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So many foods to choose from but so little information to make the best decisions. Here are a few of the foods which are marketed as healthy, but not be what you thought they were.
The excessive amounts of food North Americans consume is often a result of abundant food production, low cost and the constant advertisement of these foods. Anywhere you go, you'll be sure to see marketing of some sort. The temptation to eat things of low nutritional value is unique to the human species. We eat far more than we need and choose foods which are harmful for our health.

Whole grains are foods including whole oats, brown rice and whole wheat. When choosing a grain or cereal, look for these items listed first on the ingredient list. Studies have shown that people who eat these foods regularly have lower rates of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Alternatively, nutritionists recommend having an egg for breakfast. This provides great nutritional value, plenty of protein and energy for the day for relatively cheap. Eggs also won't raise blood sugar levels the way starchy, sugary foods will first thing in the morning.

4.    Baked Chips and Crackers

Don't be fooled by packaging which advertises baked and not fried, low fat, or gluten-free. In many cases, it doesn't make a difference the food was cooked because they were cooked in unhealthy oils, or are full of salt. Gluten is really only a concern for individuals who are incapable of digesting it, usually those with a serious allergy.

Take a look at the ingredients, and you'll find items including refined grains, starches and salts among the first few ingredients. These are very unhealthy, though they are generally marketed as healthful. There are a few alternatives to look for; in crackers, look for the first ingredient to say “whole grain”. If you're looking for chips, the best option is thin sliced vegetable chips which are baked in olive oil or canola oil, both fairly healthy. There, the nutrients from the chip itself are no longer biologically available, but the benefit from the oil is.

5.    Reduced-fat

When choosing a natural food like peanut butter, it is easy to be tempted to grab the low-fat or reduced-fat version. It would seem logical that less fat is better, especially if you are looking to lose some of your own fat, or keep fat off. However, the fatty part of the peanut butter is the nutritious part. By choosing lower fat options, some of that peanut oil is removed, and the flavor is supplemented with extra sugar and salt. By choosing reduced fat options, you may be losing out on some of the nutritious components that you're going for.

The same principle applies to other reduced fat food options. Fat adds flavor which tastes good to humans. Eating healthy fats, including those in vegetables, nuts and fish is perfectly safe.

  • “5 So-Called Health Foods You Should Avoid” By Katherine Tallmadge. Published February 2012. Accessed April 2012. Retrieved from:
  • Photo courtesy of stevendepolo on Flickr:
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