Foods That Appear Good for You… but Aren’t: Part One


Everyone knows that foods like bacon, double cheeseburgers, potato chips, and ice cream sundaes are not good for you. We may splurge sometimes, but these foods make no claims for their nutritional value. The same can’t be said for some junk food that masquerades astricky-foods healthy food, or food that just plain seems like it should be healthy, but isn’t. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the foods that people most frequently think are healthy… but aren’t.

Trick Food #1: Granola

Is there any food that has such a reputation for healthfulness as granola? Since the 1960s, when many in the counter-culture movement embraced it as a health food, granola has been considered one of the most nutritious breakfast or snack foods available. But if you read the labels of most of today’s commercially available granola, you’ll see that a cup often contains as many as 500 calories, in addition to many grams of sugar and fat. Some granolas are healthier, but be sure to check the nutrition facts before you do some inadvertent damage to your diet.

Trick Food #2: Veggie Chips

It sounds too good to be true: crunchy, salty snacks that taste like potato chips but are as healthy as a serving of fresh vegetables. Unfortunately, things that sound too good to be true often are, and that’s the case with most veggie chips, sticks, and other snacks. In most cases, these snacks are indeed just potato chips in disguise; their primary ingredient is potato flour, and the vegetables are present only as coloring. If you really want to snack on veggies, look for vegetable snacks that actually look like vegetables; baked or fried veggie snacks are increasingly available and provide a genuine alternative to potato chips.

Trick Food #3: Yogurt-Covered Raisins, Pretzels, or Anything Else

Purveyors of yogurt-covered snacks trade on the public’s perception that anything involving yogurt is healthy. Yogurt itself is, of course, healthy; it’s filled with calcium, vitamin D, protein, and probiotics. But the main ingredients in the yogurt coating of most snacks are palm oil and sugar, with “yogurt powder” running a distant third. If you’re looking for the health benefits of yogurt, have a real yogurt, and treat yogurt-covered snacks as an occasional splurge.

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