Every day people diet based on what they think is healthy. For instance, when we get dessert in the dining hall, we begrudgingly opt for the yogurt and granola option over the mint chocolate chip ice cream. However, sometimes the choices we make, stemmed from our attempt to be healthy, are not as beneficial to our bodies as we might think.
This is not to say that granola is as bad as mint chocolate chip ice cream because it’s certainly not! Nevertheless, granola, multigrain bread, dried fruit, fruit juice and veggie burgers are just a few of the foods we indulge in because of their assumed healthy benefits. What we don’t realize is that these foods can in some ways be worse for us (for instance, if we over-consume these types of food).
Many people assume that replacing regular cereal with granola, and white bread with multigrain bread, will save them many calories, along with a few inches on their waistline. Granola, while full of nuts and grains that are beneficial for your body, also contains tons of oil and sugar. The oil helps preserve the granola, while the sugar is what makes it particularly tasty. However, this sweet tinge makes granola about twice as unhealthy as some regularly packaged cereals according to Cosmopolitan Magazine. The belief that multigrain bread is healthier is a product of the same form of deception.
Multigrain bread is advertised as being so healthy, you almost feel proud of yourself for eating it. However, many still object to eating it because the soft, smoothness of white Wonder Bread is more enticing. As a result of pleasing the public, makers of multigrain bread pulverize the bread to a pulp to create that same desired consistency. But this results in beating out the fiber and nutritious value of the grain! End result: you’re really not doing your body that big of a favor for switching from that yummy, delicious white bread.
Foods whose title contains the word “fruit,” are often assumed to be healthy strictly because of the mention of the word “fruit”. Fruit juice is one of the biggest culprits in the healthy, unhealthy food dilemma. Even juice that is 100% fruit juice, contains much more sugar than one may have bargained for when debating whether to purchase it. The amount of fructose contained in juice is in some cases equivalent to three-fourths of a cup of sugar. Dried fruit also is worse for your waistline than most realize. When fruit is dehydrated, it condenses, which causes all of the sugar that was originally in, for instance, a grape to be deposited in something the size of a raisin, or an entire plum to then be concentrated into something the size of a prune. As a result, someone will eat five prunes, not realizing they are getting the sugar count of five plums.
People also assume that cutting meat from their diets helps their caloric intake. This is true in many ways. However, substituting a veggie burger for a meat burger is not always the healthiest alternative. Veggie burgers are often held together by cheese, butter, and/or oil which can make them extremely fattening. The condiments that are then added to the burger, as well as the reality that veggie burgers are often much larger than regular meat patties, make this seemingly healthy option still rather unhealthy.
Ultimately, there are forms of multigrain bread, veggie burgers, granola, and other things that are as healthy as they are expected to be. However, the unhealthy versions of these foods are often much more abundant and easy to find. When trying to make a healthy decision about what you consume, read the labels of the products you are buying. Look for items that advertise “whole” grain and veggie burgers held together with rice instead of cheese. Also, be sure to check the amount of sugar before consumption. An old Nickelodeon trick is to steer away from anything that rhymes with gross, i.e. fructose, sucrose, glucose.
– Jordan Hillier
Images courtesy of Cooking For Seven and Serious Eats
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