"Healthy" unhealthy foods

Are these healthy or unhealthy foods?

Have you ever walked down the supermarket isle and saw something advertised as “healthy” and thought, wow that looks great! With the awareness of the importance of good nutrition on the rise, it’s not surprising to see manufactures starting to add healthy ingredients like Omega-3, reducing unhealthy ones like trans-fats, and advertising that plainly on the package. Unfortunately, there is usually more to the supposedly healthy food than the package tells you in capital letters with highlights.


There are good and bad calories and tons of hidden unhealthy ingredients.
( Learn to count good and bad calories here:
Learning to spot unhealthy foods: A killer oatmeal cookie)

If we start reading the fine print on products we might discover…..

The Hidden Ingredients that make healthy food unhealthy:

  • Aspartame
    Many diet products contain aspartame, a highly controversial artificial sweetener acting as excitotoxin to the brain in the experiments on rats and mice1. If the yogurt says “no aspartame”, watch for “natural flavors” and “maltodextrin.”
  • Too much sugar
    prevalent in many canned goods as well as energy drinks. You could find it even in soy milk in a wholly unhealthy, whopping combination: maltodexrin, corn syrup solids, cane sugar, fructose, rice malt (See picture below). Some people think cane sugar is a healthy option here. It is certainly better than the next one in the list – high-fructose corn syrup, but it is still sugar.
  • Corn sweetener / High-Fructose corn syrup
    too much of this can contribute to higher cholesterol or blood sugar levels. By the way, “nearly all simple sugars are metabolized quickly and disrupt insulin levels, which contributes to most chronic illness”, says Dr. Mercola. “Today, 55 percent of sweeteners used commercially are made from corn.”
  • MSG
    it’s everywhere, even in unexpected places like soy milk. I could rarely find a product not having "natural flavor" listed on the label. Some soy milk brands come with a mix of different MSGs, such as natural flavor, carrageenan. unhealthy soy milk

    Compare this to Soy milk #2: unhealthy soy milk

  • Refined Grain
    no doubt all those vitamins listed on the package were added to your cereal. So were sugars, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavor and highly processed ingredients like refined grain. This category includes white rice and pasta too, and increases the chances of cardiovascular disease by as much as 30%
  • Saturated fats and trans fats
    the main contributor to “bad cholesterol” accountable for 72,000 to 228,000 heart attacks per year in the US2. Those nice buttery crackers and pretzels with "Zero trans fats" may, in fact, still contain them – FDA rules allow not to report them when their amount is lower than 0.5%.
  • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
    What’s wrong with vegetable oils? The hydrogenation that is supposed to increase shelf life of product is also what makes them dangerous for your cardiovascular system: heart and arteries.
  • Salt
    Products with health claims often contain unhealthy doses of sodium. Even if the package lists medium 200-400 mg of sodium per serving, you still should do the math by yourself. How many servings would you eat? Daily sodium intake of an adult should be lower than 1,500 mg, and one slice of pizza contains 118% percent of your recommended daily value.

Healthy looking unhealthy foods:

Once you know the ingredients to watch, start learning about sneaky unhealthy foods. These are products you’ve always thought were healthy, but really aren’t that great. Most people know that processed foods are high in preservatives, coloring and other chemicals, but who would think that a granola bar would make it into the unhealthy food list? Many mass produced granola bars come covered in chocolate or filled with other sweets that pretty much undermine all the good healthy content they might have had.

It’s very rare to see a label with a short list like this:

healthy yogurt nutritional label

In this case you can believe the statement: “No preservatives.” Wonder what product is that? Plain yogurt, Balkan style. How often do you buy it?

What are your choices?

  1. Buy only from known healthy food brands
  2. Get a second degree in Reading Nutritional Labels.
  3. Become a biochemist and understand what’s inside the package.
  4. Print healthy and unhealthy food list and read it before you go to bed every day

    Sounds radical? Obviously you’re not going to go THAT far.. The key is to shop and live mindfully. Over time you’ll educate yourself on what’s best to buy - or implement a more radical approach. The approach your great-grandma likely used, unless she was a duchess or a queen….. The lost art that saves you from many diseases:


To avoid being at peril from a manufacturer’s ingredients, cook from scratch!

Healthy cooking from scratch

Even as healthy food undergoes processing, it loses its nutritional value. Moreover, the chemicals used in the processing make it detrimental to your health. They are needed for longer storage, more exciting taste, and more convenient packaging - but not for you.

What if you have no time to learn all the regulations and impacts of the ingredients in your processed food on your health? Your life cannot be spent on learn the ins and outs of food chemistry and manufacturing processes?

The answer is... Spend your time cooking.

Cooking from scratch is a necessity for eating healthy. It uses your time smartly – instead of reading labels, and referring to the long list of MSG, sweeteners, bad fats, good fats – you shop quickly, buying only wholesome ingredients. No more nutrition label pronunciation lessons required, only a healthy shopping list.

It's safer. It is a creative process. it allows you more control over your body - and your life. You are in control of what you eat – and since you are what you eat, you are in control of your health and wellbeing.

Please check out Healthy and unhealthy food definiton and come back for more.


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