The food industry has convinced us that the following foods and drinks are healthy and promote weight loss - but do they live up to the claims?
Whether you're watching your weight or just being health conscious, chances are you keep your ear to the ground when you hear about new 'health' foods or 'diet' foods. While of course many of these foods are great additions to your diet, there are a few imposters...
"Skinny" coffee drinks
Hands up if you've ever felt virtuous for making your coffee skinny at your local coffee shop? For many of us, choosing the option with fewer calories and less fat is a no-brainer, but is this choice a healthy one? The truth is, to compensate for the lower fat content, many of these drinks contain more sugar than your usual coffee. "Skinny" coffee drinks you can buy at supermarkets are often even more packed with sugar, artificial sweeteners and other additives that will confuse your metabolism.
Instead: Skip the designer lattes and opt for a classic black coffee or green tea.
"Healthy" breakfast cereals
We all know those chocolate based kiddie cereals are bad for us, but did you know the so-called healthier whole-grain cereals aren't that great either? Your body converts these cereals into sugar, which in turn raises insulin levels, stores fat and sets you up for a mid-morning sugar craving.
Instead: Start your day with protein - try a homemade protein shake, scrambled eggs or natural yogurt.
"Healthy" low-fat salty snacks
Baked crisps and low-fat popcorn have become wildly popular recently, unsurprisingly as it allows you to eat your favourite salty snacks without feeling guilty. The problem with these is that thanks to this halo effect, many of us think it's OK to devour an entire bag without batting an eyelid. Unfortunately not only does this introduce too much salt into your diet, it also raises your blood sugar as the snacks are still high glycemic.
Instead: Eat a handful of nutrient rich raw almonds.
Sweeteners such as agave have been hailed as a healthy way to sweeten your meals, but with 97% fructose, agave can wreak havoc on your liver. Agave is metabolised by the liver like alcohol, which can create a fatty liver, while fructose can raise cholesterol and inflammation levels.
Instead: Try stevia or monk fruit, or better yet - skip the sweetener!
To find out more about a truly healthy diet and how a nutritionist could help, please see our Healthy Eating page.
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