No Calories Means Healthy, Right?—Wrong!

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Avoiding Those Tricky “Healthier” Options

Have you been considering improving your overall health and wellness? Did you try exercising but only saw minimal results? Instead of walking it out on the treadmill, start by walking toward your refrigerator!

A well-balanced diet is an essential part of any health goal you set for yourself, but not all foods are what they seem! I’ve come up with a list of food that can easily be mistaken as healthy, as well as advice on how to avoid them.

The Good, the Whole, the All-Natural Food

What is all-natural? A seemingly simple question, with a highly debated answer. In short, the FDA has not developed a definitive definition for all natural foods, preventing us from being able to tell what is actually all natural or processed. The only restrictive use of the term is that the food cannot contain artificial flavors, added colors or synthetic substances.

To ensure that you are buying the right food for your needs, check all of the nutritional facts posted on the back or side of the packaging. Make sure that all ingredients are natural and watch out for wording like vitamin boost. Those are unnatural ingredients present in many juices!

Don’t fall for the front label’s tricks!

Maybe Too Much Multi in Multigrain

You picked the multigrain bread at the sandwich shop because you figured it had to be better than the white bread, right? Unfortunately, no! Multigrain has fewer nutrients and fiber than you probably expected it to have.

Multigrain is present in most gluten-filled food as a healthier alternative, but don’t be fooled by this. The process to produce multigrains actually extracts most of the nutrition commonly found in whole grains during refinement. Instead, place your lunch meat or peanut butter and jelly on whole-wheat bread, and rest assured, you’ll be eating all the hearty goodness Mother Earth intended.

No Sugar Added? Sugar-Free? No, Thank You!

The phrase that every dieter loves to see when picking out sweeter foods is sugar-free. You feel like you hit the diet jackpot! Sadly, this isn’t the case. Foods that are sugar-free but still taste sweet typically have stimulant ingredients added. The most common alternative is Maltitol.

Maltitol is an artificially produced sweetener that is used as a substitute for sugar. It possess the same sugary taste and blends well with other ingredients. Additionally, Maltitol is on the high-end of the glycemic index along with regular sugar and can cause intestinal problems. So, is it “sugar-free” after all? The signs would point to no.

Check your labels carefully—you’ll be surprised that sugar-free can be just as bad as the non-free stuff.

No-Risk Diet Soda

Sodas are a refreshing choice for a majority of us—myself included—who just need some fizz to get through the day. According to Gallup, over half of the population drinks soda on a regular basis. Soft drinks, whether diet or regular, are not a nutritional beverage, and if consumed in large quantities, can lead to an overall decline in your health.

Wait a second— isn’t diet soda marketed as a better choice over regular soda? Not according to science!

Harvard Medical School found links to kidney problems in more than 3,000 women who participated in an 11-year study on soda. The researchers contended that the women who consumed diet soda over the period of the study had an increased risk for kidney failure over those drank regular sugar-sweetened soda. What does that mean? Diet soda might actually be worse for you due to their artificial ingredients.

Don’t take the risk—protect your body from harmful chemicals and artificial ingredients. Try the following soda alternative instead!

Juice and Seltzer Water: Mix one part of your favorite juice with three parts seltzer water, shake well and enjoy.

Tips on Reading Nutrition Labels:

  • Serving sizes are often times very small portions, making food seem healthier. Check to see what the serving size is before purchasing. You could end up consuming more calories and sugar than you thought. 
  • The number of calories per serving is an important factor if you’re trying to limit your intake.
  • Try finding products with lower amounts of trans fat.
  • The ingredients are listed according to weight, so the first item is usually the most used item. Here is a good place to see if there are any added sugars and whole grains, not wheat flour.
  • Labels will not differentiate between natural or added sugar. This is where the ingredients list comes in handy! Avoid high-fructose corn syrup.

Do you have more tricky health foods to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below or email us your own blog to share!

The best thing you can do to help yourself is to heal yourself. Find and book an appointment with a wellness or fitness center through!

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