11 Foods That Aren't As Healthy As You Think
We know chocolate, crisps and chips aren't good for you, but couscous and granola are fine, surely? Well no. Sorry to break the news to you, but there are foods we think are good for us but actually aren't. Here are some examples that might surprise you.
Unless you're going to make a smoothie at home, it's possible they've had a good deal of sugar or syrup added. Although they're made from vegetables and fruit, smoothies are not always the nutritionally-packed drink you think. Even the ones with nothing added contain the sugar of several pieces of fruit, all in one handy bottle.
2. Orange juice
Whilst we're on the subject of drinks - OJ is not that good for you either. Orange juice is full of sugar, OK it's natural, but it's sugar none the less. And there isn't much fibre either.
Devoid of fibre, couscous might taste good but it's doing you no favours. Choose the whole-wheat version if possible, or switch altogether to bulgar wheat or quinoa.
4. Diet drinks
If you're a full-fat Coke person, then switching to a diet drink might be a good idea to save calories, but diet drinks are not actually very good for you. They're full of artificial chemicals and preservatives. No health benefits to be found there.
5. Energy bars
These a packaged as health bars, but have plenty of sugar and artificial colourings added. It's a shame, because some contain stacks of protein and fibre.
Marketed as great for you but in reality it is packed full of sugar. You can tell by the rough feeling it leaves on your teeth.
7. Multigrain bread/crackers
Multi grain means more than one type of grain, but there's no minimum amount needed to claim the title 'multi'. You're much better off with wholegrain as this is the most healthy part - the bit that keeps bowels healthy and holds constipation at bay.
8. Fat-free yoghurt
Fat-free yay! But what has replaced the fat? Sugar - no yay. In order to keep customers happy, manufacturers dump artificial sweeteners and sugar into low-fat yogurt. Instead, buy a tub of fat-free Greek yogurt and pop some fruit in there, like raspberries or sliced banana.
Popcorn is usually low fat and touted as a great snack, but microwaveable popcorn can be full of salt, chemicals, preservatives and syrupy toppings. Buy un-popped kernels and make your own.
10. Dried fruit
Fruit equals vitamins and fibre - except it doesn't when it comes to dried fruit which contains sulphur and added sugar to keep it preserved. Banana chips can have three times the calories of a fresh banana.
11. Reduced-fat peanut butter
Reduced fat generally means the fat has been replaced with sugar and sweetener. Peanut butter is good for you, it's full of monounsaturated fats which are the good type, but if the peanuts are gone then the goodness is gone and all you're left with is filler.
If you're trying to improve your diet, these preconceptions may sabotage your intentions. Always read nutritional labels and keep an eye on the salt and sugar levels in whatever you eat.