Top 4 Seemingly Healthy Foods - Know How Deceived You Are!

August 23, 2011 · 2 comments

This is a guest post by Alicia Lyttle.

Go ahead! Gorge on those frozen yoghurts, bran muffins, reduced-fat peanut butter and energy bars. After all, you are trying to curb your calorie intake and what are other better options than these foods? They are healthy, tasty, and nutritious. Right? Well, not really!

Yes, hard to believe, but there are many foods that may only be laden with a hell lot of sugar and fat while still getting the nod for being a good health food. These deceptive foods enjoy the healthy food halo when they are only letting you stack up more calories without any guilt.

Below I’ve pricked the bubble of 4 such seeming health foods so that you know what you are eating:

Frozen Yoghurt

Sure, it packs in lesser fat and calories than a normal ice cream but one cup of fat free frozen yoghurt contains 40 gms of sugar, which is equivalent to the amount of sugar in four frozen popsicles. Also, frozen yoghurt is normally not very satisfying, thus there is a good possibility that you will eat at least twice as much. Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt from Ben & Jerry is 340 calories, while Cherry Garcia from Ben & Jerry is 250 calories.

Alternatives: Try out “reverse sundae” instead of frozen yoghurt. Take a bowl of fresh fruits and add a small scoop of an all natural ice cream to it, suggests Cynthia Sass, the well-acclaimed dietician and the writer of “Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches,” in a recent episode of “The Early Show” on CBS News. Another alternative is to opt for less or non-fat frozen yoghurt that boasts of its “Live and Active” label from the National Yogurt Association. The seal indicates the presence of a beneficial bacteria during the production of yoghurt, which is good for your immune system and the intestines.

Energy Bars

What a great pre-workout snack! You got it right - pun intended. The reality check reveals that energy bars are loaded with saturated fat that clogs the arteries, artificial ingredients, and added sugar. When you count the fat, protein, and carb contents of these bars, it almost equals a mayo-filled turkey sandwich. Some of these bars, especially the meal replacement bars, consist of 350 calories per bar, which exceeds the agreeable snack size, says Katherine Brooking, the popular Nutrition Exert. Unless you are really using these bars as a replacement for your meals, you might be weighing a few pounds heavier than you should be.

Alternatives: In case it feels too much to give up on energy bars, go for bars that are only made of fruit and nuts, and have no artificial ingredients or sugar, are your best bet. Altoids tin with dried fruit and almonds is also a great pick. 1/4th cup of trail mix or homemade granola bars made by you are also healthy options.

Reduced-fat Peanut Butter

Both the varieties of peanut butter, be it reduced-fat or the usual one, consists of almost the same calorie amount. In fact, the reduced-fat peanut butter is actually prepared by mixing a small amount of the regular variety with various fillers like sugar, so the reduced-variety consists of more sugar. You may argue that less fat is still healthier. But in this case, the answer is no, as the regular peanut butter has natural monounsaturated fat, which is good for you.

Alternatives: If it is hard to resist, check the ingredient list of the natural or the actual peanut butter (and not the reduced-fat peanut butter) and make sure that it doesn’t have any added oils before you indulge. You may even make your peanut butter at home, or grind them in some stores.


The berry or bran muffins have made muffins qualify with the nutritious breakfast image. While this is not completely false but the portion of your muffins does make a lot of difference. In the earlier times, muffins used to be of a very small size and used to pack in 150-170 calories and around 5-6 gms fat. Nowadays, they are larger in size and contain 500 calories and 20+ gms fat, on an average.

Alternative: Spread some peanut butter over a whole-grain muffin and top it with a fruit. This will cut back around 150 calories for you. If you are too keen to have only the baked muffins, your choices are limited to real-fruit corn meal, bran, or whole-grain flour muffin. Make sure you do not eat the entire muffin by yourself, recommends Susan Moores, a Nutrition Consultant as well as the spokesperson for The American Dietetic Association.

Are you surprised to read that these may not be the healthy foods you thought they were?

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Sam August 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Hey John,

I have been an on again off again dieter for about 12 years now. I can relate to your post because I feel one of my major downfalls with all of my diets has been the “seemingly healthy foods”. It is so easy to let your guard down with these foods and not pay attention to the facts.

Troy - Cube.Dweller.Fitness August 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Regular yogurt is often flooded with sugars, too. I love Greek yogurt, but it is expensive.

And it is nice to be reminded that regular PB is good. My PB&J has more PB than J or bread. Yum!

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