9 Not-So-Healthy “Health Foods” To Avoid

By: Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND

Unfortunately there are many packaged foods that are marketed as healthy when in fact they are just as unhealthy as the other so-called junk foods. Junk food companies understand that there has been a big swing in food consumerism towards healthier foods, so they want a piece of that pie. So now, many food companies are working on selling many food products under the disguise of being healthy when they are full of artificial ingredients and empty calories. Ideally they want people to buy these foods and eat A LOT of it under the pretense that they CAN because it’s ‘healthy’!

Catch phrases and packaging slogans often used are:
Less saturated fat, fat-free, gluten-free, diet, low GI, high in fiber, cholesterol free, wholegrain, high energy (like you’re going to be jumping out of your skin with good health after you consume this) and much more.

Don’t be fooled by these common foods that claim to be healthy for you.

9 Not So Healthy ‘Health Foods’ To Avoid:

  1. Breakfast Cereals & Bars
    There are lots of ways food company’s market cereal as a healthy option when in-fact it is NOT. The words high in fiber, gluten-free, high in iron and calcium and low GI. Many people associate breakfast cereals with high-fiber when in fact fruits and vegetables contain much more.They are normally loaded with sugar, hydrogenated oils, and synthetic minerals with the most un-absorbable forms such as oxides. Many of the nutrients are destroyed in the processing to create that crunchy flake.It’s so easy to make your own breakfast cereal and you know exactly what’s in it! Here’s more info and Reasons to Make Your Own Breakfast Cereal.
  1. Trail Mixes
    Pre-bought trail mixes can contain deep fried banana chips, sugary yogurt covered raisins, processed hydrogenated chocolate nut balls. It’s better to make your own healthy mixes or choose ones that are completely natural.Here’s a recipe for a homemade, delicious Trail Mix that Joe Cross uses as Hiking Fuel.
  1. Protein and Health Bars
    These are normally candy bars in disguise. These bars often contain artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives, emulsifiers, sugar and vegetable fats and hydrogenated oils. There is often SO much rubbish in these bars it often looks like a science experiment! You can find some good bars and it’s important to get familiar with the ingredient list and make sure it’s all whole food only.Here are some great homemade easy bars and balls: Cacao Mint Bliss Balls, Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Balls, Almond Butter Berry Granola Bars and Homemade Muesli Bars.
  1. Sports Drinks
    Athletes drink sports drinks and so should you! This is often the common belief. But the truth is most of these drinks are a sugar-and-salt-loaded-synthetic-artificial-colored-nightmare including vitamin waters.Drink fresh juices and coconut water instead to replenish your electrolytes.
  1. ‘Healthy’ Bread
    Many breads have a nightmare ingredient list. Even when they are advertised as being a healthy whole grain bread, they are often highly processed with a large content of refined flour, sugar, synthetic vitamins, hydrogenated processed oils, preservatives with artificial colour so they appear to be healthier.Make your own OR choose one with a very simple short ingredient list, like those that are sprouted. 
  1. Foods Advertised as Containing ‘Less Saturated Fat’
    These products are still fried or baked with highly processed vegetable oils that are often hydrogenated, bleached and chemically processed, vegetable oils that are often used are GMO canola, cottonseed and soybean oils. Often these foods are mixed in with highly refined white flour and covered in MSG and other additives and sold off as healthy alternatives. Yuk!You don’t need to say no to all saturated fat, but just choose your snacks wisely and aim for high quality fat that you find in coconut oil and nuts. 
  1. Fat-free Snacks
    These are normally loaded with sugar, MSG and salt to replace the loss of the fat. These foods often create a surge in blood sugar levels and cause energy flags and instant cravings for more food. Perfect so you will now eat more, food manufacturers love that!Enjoy snacks that are made from whole, real foods and have nothing stripped from them. Here are some of our fabulous Reboot snacks.
  1. Flavored Low-Fat Dairy Products
    Low -fat dairy products are normally marketed as ‘low fat’ but they contain a large amount of sugar and additives such as frozen yogurts, regular flavored yogurt, cream cheeses etc.If you choose dairy it’s important to avoid flavors and stick with 100% natural and organic if possible. 
  1. Gluten-free Snacks
    Just because it states ‘gluten free’ certainly doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Often these products use highly refined flours and plenty of additives to provide a nice texture that resembles regular bread and biscuits. When following a gluten-free plan it’s better to consume unprocessed gluten free wholefoods. Here are a list of alternatives to gluten containing grains.

TIP OF THE DAY: Most foods should have a very short ingredient list IF AT ALL. Every ingredient should be something you recognize and would store in your own kitchen. Even wholefood health stores can keep junk food that is in the disguise of healthy food. It’s very important to get familiar with all ingredient lists for your health and your families health.

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Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND

Claire Georgiou is an Australian Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist who has completed a Bachelor of Health Science (Compl. Medicine) and an Advanced Diploma of Nutrition, Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine. She has more than 14 years of clinical experience specializing in liver disease, autoimmune disease, thyroid conditions, diabetes, insulin resistance, digestive disorders, chronic infections, children’s health, fertility and pregnancy care. Claire consults in private practice in Sydney and also offers consults out of area and is an accredited member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. Claire has worked closely for many years with Dr. Sandra Cabot, who is known as the “Liver Cleansing Doctor” and has written more than 25 health related books. Claire writes health related articles, creates healthy recipes and is one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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