Education is important, that’s why I like to share a list of foods that are not good for you, but might appear healthy.
This is equally important as the stores are packed with food that won’t serve your health goals well. They lure you in with colorful packaging which is designed to shortcut your brain. There are foods that are sold as healthy or “better choices” but are a disaster for your body.
This list does not contain the obvious junk. You are not reading a health-blog to rectify your burger-cravings, are you?
On to the bad stuff (yes, it really is just “stuff”) and their better choices:
Also known as “Hydrogenated vegetable oil” also known as trans-fats. Super hard for your body to break down. What does it do with that stuff? It gets stored. Even worse: Because it’s so hard to break it down your body has a really hard time to pull those fatty acids out of the cells and into the bloodstream which eventually transports them away to be burned.
The better choices: butter, olive oil, coconut butter
Palm tree fat:
This is more of an environmental aspect than it’s a health issue. If you haven’t heard of it: jungle is being burned and chopped down to plant palms. This hurts a lot of animals like orangutans. Check ingredients list on the packaging and you will be surprised how often it’s used – or sneaked in! Don’t buy this, help make this planet a little better.
The better choices: Palm tree fat is often used in highly processed foods. Avoid these and check the food labels.
Sugar, sugar and did I mention sugar? And… How old are you again?
The better choices: Get some oatmeal, add fruit, nuts, seeds and low fat curd or yogurt.
Added sugar. Check the food labels. Some cans don’t have fruit juice to fill them up.
The better choices: fresh fruits (from the market).
Canned tuna in oil:
Added low quality vegetable oil
The better choices: Tuna in broth or olive oi. Watch out for the extra calories from the oil.
Big brand yoghurt with fruits:
Added sugar, sugar and to our all surprises: sugar! And almost no fruit or jam.
The better choices: Greek/ plain yogurt with added fruits and nuts.
Most low fat products:
Like mayonaise or cream substitues.Fat is changed for sugar. Can be lower in calories, but “low fat” does not automatically mean “low calories”. Don’t be fooled by the packaging. No alternative, though. Again, check the food label and compare calories per unit with similar non-low fat products.
The better choices: None. Mayonnaise and cream should never be a regular feature in your diet. Exception: low fat cheese.
I am a bit bipolar about fruit juice, because it’s still made from fruit. Problem is the naturally high sugar content. Lower quality juices even have added table sugar. And most of the vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants are in the peel. The fiber makes you full. Ever tried to eat 5-6 apples at once?
The better choices: You will have the most benefit from eating your fruits or juicing. FYI: Soda does not qualify as “juice”. (Hope that wasn’t even a question!)
You see, the “What” is more about health then it is about loosing weight. Certain food combinations help with persistence, sure. And certain diets absolutely have their place. But if calories are matched, every senseful, healthy diet will give you similar results. More on calories later.
Figuring out which foods are good and bad can be a bit tricky. The magic lies within the food labels. It’s no fun reading them but once you identified a bad food you won’t have to read the label again. Nice!