Unhealthy foods are the main reason why the world is fatter and sicker than ever.
Surprisingly, some of these foods are considered healthy by many people.
Here are 15 "healthy foods" that are really junk foods in disguise.
1. Processed foods "low in fat" and "no fat"
The "war" against saturated fats is the biggest mistake in the history of nutrition.
It was based on weak evidence, which has now been completely discredited (1).
When this started, the manufacturers of processed foods got on the car and began to remove the fat from the food.
But there is a big problem … the food tastes horrible when the fat is removed. That's why they added a lot of sugar to compensate.
Saturated fat is safe, but added sugar is incredibly harmful when consumed in excess (2, 3).
The words "low fat" or "fat free" in a package usually mean that it is a highly processed product that is loaded with sugar.
2. Most commercial salad dressings
The vegetables are incredibly healthy.
The problem is that they often do not know very well by themselves.
That's why many people use the dressings to add flavor to their salads, turning these soft foods into delicious sweets.
But many salad dressings are actually loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as sugar, vegetable oils and trans fats, along with a lot of artificial chemicals.
While vegetables are good for you, eating them with a high dressing of harmful ingredients will completely nullify any health benefits you get from the salad.
Be sure to check the list of ingredients before using a salad dressing … or make your own food with healthy ingredients.
3. Fruit juices … which are basically liquid sugar
Many people believe that fruit juices are healthy.
They must be … because they come from the fruit, right?
But much of the fruit juice found in the supermarket is not really fruit juice.
Sometimes, there is not even real fruit, only chemicals that taste like fruit. What you are drinking is basically sugary fruit flavored water.
That said, even if you're drinking 100% quality fruit juice, it's still a bad idea.
Fruit juice is like fruit, except that all good things have been eliminated (like fiber) … the main thing that remains of real fruit is sugar.
If you did not know, fruit juice actually contains a similar amount of sugar as a sugary drink (4).
4. Whole wheat "healthy for the heart"
Most "whole wheat" products are not really made from whole wheat.
The beans have been pulverized into very fine flour, which makes them increase their blood sugar as fast as their refined counterparts.
In fact, wholemeal bread can have a glycemic index similar to white bread (5).
But even true whole wheat can be a bad idea … because modern wheat is not healthy compared to the wheat our grandparents ate.
Around 1960, scientists manipulated the genes in wheat to increase yield. Modern wheat is less nutritious and has some properties that make it much worse for people who are gluten intolerant (6, 7, 8).
There are also studies that show that modern wheat can cause inflammation and increase cholesterol levels, at least in comparison with older varieties (9, 10).
While wheat may have been a relatively healthy grain in the past, it is better to avoid the things that most people are eating today.
5. Phytosterols that reduce cholesterol
There are certain nutrients called phytosterols, which are basically like vegetable versions of cholesterol.
Some studies have shown that they can reduce blood cholesterol in humans (11).
For this reason, they are often added to processed foods that are then marketed as "cholesterol lowering" and are said to help prevent heart disease.
However, studies have shown that despite reducing cholesterol levels, phytosterols have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and may even increase the risk of heart disease and death (12, 13, 14).
The butter was demonized again in the day, due to the high content of saturated fat.
Several health experts began promoting margarine.
In the past, margarine used to be high in trans fats. These days, it has less trans fat than before, but it's still loaded with refined vegetable oils.
Margarine is not a food … it is a set of chemical products and refined oils that have been made to look and taste like food.
Not surprisingly, the Framingham Heart Study showed that people who replace butter with margarine are actually more likely to die from heart disease (15).
If you want to improve your health, eat real butter (preferably grass-fed) but avoid processed margarine and other fake foods such as plague.
Recommending margarine with trans fat instead of natural butter may be the worst nutritional advice in history.
7. Sports drinks
Sports drinks were designed with athletes in mind.
These drinks contain electrolytes (salts) and sugar, which in many cases can be useful for athletes.
However … most normal people do not need extra salts, and they certainly do not need liquid sugar.
Although it is often considered "less bad" than sugary soft drinks, there is really no fundamental difference, except that the sugar content is sometimes slightly lower.
It is important to stay hydrated, especially around workouts, but most people will be better off adhering to running water.
8. Low carb junk foods
Low-carbohydrate diets have been incredibly popular for many decades.
In the last 12 years, one study after another has confirmed that these diets are an effective way to lose weight and improve health (16, 17).
However … food manufacturers have updated the trend and brought to the market several "friendly" processed foods with low carbohydrate content.
