There’s a new health fad every other month claiming to be the best way to lose weight.
Except, in most instances, they’re not. That’s not stopping the market in healthy eating rising to over $700 billion dollarsworldwide.
But how can the average person separate the fake foods from the ones that are truly good for you?
If you’re wondering that question yourself, we’re here to help. Here are 10 junk foods masquerading as healthy ones that you should look to avoid.
1. Pre-Made Salad Dressings
Salad–the staple of most weight loss diets. It’s healthy, it’s leafy, it’s green.
Couldn’t be better for you, right? But it isn’t always very exciting to eat, which is why pre-made salad dressings are so popular.
Unfortunately for you, these aren’t healthy. Take a look at the ingredients listed on the bottle the next time you go to buy some.
They’re full of ingredients likely to set your diet back and harm your health if you consume excessively, such as oil and sugars.
While we’re not anti-salad, we recommend you stay away from any store-bought salad dressings. Otherwise, your salad won’t be all that healthy after all.
2. Fruit Juices
There’s a juice for every fruit you can think of. There’s orange juice, apple juice, pineapple juice–and they all share something in common.
They’re filled with sugar. Lots of sugar.
Most store-bought juices actually don’t contain much in the way of actual fruit, either. They’ll usually have a percentage on the carton that tells you how much they contain, but most won’t contain 100% fruit, or anything close to that number.
If you think ‘sugar-free fruit juices’ are another good idea, you’d be wrong. They’ve taken out the sugar and replaced it with artificial sweeteners, which isn’t too healthy for you, either.
Of course, some juice drinks are sold as containing 100% fruit. We’d still be wary of these, too. They still contain a significant amount of sugar, which won’t be healthy for you.
3. Fat-Free or Low Fat Processed Foods
There’s a secret that most food manufacturers have tried to keep to themselves. Fat’s bad for you, right?
Wrong. Actually, fat isn’t bad in itself. If you need to lose weight, you need a well-rounded diet that doesn’t neglect fat.
You also need to avoid anything processed that proclaims that it’s low or free in fat. These are foods that have had their fat content removed or reduced through artificial means.
What they often don’t tell you is that when they remove that fat, they’ll add additional sugar. This is so the food doesn’t taste, well, bad.
Here are 10 weight loss friendly foods you can try to help you lose a few extra pounds instead.
Butter has a bad reputation, but it’s an old one. It was often demonized because it contained a large amount of saturated fat.
This kind of fat was the enemy and the reason why so many diets try and get you to go for ‘low-fat foods’. Junk science for a junk age.
Replacing it with it’s ‘healthy’ substitute, margarine, is actually worse for you. It’s a fake mix of oils and chemicals turned into a spread.
Butter actually contains healthy vitamins like Vitamin K2, so you should swap out your margarine for butter on your next food shop.
5. Low Carb Diet Foods
When they don’t go for fats, diets often try to reduce something else to help you lose weight. If you’re thinking about going ‘low carb’, avoid foods specifically labeled as such.
Like our fat-free food example, you’re not going to get a home cooked meal with all the vitamins and minerals you’d expect from low carb diet food.
They’re processed, designed to sell goods for the manufacturer, not to get you healthy. They’re filled with chemicals and often sold as ‘health foods’ when, bluntly, they’re not.
They might not do you much harm in moderation, but don’t expect a miracle with these. They’re not going to give you any kind of health benefit.
6. Exercise Drinks
Those who exercise lose certain minerals and water when they work out. Store-sold exercise drinks fill a gap in the market to help the fitness-inspired to recover quicker.
If it’s a drink for exercise, it must be healthy, we hear you ask? No is the answer–it’s another manufacturer ploy.
They’re filled with sugar and salt (a special kind called electrolytes) to help your body ‘recover’ but unless your body has specific health needs, your body doesn’t need either to recover after a workout.
It especially won’t need the sugar. They’re no better than a fruit juice, and you’ve already heard our opinion on those.
7. Most Breakfast Cereals
Breakfast cereals aren’t healthy foods.
They’re not even trying with these, are they? You know which brands we mean. The worst offenders are arguably the ones who try to make their cereals sound healthy and filled with all kinds of goodness.
Don’t get sucked into the hype on these. Filled with Vitamin XYZ, low in fat, whole grain–usually all buzz words that hide the fact they’re filled with a list of sugars and chemicals a mile long.
Take a good, long look at that list before you pick up your next box. Not all cereals are bad, especially if you can find ones that include real ingredients and nothing else.
8. Brown Rice Syrup
We’ve mentioned sugar a lot, and for many, it’s cutting down their sugar intake that will be a good first step in reducing their weight.
For some, that isn’t always easy, so they look for substitutes like brown rice syrup to get by. Brown rice is pretty healthy, so a sweetener made from it sounds like it should be healthy, but it isn’t.
It’s only real ingredient is glucose, which is unrefined sugar. If you eat it, your blood sugar level will spike very quickly. It has no nutritional benefits.
If you’re overweight and at risk of diabetes, add this to your foods to avoid list. Even if you’re not, there’s no real benefit to eating it.
9. Multi-Grain Bread
Bread is a staple in most people’s diet, but it’s often the wrong kind of bread. If you’re looking to improve your diet, you might turn to multi-grain bread as a healthier alternative.
These kinds of bread aren’t too bad, but you’re not gaining much by swapping to it. For the most part, they’re still going to be processed, refined and filled with chemicals and carbs that can cause your blood sugar to spike.
The best advice is to give them a miss and look at other types of bread, such as whole-grain bread. These have a higher nutritional value and are better for you overall.
For a more exotic diet, sushi might sound healthy. After all, it’s mostly fish and rice.
It’ll depend on the sushi. White rice can act as another type of ‘spike’ for your blood sugar level and will have a higher calorific content than other types of rice, like brown rice.
Sushi is also mixed with other kinds of potentially bad ingredients for you, like tempura, which is battered and fried. Definitely another unhealthy food that is not good for you.
Try to eat sushi that avoids these kinds of ingredients. Brown rice, fresh vegetables, and fresh fish are all healthier substitutes.
Of course, the best way to ensure you’re eating healthy sushi is to prepare it yourself. Here are 10 healthy and easy sushi recipes for you to try at home.
Swap ‘Healthy’ Junk Foods for the Real Thing
A lot of the time, these ‘healthy’ junk foods are marketing ploys. These businesses don’t care about your health, only about a profit.
A lot of them, like low carb diet or fat-free foods, are just ways to provide an easy fix to lower your weight. Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for the real thing when it comes to weight loss.
Research your diet and food choices, and consider whether a doctor-led weight-loss program might be more effective.