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Foods that Are Not as Healthy as You Might Think

You may have read Dr Seuss' Red Fish Blue Fish, but did you ever ask yourself how they got to be that color? Never mind the green eggs and ham.

I bet, like many, you have fallen pray to food advertising. There are lots of commercials on TV that are meant to give us the impression that certain foods are good for us, good for weight loss, all natural, organic or healthy in some way. The truth is, there are few guidelines for what manufacturers can call "good."

You need to read the freakin' label (RTFL)! It is not about calories as much as it is about ingredients.

I just want to say I am not a health food or organic fanatic, however; when you get to be my age, some of the wear-and-tear of unhealthy food consumption becomes more apparent.

Here is my list of foods I thought were going to help me lose weight, get healthy and look like Arnold.

Breakfast Cereals: Cereals that are made from whole grains are the best. Even some of those have sugar, salt and  chemically based minerals.

I prefer to make my own breakfast sandwich; Whole wheat mini-begal, a poached egg and a piece of salmon with a slice of cheese. I also eat a few cups of Kashi brand cereal each week for the high fiber - because fiber makes me more manly in the men's locker room.

Yogurt: There are so many choices it's mind boggling. First, non-Greek yogurts are not as healthy as Greek yogurts. Second, many of the no- or low-fat ones are loaded with sugar, and they toss in a little fruit to make you feel good about eating it.

My favorite is plain Greek yogurt; it's an acquired taste. I use it in place of sour cream, and I add my own fresh or frozen fruit, granola, or a squirt of lemon or lime juice.

Even among the better known brands such as Chobani and Fage, you still need to RTFLl! Beware, the other yogurt manufacturers are getting in on the deal, and it is harder to make good choices.

One question, when was key lime pie or cheesecake healthy? When it was yogurt! Right.

Bread: Whole grain or whole wheat really means almost nothing on a package. Dark bread can still  contain trans-fats and carbs, which; can keep you from obtaining your weight loss goals.

I like Ezekiel bread, but I limit to a few slices a week if that. I also eat whole wheat mini bagels and Joseph's flax & oat pitas.

Sandwiches: It is hard to make a healthy sandwich. As I already stated, too much bread, even the good stuff is not the best use of your calories. Add to that processed meats such as turkey, ham, and other cold cuts, along with dressings, and the potential for disaster awaits. If you are going to have sandwiches, think half, and find a soup or suitable nutritious companion.

You can substitute Greek yogurt with a little vinegar for mayo, and hummus or goat cheese make great spreads. Then plop on some spinach instead of lettuce, a little tomato and onion... aren't' you hungry?

Fruit Juice: Can you say added sugars? Many, with the exception of pulp retained juice (which I think has a weird texture), offer a fraction of the value of the real fruit!

Water is your friend!

Frozen Diet Meals: I find nothing wrong with frozen fruit and vegetables. It is the dinners from the diet chains and so called "lean meals". First, most are filled with sodium. They may be 400 calories, but they lack whole grains, and many have processed meat and the wrong sort of carbs.

It's best to cook and freeze leftovers that you have carefully chosen the ingredients for.

Sports/Energy Drinks: Caffeine, sugar, and possibly some electrolytes, but not much else. It is best to fuel up for your workouts with some carbs, and replenish your body with protein when you are done. (Some folks say carbs after - no argument with me).

If you are a long distance runner or bicyclist, there are some other considerations, just not your average sports and energy drinks.

Fast Food Salads: High calorie dressings; many with sugar, croutons made with white flour and poor quality vegetables and even fried chicken - diet ouch! You are probably better off ordering a double cheeseburger!

Granola/Protein Bars: Good granola bars consist of healthy oats and sometimes nuts. The problem is what they are held together with. Some bars even contain chocolate chips which makes it a candy bar.

Cheese: This is another one that can make or break your weight loss. There are some cheeses that are low in fat, and low in sodium. Goat cheese is probably the best choice. Again RTFL!

I can assure you that Cheez-Its are not on my list!

Diet Soda: They contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Just do a little Googling.

Water is great, and sparkling water with a twist of citrus or other fruit can make it a little more interesting. My friend at work drinks it with cucumber and mint.

OK, so what are you eating that you are certain is good for you?

