10 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Really Aren’t
First off I want to say that I don’t actually like putting food into a “good” and “bad” category. All foods can be enjoyed in moderation, but when wanting to improve your health it’s good to be mindful of some food that are actually labeled as “healthy” but aren’t actually good for your health. So, here’s a bit of myth busting session for you with these 10 foods that you think are healthy but really aren’t.
1. Soy Milk & Soy- Based Products
Soy is often very processed, especially soy milk and tofu. Soy contains phytoestrogens which mimic the real estrogen in our body and can cause havoc with female hormonal health (especially if you’re taking an OCP). I recommend limiting soy intake to 2-3x times per week and only consuming certified organic soy products, one of the best soy passed products is tempeh, which is fermented soy bean.
2. Sweetened Nut Milk – sweetened nut milks are often high in added sugar, with some having 3 teaspoons per 250ml. I always encourage people to opt for unsweetened when possible to reduce daily sugar intake.
3. Fresh Fruit & Veggie Juice – those fresh cold-press juices you see at the grocery store or order from a juice bar may contain many health promoting-benefits, but more often than not they are loaded with sugar from all the fruit. When going to a juice bar I personally ensure they only put in 1 piece of fruit per juice, otherwise you are getting a concentrated hit of sugar.
4. Granola and cereals – on the surface many granolas look great, until you read their food label and they contain high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil, lots of dried fruit, or concentrated syrups. Try making your own homemade granola, or look for one with wholefood ingredients, and make sure you know what all the ingredients actually are, if you’re not familiar with anything on the ingredient list, put that box back down.
5. Low Fat Foods – low fat foods products often replace the fat with added sugar, salt, high-fructose corn syrup and more. Many of the beneficial nutrients are stripped out through further processing to make them low fat. Fat is good, don’t fear fat!
6. Flavoured yoghurt – some flavoured yoghurts can contain 4+ teaspoons of sugar per serve. That’s huge considering our daily allowance should only 6 teaspoons. Opt for full fat, plain greek or coconut yoghurt instead.
7. Protein Bars – so many health practitioners (including myself) often talk about the importance of protein in our diet. It sure is a vey important component to a healthy diet, but when wanting to find a protein rich snack a store-bought protein bar often isn’t the way to go. When you flip their label to read the ingredient list, you’ll quickly realize many of them of them are high in sugar, contain soy and hydrogenated oils. Try to find a bar option with a brief list of wholefoods ingredients, that you actually know what they are, like nuts, seeds, coconut oil, eggs, dried fruit, or make your own, my homemade paleo bar is not only delicious it’s super easy to make!
8. Deli Meats – most deli meats are loaded with sodium, nitrates and fillers, not to mention the animal production side of things. It’s best to leave these foods to special occasions rather than adding them into sandwiches and lunchboxes daily.
9. Veggie Burgers – most commercial veggie burgers have high processed soy and preservative. Ideally I recommend making your own burger patties (try out my beetroot carrot quinoa fritters and black bean and seed patties), or look for a better choice which contains wholefoods such as bean, legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds.
10. Vegan ice-cream – don’t be fooled by the vegan term thrown onto foods, especially when it comes to ice-cream! Vegan ice-cream is delicious (I too love it), but it most definitely is only a treat food as all the one’s I’ve come across so far are high in sugar, which is a shame, but it sure does make them taste good! Do be weary of other products labelled as vegan too, because a lot of them that I’ve seen are high in sugar or contain lots of processed soy (not good when wanting to balance hormones, support gut health, liver health and our overall health)!
Do you have any healthy swaps for these not-so-healthy foods? Let me know in the comments below. And if you make any of my recipes, be sure to share your thoughts about how they compare to their counterparts, and tag #NBnutrition @nataliebradynutrition so I can check them out, I love seeing your creations and connecting with you!
Hi I’m Natalie, a Registered Clinical Nutritionist, health influencer, blog writer & recipe creator. My own health complications prompted me to make positive diet & lifestyle changes, revitalize my health leading to a career change from the corporate world to nutritional medicine. I believe in a wholefoods approach to good health, focusing on simple strategies for modern, busy people.