5 “Healthy” Foods That Aren’t Actually That Healthy

Posted by Sara Spector
(@Sara Spector)

It seems that everyone fancies themselves a health-nut these days. With new reports coming out every day declaring “x-food” to be the new breakthrough in healthy dieting, it’s hard to keep track of what’s actually good for you and what’s just a fad. You’d be surprised how many “healthy alternatives” are actually loaded with GMOs, additives, and even carcinogens. To help you separate fact from fiction, here’s 5 “healthy” foods you should steer clear of:

1. Almond Milk

With all this talk lately about the harmful effects of dairy, people have been scrambling to find a healthy alternative to regular milk. One of the most popular alternatives has been almond milk. It comes in a variety of flavors and is often a handy substitute for baking purposes. But what a lot of people don’t know is that this seemingly harmless milk imposter may be hiding some dark secrets. It turns out that most store-bought brands of almond milk contain the chemical carrageenan, which is used to improve the texture of many dairy products and substitutes, including yogurt, milk, and ice cream.

Carrageenan has been linked to various health problems, including some forms of cancer. If you’re set on using almond milk as your dairy alternative, try making some at home instead of buying off the shelf. Not only is it super easy to make, but the homemade versions won’t poison you. Here’s an easy at-home almond milk recipe.

2. Juice

We know the idea of only drinking juice for seven days and fainting from malnutrition is really appealing, but you might want to think twice before starting that cleanse your favorite actress swears by. It turns out that most “healthy” juices are loaded with sugar. In fact, that Naked Juice you’re drinking is actually closer in nutritional value to a can of Coke than it is to an apple. Be sure to check the nutrition label before buying, and steer clear of any “purees” and “concentrates.”

3. Gluten Free Products

Believe it or not, gluten actually serves a purpose other than being the so-called poisonous monster health bloggers have made it out to be. Gluten is the reason bread, pasta, and pastries are so chewy and delicious. So, when you take the gluten out, something has to be added so that these gluten free versions of the foods we love don’t feel like actual cardboard in our mouths. That “something” is usually tons of sugar, fat, and chemicals. Maybe it’s time to suck it up and eat that slice of bread, and leave the gluten free stuff for the actual celiacs among us.

4. Fruit-at-the-Bottom Yogurt

Trust me, there’s nothing I love more than waking up and scarfing down a strawberry Chobani while speed-walking to my 9:00 am lecture. It’s tasty, convenient, and supposedly guilt-free. Unfortunately, that “fruit” on the bottom is more like fruit flavored sugar syrup. Try putting real fruit in plain yogurt instead. You know what? Go ahead and throw a teaspoon of sugar in there, too. I won’t tell anyone. At least you know where that sugar is coming from.

5. Deli Turkey

This one really breaks my heart. I’m a huge sliced meats gal. Proscuitto, corned beef, salami, you name it. I know most of them aren’t exactly the staple of health, but I always thought I was safe with turkey. Turkey was my fallback, by safe bet, a friend I could always count on. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that most packaged deli turkey contains tons of sodium, preservatives and and artificial flavors. Not only that, but some brands contain nitrates, which have been linked to certain digestive cancers. I trusted you, Turkey. I trusted you, and you betrayed me.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of “healthy” products out there. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what’s good for you and what isn’t, so always be sure to do your research, check the label, and when in doubt, cook it yourself.

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