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Foods People THINK are Healthy but are NOT

Most people understand the importance of healthy eating if theyunhealthy health foods want to look good and feel good. The problem is there is a knowledge gap among many people when it comes to understanding what foods are healthy.

The following are some common foods and beverages that people believe are healthy, when in fact they are not healthy.


Breakfast Cereals. Breakfast cereals
may be quick, and many taste good, but most are horribleunhealthy cereals for your health

The downside: Most breakfast
cereals are often high in glycemic index and salt and their vitamin/mineral content is chemical based. Drop that spoon.

If you can’t resist: Opt for cereals with LESS processed sugars. Do realize though, that not all low sugar cereals will be healthier than their full-sugar counterparts. When you pick up a box of cereal, read the ingredients list. Try to select cereals listing whole-grain wheat, whole oats or wheat bran as the first ingredient. Whole-grain cereals will have more fiber. These are the healthiest cereals because they stabilize the body’s sugar-control system, reducing the incidence of metabolic syndrome,Type 2 diabetes and lower the risk to heart disease. Also look for cereals that are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Look for cereals fortified with B-vitamins, zinc and iron, as well as a high amount of vitamin C because it aids in iron’s absorption. Good examples include: Kellogg’s Complete Wheat Bran Flakes, Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats, and Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal. Of course there are many more. Just read the labels and choose wisely.

Healthy eating alternative: non-processed cereals like bran, or no sugar added oatmoatmealeal. Everyone knows how healthy non-processed cereals like bran cereals are; since they contain lots of fiber (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 grams of
fiber). To improve the taste and add variety you can cut up small pieces of high fiber fruit like, apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes and easily reach your recommended daily amount of fiber before you even leave the house!

If you do not like the taste of bran try a steaming bowl of fresh cooked oatmeal.  Oatmeal contains several important vitamins, minerals, antioxidant, heart healthy fiber, and a wide variety of additional nutrients a important to good health. Oatmeal has shown to be beneficial in reducing  risk to several cancersType 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, heart disease , heart attack and stroke. Higher intakes of
whole grains like oatmeal also increase
insulin sensitivity by lowering the glycemic index. The soluble fiber slows also down the digestion of starch which keeps blood sugar steady and reduces the risk for Type 2 diabetes. Oats are also a very good source of several antioxidants, reducing the risk to
several diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and for cancer, especially
colon cancer and breast cancer.

Bran Muffins. Many people reach for a bran muffin believing that a bran muffin is healthy and palarge_muffinrt of a nutritious breakfast.

The downside: Most bran muffins contain little bran. Additionally many muffins today are HUGE. Years ago, one muffin was approximately 150, 3 to 5 grams of fat and about the size of tennis ball. Today, muffins are supersized! It is not uncommon for a muffin to be 350 to 450 calories, with 15 to 20- grams of fat.  They also contain little to no protein. Protein is important to body functions and it also helps increase insulin sensitivity by lowering the glycemic index of the meal, and increase fullness.

If you can’t resist: Stick to muffins that are of normal size (or split one with someone). Choose a muffin that has 5 or more grams of fiber, less than 200 calories per serving and no more than 5 grams of fat or added sugars. Opt for muffins with a short ingredient list, made from whole grain flour, corn meal or bran.

Healthy alternative: Try a whole-grain English muffin.

Bagel with Cream Cheese. Many people grab a bagel, often with cream cheese or jam in thebagels-and-cream-cheese morning. This may be easy and quick, but definitely not healthy.

The downside: Most also contain processed white flour, and simple carbohydrates that will convert quickly to sugar once in your body. They also contain little nutrition and barely any protein. A bagel with cream cheese can top the calorie charts at approximately 500-700 calories and
can contain upwards of 40 grams of fat! The bread is bad enough, containing 300 calories and 60 grams of carbohydrates, but add a healthy serving of cream cheese and your “harmless” bagel weighs in as worse than a Whopper.

If you can’t resist: If you must have a bagel, look for bagels made from whole grains where possible. This would make a slightly better choice, as the added fiber would help slow down the breakdown from starch to sugar. Eat half the bagel and top it with an egg white omelet or some tuna or white fish. This swap will save you nearly 200 calories, plus provide a surge of metabolism-boosting protein. Note: most bagel chains “whole wheat” bagels, are anything but whole wheat. Most “whole wheat” bagels are mostly white flour with a little whole wheat thrown in.

Healthy alternative: Skip the bagel and have a egg white omelet.  This swap will save you nearly 300 calories, plus provide a surge of metabolism-boosting protein.

Store Bought Sandwiches. Most store bought sandwiches are anythinsubway-sandwichg but healthy. Even sandwiches labeled as healthy, can contain more calories and more fat than a fast food hamburger.

The downside: Most store bought
sandwiches contain highly processed luncheon meets (see below) that are full of preservatives. They also often  contain sugar-laden salad dressings, little veggies and proteins and too much white bread. The freshness is questionable and you need the foot-long to fill your stomach. The large amount of processed white bread and small serving of
protein causes a surge in blood sugar. Because the protein serving is usually small, it does little to lower blood sugar and increase satiety (fullness) levels.

If you can’t resist: Look for sandwiches that are fresh, little to no preservatives, low fat dressings (e.g., mustard instead of mayo, or vinaigrette with healthy oils), and containing a healthy serving of low fat protein (e.g., fresh turkey breast).

Healthy alternative: Make your own healthy sandwiches with a healthy serving of low fat protein and healthy serving of vegetables.

Article continued here.

About the Author, Jeff Behar

Jeff Behar, MS, MBA is a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, regularly writing about hot topics in the areas of health, fitness, disease prevention, weight loss, nutrition, anti aging and alternative medicine. Jeff Behar’s work also often appears in several of the major health and fitness newsletters, health and fitness magazines, and on major health, fitness and  weight loss websites. Jeff Behar is also the CEO of, and; two very popular health, fitness, disease prevention, weight loss, nutrition and anti aging information sites.


July 22, 2009 - Posted by | Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss | , , ,

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