Junk Food Disguised As Healthy Food

Junk Food Disguised As Healthy Food

You may try to eat healthy as much as you can and with so many healthy foods on the market it might seem easy. However, in-between actual nutritious products there are many choices that are just junk food disguised as healthy food using buzz words such as antioxidants, organic, natural, and fat-free. 

Find out how to navigate the good from the bad when it comes to your dietary choices and how to get on track without being tricked by advertising that is misleading.

The Deceiving Smoothie  

You may be shopping at a mall and suddenly hunger strikes. Rather than go for the salty pretzel or meat in a bun you saunter over to a healthy smoothie stand. However, what you walk away with may look and taste healthy but most commercial smoothies are loaded with so much sugar and dairy you may as well eat a candy bar. 

For example, a small ‘Jamba Juice Acai Super-Antioxidant’ contains: 

  • 4 grams of fat
  • 260 calories
  • 46 grams of sugar 

The ‘Peanut Butter Moo’d’ contains: 

  • 480 calories
  • 10 grams of fat
  • 72 grams of sugar

If you want a smoothie on the run, ask for the ingredients first. Many smoothie stands add ice-cream, sugary frozen yogurt, or just plain white sugar not to mention hormone loaded cow’s milk and processed peanut butter. Ask if you can create your own smoothie foregoing all the junk ingredients and just adding fruits and/or vegetables. The calories will still be high but you can avoid all the other unnecessary fats and sugars. Making a smoothie at home is always the best choice. 

Popular Protein Bars

The protein myth continues and for good reason. Corporations want you to think you’re not getting enough protein so you buy more meat, dairy, and protein infused products such as protein bars. In fact, it is very rare for a vegan or vegetarian to suffer from low protein yet protein bars are a huge deceiving money maker. 

SafeFoods reported in 2019 that, 

  • 38% of protein bars contain chocolate as the main ingredient
  • 77% are high in saturated fat
  • 1 in 3 people perceive protein bars as being “healthy”“

According to Dr. Catherine Conlon, Director of Human Health & Nutrition at SafeFood,

“Processed snack foods high in protein need to be combined with fat, sugar or salt in order to make them tasty. People would be better sticking to natural sources of protein in their diet, which tend to be much healthier. And if you need a source of protein as a snack, alternatives like some nuts, a small glass of milk or a yoghurt is the way to go instead of these foods with added chocolate.”

Look for the protein bar with the lowest amount of sugar and one that does not contain chocolate or other sugary ingredients such as drizzled icing, chocolate bits, or jam. 

Dried Fruit Foe

Dried fruit has long been an on-the-move snack that, along with nuts, would make a nutritious, energy boosting between-meal-grab. However, once added sugar, strong preservatives, and even dyes entered the shelf-life market, dried fruit became a junk food disguised as a former valid health food. 

According to the article, ‘Is Dried Fruit Just a Giant Sugar Bomb?’ by Time magazine, these were some of the comments from medical professionals, 

In response to a box of raisins containing 25 grams of sugar, dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrickof Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute said, 

“You just can’t justify the added stress on the body to process such large amounts of sugar at one time, or the inflammation roller coaster that occurs on a high-sugar diet,” 

David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center stated that, 

“When the native sugar of the fruit is combined with extra added sugar, you are now in the realm of candy,”

Add in sulfites and the potential for fungus contamination and eating these sugary dried fruits could pose some health risks. Instead, stick to organic dried fruits that contain no sulfites or other sugar or chemical additives. These will offer clean antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to make it healthy where healthy belongs, naturally.  

Fast Food Salads

Fast food restaurants try to offer a salad choice which is advertised as healthy when reality it is a tray of empty nutrition with high salt and sugar toppings. 

These are some examples of fast food salad nutrition as reported by the Huffington Post in 2019,

The Chicken Club Salad with Crispy Chicken, Croutons and Dressing at Jack in the Box

  • Calories: 827
  • Calories from fat: 500
  • Fat: 56 grams
  • Saturated fat: 13 grams
  • Trans fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 49 grams
  • Sodium: 1789 milligrams

The Chicken and Bacon Ranch Salad at Subway

  • Calories: 540
  • Calories from fat: 360
  • Fat: 40 grams
  • Saturated fat: 12 grams
  • Trans fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 15 grams
  • Sodium: 1,290 milligrams

The Spicy Caesar Chicken Salad at Wendy’s

  • Calories: 720
  • Calories from fat: 380
  • Fat: 42 grams
  • Saturated fat: 12 grams
  • Trans fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 44 grams
  • Sodium: 1,680 milligrams

For a healthy fast food salad choose the one that only contains vegetables and no meat or cheese. Next, use the least unhealthy dressing that does not contain dairy or sugar. Some recommend no dressing at all but rather a wedge or two of lemon squeezed on top. 

This junk food disguised as healthy food list of culprits shows only a few examples of the many you may come across. Try your best to eat clean by consuming products with the least amount of ingredients and processing for optimal, natural fuel.