This includes highly processed junk foods such as Atkins bars. If you look at the list of ingredients, you will see that there are NO real foods, only chemicals and highly refined ingredients.
These products can be consumed from time to time without compromising the metabolic adaptation that low carbohydrate intake entails. But they do not really nourish your body … even though they are technically low in carbohydrates, they are still unhealthy.
9. Agave nectar
Given the known harmful effects of sugar, people have been looking for alternatives.
One of the most popular "natural" sweeteners is agave nectar, also called agave syrup.
You will find this sweetener in all kinds of "healthy foods", often with attractive statements on the package.
The problem with the Agave is that it is not better than sugar. In fact, it's much, much worse …
One of the main problems with sugar is that it contains excessive amounts of fructose, which can cause serious metabolic problems when consumed in excess (18).
While the sugar is about 50% fructose and the high fructose corn syrup about 55%, the Agave contains even more … up to 70-90%.
Therefore, gram for gram, agave is even worse than regular sugar.
Seeing, "natural" is not always as healthy … and if the Agave should be considered as something natural it is debatable.
10. Vegan junk food
Vegan diets are very popular these days, often due to ethical and environmental reasons.
However … many people promote vegan diets with the purpose of improving health.
There are many processed vegan foods on the market, which are often sold as convenient replacements for non-vegan foods.
Vegan bacon is an example.
But it is important to keep in mind that, in general, these are highly processed and factory-made products that are bad for almost everyone, including vegans.
11. Brown rice syrup
Brown rice syrup (also known as rice malt syrup) is a sweetener that is mistakenly assumed to be healthy.
This sweetener is obtained by exposing the cooked rice to enzymes that break down the starch into simple sugars.
Brown rice syrup does not contain refined fructose, only glucose.
The absence of refined fructose is good … but rice syrup has a glycemic index of 98, which means that glucose in it will increase blood sugar extremely fast (19).
Rice syrup is also highly refined and contains almost no essential nutrients. In other words, it's "empty" calories.
Some concerns have been raised about arsenic contamination in this syrup, another reason to be more careful with this sweetener (20).
There are other better sweeteners out there … including low-calorie sweeteners such as stevia, erythritol and xylitol, which actually have some health benefits.
12. Processed organic foods
Unfortunately, the word "organic" has become like any other marketing buzzword.
Food manufacturers have found all sorts of ways to make the same scrap, except with ingredients that turn out to be organic.
This includes ingredients such as raw organic cane sugar, which is basically 100% identical to regular sugar. It remains only glucose and fructose, with little or no nutrients.
In many cases, the difference between an ingredient and its organic counterpart is almost nil.
Processed foods that are labeled organic are not necessarily healthy. Always check the label to see what's inside.
13. Vegetable oils
We are often advised to eat vegetable and seed oils.
This includes soybean oil, canola oil, grape seed oil and many others.
This is based on the fact that it has been shown that these oils reduce blood cholesterol levels, at least in the short term (21).
However … it is important to keep in mind that cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor, NOT a disease in itself.
Although vegetable oils can improve a risk factor, there is no guarantee that they will help prevent real end points such as heart attacks or death, which is what really counts.
In fact, several controlled trials have shown that, despite reducing cholesterol, these oils can increase the risk of death … both from heart disease and cancer (22, 23, 24).
So eat healthy, natural fats like butter, coconut oil and olive oil, but avoid processed vegetable oils as if your life depended on it (it does).
14. Gluten-free junk food
According to a 2013 survey, approximately one third of people in the US UU They are actively trying to avoid gluten.
Many experts think that this is unnecessary … but the truth is that gluten, especially modern wheat, can be problematic for many people (25).
Not in vain, the food manufacturers have brought all From gluten-free foods to the market.
The problem with these foods is that they are generally as bad as their counterparts that contain gluten, if not worse.
These are highly processed foods that are very low in nutrients and are often made with refined starches that lead to very rapid peaks in blood sugar.
Then … choose foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as plants and animals, NOT processed foods without gluten.
The gluten-free junk food is still junk food.
15. Most processed breakfast cereals
The way some cereals are marketed for breakfast is a shame.
Many of them, including those marketed for children, have all kinds of health claims in the box.
This includes deceptive things like "whole grain" or "low fat".
But … when you really look at the list of ingredients, you see that it is almost nothing more than refined grains, sugar and artificial chemicals.
The truth is that if the packaging of a food says it is healthy, it probably is not.
The truly healthy foods are those that do not need any health claim … integral foods of a single ingredient.
Real food does not even need a list of ingredients, because real food is the ingredient.
Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-health-foods-that-are-really-junk-foods