Foods That Sound Healthy – But They're Not
(Part 2 of 2)
Veggie chips started appearing in the produce section of my supermarket about a year ago. With names like “The Better Chip” and flavors like spinach & kale, you'd think they're a healthy alternative to regular potato chips, but you'd be wrong.
A serving of the spinach & kale chips has 140 calories. The exact same size serving of Lay's Kettle Cooked Original potato chips has 160 calories. Both types of chips have similar amounts of fat (7 grams in the spinach & kale and 9 grams in the Kettle chips) and identical levels of protein.
According to Consumer Reports, many veggie chips hide the fact that potatoes are their primary ingredient, they're just supplemented with vegetable powder or puree. If you really want chips, look for brands like Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips. They're made from slices of actual root vegetables like sweet potato and parsnip. Even better, serve up some hummus with crispy vegetables like carrots and celery. You'll get more heart-healthy fiber and protein while ditching some of the fat.
Muffins are an easy impulse item many people grab along with their morning cup of coffee. There's this mistaken belief that the bran or blueberries in the muffin somehow make it a healthy choice. In fact, a typical muffin has more than 500 calories, with some bakery shop versions packing in more than 800 calories. A Hostess Blueberry Muffin has 560 calories, just one lonely gram of fiber and 30 grams of sugar. That's about two-thirds of the sugar a typical person should eat for the entire day. The muffins with fruit only have a fraction of a serving of real fruit.
That muffin isn't a healthy breakfast, it's a conveniently wrapped piece of cake. Many muffins have more sugar and calories than a donut. (That doesn't mean donuts are a healthy choice either, so don't think you can swap one for the other.) If the choice is between a muffin or nothing, grab the muffin and split it with somebody to minimize the damage.
The best choice is to make your own. Go to our website (www.WeCookFit.com) and bake one of our healthier muffins for breakfast. You'll find them in the Protein Bar section. Freeze them and heat one up as you're getting ready for work. You still get all the convenience and taste, but much more fiber and protein without all the calories and sugar.
Vitamin and Infused Waters
Waters infused with vitamins, probiotics and antioxidants are good marketing, but bad choices. There are three big reasons why. First, the regular versions of the drinks like Glaceau Vitamin Water, Gatorade Organic and Body Armor Super Drink are packed with sugar. They range from 29 to 36 grams of sugar per bottle, with no beneficial fiber or protein. Just the empty calories.
To offer healthier versions, most brands also sell sugar-free versions. That's where you come across the second problem with these drinks. Our stomachs have taste buds. When we drink one of these diet drinks, our stomachs detect "sweet" and start preparing for the sugary calories. Unfortunately these diet drinks have none. After about 30 minutes, our bodies start to crash because the "sweet calories" they were expecting never appeared. That makes us feel more hungry and tired than when we first drank the diet drink. So that supposedly healthy diet drink, is now making us hungry.
An even bigger third problem with these drinks is the stuff they're putting in them. We've been warning our clients and readers since 2006 that multivitamins don't help the average person. In fact, in study after study, people who take multivitamins get sicker and die sooner than people who don't take them. That simple fact doesn't change if you dissolve a vitamin into a drink. Unless you're addressing a specific deficiency diagnosed by a doctor, drinking vitamin-infused drinks put your health at risk.
Get rid of enhanced waters. Pour a glass of water and squeeze some lemon or orange into it for the healthiest drink of all.
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