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Top 10 Over-Hyped Health Foods Ever!
We are absolutely inundated with claims about what to eat and what not to eat. It doesn’t matter where you go: you get these messages via television, billboards, magazine and newspaper ads, word of mouth, and, perhaps the most common place people get their “health” information is off the internet. How are we supposed to know which are real and which are hype?
That old saying of “consider the source” holds more truth now than perhaps ever before. “Milk does a body good,” sponsored by the dairy council, “Beef is what America wants for dinner,” sponsored by the cattle industry. It helps to pay attention to who is paying for this “health information” that you are getting. Many of these supposed health food claims are being put out there by celebrities, ex-sports stars, and television “doctors,” all of whom want to sell you something.
Most of the health food claims made by celebrities and others are often exaggerated or are just plain not true. Don’t be fooled! Check out the top 10 most over-hyped health food claims currently making the rounds.
1. Protein Bars
Remember back about 15 years ago, those Power Bars were used only by professional athletes because they tasted like crap? They still do taste like crap, only now you don’t know it because manufactures fill them with artificial sweeteners or plain old sugar, chocolate chips, and honey.
One look at the ingredient labels and you will wonder, what the heck are all those ingredients anyway? Besides the soy fillers, and a few added vitamins, some “protein” bars look more like a candy bar! Adding vitamins to a candy bar does not make it healthy. Skip these puppies! Read more how to read labels.
2. Acai Berry Juice
It seems as if celebrities everywhere are swearing by this juice, calling it the new “super berry” and claiming it does everything from cure cancer to wrinkle prevention. Although this little berry is nutritious, it is hard to find them fresh. This means that most people drink juice, which generally contains artificial ingredients and sometimes sugars.
Also, research shows that his juice has only average health benefits when you compare it to other fruits. Acai berries are much lower in antioxidants than blueberries, pomegranates, or red wine, all of which are far cheaper alternatives.
If you haven’t heard, margarine is not everything we have been told it is. Margarines contain trans-fats, the worst kind of fats you can consume, because they are made from hydrogenated oils. Why people would choose to eat a man-made source of artery clogging trans-fats when they can eat plain old healthy, good tasting butter is a mystery.
If you think you need more sterols or stanols in your diet, eat more avocados and nuts. There is nothing healthy about margarine, no matter what that label might tell you.
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4. Goji Berries
OK, all berries are a rich source of antioxidants which prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, slow the aging process, and fight other types of chronic diseases; however, the little research that is available on this overpriced berry shows that it is no better than any other berry at keeping you healthy.
In fact, plain old blackcurrant or blueberries are probably your best bet when it comes to getting tons of antioxidants. The Scottish Crop Research Institute published a study which showed that, of all the berries tested, blackcurrants had the highest levels of antioxidants and nutrients, not goji berries.
Don’t get us wrong, there is nothing wrong with pure, natural yogurt. However, most people consume those super sweet, fruit filled, dessert like yogurts, not the unsweetened type. Plain yogurt has super beneficial probiotics but you can also get those from fermented foods such has kimchi, miso, pickles, and sauerkraut. If you love yogurt, great! Just be sure that you are eating plain yogurt, not the HFCS sweetened kind.
Smoothies have been the buzzword for fitness and health conscious people in the last decade. Many Americans are now consuming smoothies for breakfast or as a “healthy” alternative to snacks such as potato chips or cookies. Like yogurt, smoothies can be super healthy; however, most people add way too much sugar, honey, or fruit to make them really healthy. Especially when we are talking about those smoothies sold at most gyms, food stores, juice bars, and smoothie bars.
Even “natural” smoothies that contain lots of fruit and no added sugar can add hundreds of extra calories to your daily diet.
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7. Low-fat Salad Dressings
Regardless of what the mainstream media has been telling you, fat is good for you. Really. It is true that fat has more calories than either carbs or protein, but it also helps your absorb more vitamins from the foods you eat. Fat also makes your meals more satisfying. Fat free or low fat salad dressings don’t make you “healthier,” they only make your salad less nourishing to your body. Find out fantastic fermented salad dressing recipes.
8. Whole Wheat Bread and/or Pasta
You frequently hear nutrition “experts” advising people to eat more whole grains, including whole wheat bread, pasta, and cereal. These are still processed carbs whose health benefits have been highly overrated. There is a great deal of difference between the unprocessed whole grains and these refined wheat flour products.
Wheat flour products have very few vitamins and minerals. The closer you can stay to the natural state of a food, including wheat, the better it is for you. Rather than eat whole wheat pasta and bread, try barley, millet, and whole oats.
9. Vitamin Fortified Water
Although drinking vitamin water can improve your hydration levels, and maybe even add a few nutrients to your body, they really aren’t that much different than sodas. Read the label and you will find that not only are these vitamins synthetic and are very hard for the body to absorb, they are also generally filled with sugar.
Many times we are talking about GM sugar in the form of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). That hardly sounds healthy. Rather than drink that sugar filled vitamin water, drink good old plain water and eat some fruit with it. You can also squeeze the juice from a piece of fruit into a glass of water.
SEE ALSO: Top 10 Super Affordable Superfoods
We aren’t kicking granola to the curb entirely. It does have some health benefits. Granola is high in fiber and the nutrients from nuts, seeds, and rolled oats is considerable. However, (you knew that “however” was coming, didn’t you?) too many granolas are filled with sugar, honey, even chocolate chips and candy!
You can get the same health benefits from a bowl of muesli sprinkled with some seeds and nuts. When you exchange this for granola, you will not only save some big bucks, but you will be cutting out sugar, honey, and even hydrogenated oils that are used as a preservative in many granolas.
Sorry if we burst your favorite health food bubble! Take heart! There are healthy alternatives to everything on this list, so you are sure to find a healthy substitute instead.