Your healthy food may be keeping you fat!

How? You may well wonder. Because the terms we commonly associate with better-for-you foods – “healthy”, “natural”, “organic”, etc. – are often as much marketing strategies as they are true product claim.

Educate yourself about real nutrition

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As consumers and persons concerned with our health, it is our responsibility to pay attention to what we eat.

Rather than believing product labels, billboard ads and other facts contrived for dollars and not sense, we need to learn to be our own advocates and food detectives. That means doing everything from reading nutrition labels to building our knowledge base about real nutrition.

And, in the interest of that knowledge, I am here to tell you today: do not eat these healthy foods.

Pre-Sliced Turkey

Turkey is generally a great choice for your protein since it is a naturally lean meat that is abundantly available. However, pre-packages sliced turkey is not so pure. While it is still low in fat and makes a great sandwich, it is no longer “just” turkey.

It’s processed turkey.

What this processing means varies by manufacturer, but may include the addition of chemical additives and preservatives that are harmful to your health.

Many varieties of pre-sliced deli meat are also incredibly high in sodium. One single serve of a particular brand of turkey contains 700mg, more than half the daily recommended amount!

Dried Fruit

Fruit is fruit, right? Wrong.

While a handful of raisins can be part of a good snack, especially when paired with raw nuts in a trail mix, eating them on their own is incredibly dangerous. Though dried fruit is fruit, the dehydration process, which removes all the water, also increases the sugar content teaspoon for teaspoon because it’s more condensed.

Thus, a single 50g serve of raisins contains more than three teaspoons of sugar.

Weight Loss Company Branded Foods

You would think that something made for and branded as an aid in “weight loss” would be healthy by definition.

Unfortunately that is not always the case. Aside from being more expensive and virtually the same as their non-branded counterparts, the ingredients these companies choose are based on total calories, not what is best for overall health.

In fact, a major weight loss company in Australia hit trouble for the inclusion of hydrogenated vegetable oils in some of its desserts.

Yoghurt

Yoghurt is one of my go-to foods for many of my weight loss recipes as well as a staple in my own home. However, the yoghurt I am talking about is the “boring” kind – low fat, high protein, plain yoghurt.

Outside of its natural state, processed yoghurt often contains a host of bad-for-you ingredients despite being a good-for-you food. Among the worst contenders is added sugar, preservatives, flavourings and fillers that are added to make a naturally tangy treat more appealing to the sugar-coated masses.

If you absolutely cannot stand the idea of eating plain yoghurt, I suggest adding your own, natural sweetener such as honey or stevia and sticking to brands that have less than 1.5g of saturated fat per serve.

Prepared Tofu

Tofu is another great food when consumed in its natural state and/or cooked and flavoured at home. On supermarket shelves, however, manufacturers have added everything from excess sodium to fillers and additives to make it taste “better” to meat eaters.

This is another purchase where label reading is an absolute must!

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Sandwich Bread

No I am not on the gluten-free train.

While those with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance must avoid bread for entirely different reasons, the majority of us don’t and shouldn’t shun good bread options.

Unfortunately, many of the pre-sliced sandwich-style breads on supermarket shelves are anything but – and I am not just talking about white bread, either. Indeed, even many “whole wheat” varieties contain a host of unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients including hydrogenated oils, white flour and even high fructose corn syrup!

White Potatoes

Potatoes are not inherently “bad”, since they are (at least) natural. However they are definitely a food best enjoyed only occasionally and in moderation.

Despite their earth roots, potatoes are not a vegetable, but rather a starch which converts into sugar at a frighteningly rapid rate. In fact, white potatoes (not sweet potatoes or yams, mind you) breakdown into sugar and get absorbed into the bloodstream, elevating blood sugar levels even faster than sugar itself because of the presence of starch.

In addition, the tendency we all have to cook or add butter and oil to our potatoes only adds unnecessary fat.

Read Before You Eat!

Now, you may be worried that you can never eat again before looking at a nutritional panel. Well, these days, you really shouldn’t. As I have just illustrated, even foods we inherently believe to be “healthy” may have hidden ingredients or additives.

So even if you think you know what it is, check.

But there are, of course, some things you can eat without reading any labels at all. That is, the foods that don’t have labels in the first place. Fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, pure, low-fat dairy and pure whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa, and barley) are all great alternatives to processed “health” foods that you can safely eat every day.

So, ignore the marketing jargon and the too-good-to-be-true health claims. Eat real food and read the labels on everything that’s not.

Your body, health and weight will all thank you.

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