As always, I am humbled by the votes and comments.

Friends and friend requests are the life blood of MFP, so send one if you like.

And if you are looking for super foods, HERE is my list!

131 votes + -

33 comments:

itsanot wrote 102 months ago:
Fish, lots of fish!! I have it several times a week! Not that my diary is good cause I'm a carb junkie but I do try to limit it!!
Hungry_Tuna wrote 102 months ago:
Excellent post my friend. I'm sticking to clean eating as MUCH as possible. While there are times I do indulge in veggie burgers (organic Sunshine burgers: http://www.sunshineburger.com/) which do better than most of the conventional veggie burger brands out there. (SUPER PROCESSED!!) Anyway, I'm guilty of those and OLE XTREME WELLNESS, HIGH FIBER, LOW CARB TORTILLA WRAPS. The rest of the foods in my diary are pretty damn good. I'm working on making my own nonfat greek yogurt by a method my Bulgarian coworker told me about (She grew up on a farm in the old country)... Other than that, I do my best to keep to the basics.

Great post my friend. Many are still in the dark about what is actually healthy versus what is marketed as healthy.

The foods I eat aren't advertised.
Hungry_Tuna wrote 102 months ago:
Did I say what a great post this was? ...my friend? LOL! You rock, that's all I've gotta say!
BrittSwimsJDRF wrote 102 months ago:
Thanks for this. What are your recommendations for food after a long run (say longer than 90 minutes)?
cessnaholly wrote 102 months ago:
Food for thought. Thanks for sharing.
Hoppymom wrote 102 months ago:
Nailed it again sir! I find that when I make sandwiches on the new sandwich thins it is enoug hot fill me up and hold my fixin's. The multi-grain is great and offers whole grains and fiber with out a tom of bulky bread. They are a once or twice a week treat for me recently. Great advice overall.
Keep 'em comin'.
76wendyful wrote 102 months ago:
This is hard to take in as a newbie, you look for all of those things, low fat, fat free, lean, etc...and think you are doing good for yourself. I am guilty. I like convenience and I am not really at home in the kitchen, so I am scared of trying new things. I will get better with this. Thanks for the post!
tnrown87 wrote 102 months ago:
Great post back in '05 I gained weight drinking powerades and gatorades!!!
H_Factor wrote 102 months ago:
great read and super informative. in related news, rice cakes also are not great for you.
bevsdietfor2011 wrote 102 months ago:
Again this is an awesome post!!! I have been trying to read labels more but I have to admit that my downfall is....Cinnamon toast Crunch cereal!!!! I have cut way back on eating it too though. Keep the posts coming cause we all love them!!! You got my vote!!!!
CharityEaton wrote 102 months ago:
I love your posts!
I make my own bread. I use half white flour and half whole wheat flour(because I have a very picky daughter and we are slowly transitioning her over to 100% whole wheat). I use REAL (unsalted) butter in the bread and I make it with good old water instead of milk. I am then able to slice it to my desired thickness(pretty thin actually) which makes it less calories. It is the best bread ever.
There are a few other things we do to be healthier too like eating fresh fruits and veggies as much as possible and making as much homemade things as we can.
LuciaLongIsland wrote 102 months ago:
I am trying to eat super Foods suggested by Skinny Ms. Grapefruit, garlic, avocado,, strawberry, wheat germ, to name a few. I don't know if these are truly super but they are helping me.
kaetmarie wrote 102 months ago:
love this!
SmexAppeal wrote 102 months ago:
I will definitely be subscribing to your blog and adding you as a friend. Very good information you have provided. Some of it I knew, some of it was new. Looking forward to some more information to continue my weight loss efforts. Right now my good for me food is GrapeFruit. I forgot how much I like it!! And for the most part I don't put anything on it, but if I do I try to go for the honey (from our friends who own their own little honey farm, not much processing). Again, thanks for the great blog!
Nettabee wrote 102 months ago:
I too am guilty of the "healthy forzen dinner" for lunch when I forget to pack my own.....their sodium content is WAY too high to be remotely healthy...yuck!
czechsmate wrote 102 months ago:
Guilty of low fat string cheese...almost a daily snack, non-fat greek yogurt, deli turkey breast. I hardly drink juice anymore..eat the fruit instead. I drink water all day with a wedge each of lemon and lime. Great read, thank you!
Jennicia wrote 102 months ago:
THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION! I am guilty of the yogurt in the raspberry cheesecake flavor and I eat way too much cheese. this week i vowed to work on decreasing my dairy/cheese intake. great post!
odditblue wrote 102 months ago:
RTFL! Love it! =)
kmacgera wrote 102 months ago:
My target diet is rabbit food, Ezekiel bread, fruits, oatmeal, eggs, beans (love 'em), broccoli, spinach, kale, peanut butter, nuts, tofu and chicken.

