Healthy Foods That Aren’t, Part 1

This post started as a quick list of 5 foods.  Then the list grew, and grew, and grew.  Now it’s part 1.  There will be more…

Granola

Long the breakfast food of choice for “health conscious types, granola comes in many varieties.  Most promise healthy goodness in the form of whole grains, fiber, and organic “all natural” ingredients.  Unfortunately, they’re essentially the same as any other breakfast cereal: various grains covered in sugar.  One half cup serving Kashi Granola Mountain Medley contains 38 grams of carbs and 12 grams of sugar – hardly a physique friendly option.  I’m sure there are others out there with slightly better stats, but still… you’re basically eating a bowl of frosted flakes.

Kashi Granola Mountain Medley

Smoothies

Nothing like a trip to Jamba Juice for a quick, healthy meal (or snack) right?   Can’t go wrong with 3 whole servings of fruits and veggies in blended form!  Nevermind that you’d be hard pressed to find a size small with less that 50 grams of sugar – even the no sugar added “All Fruit” varieties.  Are you kidding?  As most of us should be consuming fewer than 100 grams of carbs per day (if you care about seeing your abdominals anyway), that’s getting you about half of the way there in one beverage.  Steer clear.  (homemade smoothies excluded – you can make these healthy if you do it right.  Think protein powder, fruit, and sugar-free Greek yogurt)

Jamba Juice Smoothie

Wraps

Want a sandwich, but can’t eat bread?  Have a wrap!  Look how thin the bread is!  Way thinner!  I thought this reasoning was great for a while, until I looked at the nutrition facts.  It’s like the took a loaf of bread and smooshed it flat, then called it a wrap and crowned it a health food.  Most wraps contain as many, if not more, grams of carbs than two slices of bread.  They’re just flatter.  Of course, if you’re really creative you can make your wraps out of alternative flours like almond or coconut, but I’m not really that creative.

Chicken Wrap

Fruit Juice

Fruit is good for you.  You can squeeze lots of tasty juice of of fruits.  Therefore juice must be good for you too!  Well, sorta.  A little.  OK, not really at all.  Yes, fruit juice does contain many (although not all) of the healthy vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals found in fruits.  Unfortunately, by removing the part you chew, you’re concentrating all the sugar.  As a result, one serving of fruit juice contains far more sugar than a serving of the original fruit.  Every thought about how many apples it takes to make a glass of apple juice?  It isn’t just one.  So every time you have a refreshing glass of fruit juice, you’re getting the concentrated sugar of several servings of fruit, devoid of any fiber to slow down the digestive process.  Hello insulin spike.

Whole Grain Products

Arguably the biggest conspiracy in nutrition, “whole wheat” has become a rallying cry for “health conscious” bread-lovers everywhere.  “It’s healthy because they leave more of the good parts in it!”  (the cereal germ and bran of the grain, to be precise) You can get whole wheat everything: bread, bagels, english muffins, even doughnuts and cupcakes.  Is it better than white flour?  Yes.  Does that make it healthy?  No.  We’re talking about the tiniest of tiny bits better.  Definitely still on the “to be avoided” list.