marathon it’s a good idea, but if you’re a regular person who does 30 minutes of light jogging – skip it. They’re essentially slightly less sugary soda.
4. Vegan Junk Foods
There’s this myth that if something is labeled as vegan it means it’s healthy, but that’s not the case. All it means is that it doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, it’s 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. Just because it doesn’t have gluten doesn’t mean it’s somehow superior and super healthy. There are tons of gluten-free snacks that are packed with sugar and trans fats. So if you’re looking for healthy things – read the ingredients, don’t just fall for false advertising and misleading packaging.
6. Freshly Squeezed Juices
It sounds like a healthy alternative to soda, it’s made from fruit right? Well, not always. Freshly squeezed juice is made of fruit, but all those cartons of juice you see in the supermarket are mostly sugary water with fruit extracts to make it taste vaguely of fruit. If you look at the ingredient list you’ll see sugar as the second ingredient. But even if you’re having freshly squeezed juice, you’re still missing out on the good things like fibre and are just drinking fructose water. Yeah, it’s natural, but if you drink it in excess it’s still too sugary. Just have actual fruit.
7. Whole Wheat Foods
There’s this weird trend going around, where people know that too much bread and pasta and baked goods aren’t good for them, but if you add “whole wheat” to the name they suddenly think it’s healthy. Wheat isn’t great for us, it’s fine to eat it in moderation and fresh bread, baguettes and bagels are delicious, but don’t be fooled by the “whole wheat” label. That whole grain has still been pulverized into flour to make the dough, so it’ll still spike your blood sugar.
8. Agave Nectar
So we’ve all learned that sugar is bad and we 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’s gotta be healthy right? Not really, it’s still basically sugar. I mean, sugar is also made from natural sources, you know. There’s really no difference if you’re drenching your pancakes in sugar, syrup or agave nectar, it’ll affect you just the same, your body can’t tell the difference. So just use less of whatever your preferred sweetener is and save some money.
9. Fat-Free Foods
The idea was to remove saturated fats from foods, but the evidence on how that would make them healthier was weak at best. In the end, we’re left with a bunch of fat-free and low-fat products that either taste awful or have a whole bunch of added sugar to compensate for the fat and add flavor. So next time you consider buying a low-fat yogurt, just skip it and go for a full fat instead.
10. Salad Dressings
We all know we should eat more salads. They’re full of vitamins and vegetables are good for us. However, we often drench those veggies in salad dressing without giving it much of a thought. But you’ve got to be careful and read the labels, too many salad dressings are full of trans fats, sugars and other chemicals that basically turn your healthy salad into a junk meal and at that point, you might as well have had a happy meal.