To replace pigging out in between major meals, I'm having protein shakes. 5-6 small meals a day.

Drinking enough is a chore, so I mix it up with water, tea, lemon & stevia, and isagenix drinks.

Yogurt, cheese, red wine and cocoa on the occasion.

Weakness for chocolate & ice cream, so what else is new? :)
bllowry wrote 102 months ago:
I have food allergies, so I try to not buy anything processed at all, and I'm slowly weaning the hubby off luncheon meats by making spreads (using plain greek youghurt). I'm actually allergic to citrus (gives me internal hives, yuk)and so much is used in everything. I am guilty of low fat string cheese and you will only get my 72% cocoa dark chocolate when you pry it from my cold dead hands!
skinnyme47 wrote 102 months ago:
Great! :D
Just_Dot wrote 102 months ago:
As a lover of all things Seuss, it's S-E-U-S-S. =)
dsjohndrow wrote 102 months ago:
I knew that.
Supercatie80 wrote 102 months ago:
Bananas and Mandarin Oranges. I go through an entire bag of Mandarins in a week sometimes. Also, been drinking Kefir (basically drinkable yogurt) in the mornings. This does have some sugar in it but I don't think it's a detrimental amount.
edmoulaison wrote 102 months ago:
Great info. Thanks...
rinnismom wrote 102 months ago:
i'm guilty of not RTFL. i guess i need to find a site that can teach me what i'm looking at. wonderful post!
Raine7 wrote 102 months ago:
Love this! I am an offender. However I am working on it. Rule of thumb, if you dont know what the ingedient is dont eat it!
felicity866 wrote 102 months ago:
unprocessed whole foods all the way....with water, water and more water!!! so many just don't RTFL!! pass on the green eggs and ham...haha
libland wrote 102 months ago:
I buy very few things where I am able to RTFL because the items don't have labels (produce, meat, fish). This balances out my guilty pleasures of cheese and chocolate. Most of my chocolate is in the form of cocoa powder - who knew it had 2 fibers per serving (bonus). Cheese I measure now, which I never used to do. And I NEVER eat cheeze-its :-)
masterpippin wrote 102 months ago:
This is helpful and some things I already knew but one day I thought I was having a healthy snack/lunch of seedless grapes, wheat crackers and sharp cheese. Wow, the calories and fat in cheese blew my mind and it wasn't even enough to fill me. I found that eating a giant salad gave me enough sustenance to feel full and not use up all my alotted calories, carbs and fats. I stay away from the breads but I do add seeds, garbanzo beans, avacado and a little feta cheese and still end up better. I am using olive oil and vinegar as dressing.
Amalbp wrote 102 months ago:
Awesome!!!!

I pretty much shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or a few other small health food stores in the area. If you are shopping there, its pretty much a no brainer, you're not going to get chemicals in your foods. It takes the fear factor out of it. That doesn't mean though that the foods they sell will be fat free or low in calories, or won't have large amounts salt and sugar. It's just not going to be refined and they aren't going to use fake sweeteners, which are terrible. A few years back a study proved that the ingredients in diet soda mixed with your enzymes, chemically formulated into FORMALDEHYDE!!! Yeah, pretty scary.
If it comes from mother nature, it was put here by God for you to eat. If it doesn't come from mother nature, then you probably shouldn't be eating it. That doesn't mean genetically modified, that means, grown the way it should be. Just because it looks like a tomato, doesn't necessarily mean it is a tomato, unfortunately.
mtroxler2 wrote 102 months ago:
Great post!! Thanks for the information. I have a LOT of work to do... *sigh*
determinedinAZ wrote 102 months ago:
Thanks for the post!

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