September 17, 2015 at 10:53 am EDT | by Gerard Burley
Healthy options?
healthy, gay news, Washington Blade

Don’t believe everything you read when it comes to supposedly ‘healthy’ foods. The health food industry cares about profits first. (Photo by Panatenda; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

With the public generally more health conscious these days, every food company says their product is a health food. If they can’t say their food is healthy from conception, they are quick to come out with a so-called healthier version.

With all of this health food propaganda going on, it’s time we really ask ourselves, are these foods really healthier than our regular meals? As someone who generally doesn’t trust the food industry because they tell you what ever you want to hear in order to sell the product, I’ve decided to highlight five of the unhealthiest “health foods.”

Cereal: I was fat until I stopped eating cereal. God, how I miss my friends Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But my friends were making me hold on to extra weight. Breakfast cereals tend to be ladened with sugars and during the process of turning the grains into a fun bite-size breakfast, the food loses most of its vitamins and minerals. Oh you eat the healthy cereals? Still check the sugar content and ingredients. You may be organically reaching a day’s worth of sugar with just your first meal. Better breakfast options: protein shakes, fruit, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, eggs.

Granola: If you’re really working on weight maintenance, granola should be called grano-NO. Most granola bars and granola mixes are so high in calories and sugar that they negate its positive qualities. If you’re competing or hiking and need the energy, I’m all about you providing healthy sources of energy for snacks, but let’s be real, most of us are eating these while sitting all day. Better snack options: popcorn, fruit, raw veggies, kale chips.

Fake butter: You can’t believe it’s not butter, well your body can’t believe you are feeding yourself this. Bottom line is fake butter gives you real heart attacks.  Margarine and low-fat oils are filled with the evil trans fats which have been linked to cardiovascular disease. For those who don’t care about your heart but just want to look good, remember that fats don’t make you fat. Watch your calorie intake and include healthy fats into your diet and you will be just fine. Better oil options: olive oil, coconut oil, 100 percent butter.

Fake milk: I’m not a big fan of dairy in general, but if you’re using milk, use whole milk. Again as manufactures take away the fat in milk they are also taking away key fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. Besides that, the whole milk fat actually helps boost your body’s metabolism helping you burn more calories throughout the day. I challenge you to try to switch to a  dairy-free diet for 30 days just to see how you feel. I have had many clients who were lactose intolerant on some level and never knew it until they cut it out for 30 days. They now say they feel so much better. Better options: whole milk, almond milk, coconut milk.

Sports drinks: As someone who loves to drink blue anything, believe me I get the appeal, but most of these drinks should be called calorie-ade. Yes there are electrolytes in these drinks, but they come along with buckets of sugar and extra calories that nullify your workout. Science shows that most people who are pre-hydrated before competition don’t even need electrolyte replenishment during a workout unless the workout last more than two hours. If it’s just the taste you’re after, at least take your sports drink and cut it in half with water to reduce the calories and excess sugar. Better options: lemon water, sparkling water.

As we can see, so called health food isn’t always healthy. When labels try to draw your attention to one health benefit, remember they’re drawing you away from another. Real health food (like veggies) needs no label. It is and always has been healthy with or without marketing. Remember the food industry is out to make profit first not necessarily to make you healthy. Take responsibility of your health by examining your foods, monitoring the sugar content and knowing where it’s from. If you aren’t sure, Google it. A knowledgeable mind leads to a healthy body.

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