Knowing which foods are healthy and which aren’t isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Often seemingly healthy foods are packed with hidden salt, sugar and fats that aren’t good for a healthy lifestyle. Here are ten surprising foods that might not be as good as you first thought…
1. Energy Bars
Processed energy bars can provide a great snack on-the-go or provide a pre-workout energy boost, however they can be packed full of sugars. NHS guidelines suggest that most adults and children have too much sugar in their diets and snacks like these can be partly to blame with some bars racking up as much sugar as candy!
2. Baked Crisps
While they can be better than regular fried crisps, experts advise that you need to keep an eye on portion size as although these ‘healthier’ options tend to have reduced fat, it doesn’t mean they are low in fat, salt or sugar.
3. Frozen Yoghurt
It’s important to keep an eye on added sugars, even when you think you’re swapping a dessert or sweet treat, such as ice cream, for a ‘healthier’ option. Frozen yoghurt for example can contain almost all of our daily recommended sugar intake, regardless of added sauces and toppings.
4. Diet Drinks
These options do contain less sugar, however there is little evidence to support that sugar-free or diet drinks prevent weight gain, with some researchers arguing that sweetened drinks can stimulate your sweet tooth causing you to crave more sugar!
For years, expert advice was to limit fat intake by switching from butter to margarine, however more recent studies show that although butter has a higher fat content, it’s the trans fats in margarine that are linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
6. Skimmed Milk
It’s often believed that a low-fat diet is better for you. However, when it comes to milk, the process involved to ‘skim’ the milk reduces the nutritional benefits, which can often mean that the full-fat option is better for your health.
7. Sports Drinks
8. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
Peanuts are a natural source of the good monounsaturated fats that we need in our diets to stay healthy – not only does the reduced spread have less of these, but it can also contain more sugar as a result.
9. Shop Bought Smoothies
Homemade smoothies can be a great way to pack your diet with fresh fruit and vegetables, however, watching how many you consume is important as they can have very high levels of sugar, especially those that are shop bought.
10. Fat Free Salad Dressings
When it comes to choosing a salad dressing, don’t be fooled by the fat free or light options. Although lighter options tend to have less fat and calories, they are often higher in salt and sugar, so look to see what other ingredients are in the dressing. And if in doubt, make your own, this way, you can control what ingredients are added.
Often healthy foods have hidden ingredients that aren’t that good for you. By understanding what is in the foods you eat, you can manage your daily nutritional intake, allowing you to enjoy most things in moderation and remain fit and healthy.