5 seemingly-healthy foods that aren’t actually healthy
Pop quiz: do you think fruit juice is a healthy beverage? Would you feel better about downing a cup of fruit juice, as opposed to a can of Coke? As it turns out, fruit juice isn’t necessarily a healthy option, and a cup of juice can contain as much sugar than a can of Coke.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through 5 seemingly-healthy foods that aren’t actually healthy, so that you’re equipped to make better decisions about your diet. Read on to find out more!
#1: Fruit juices
Now, we know what you’re thinking: It’s only the packaged fruit juices that are unhealthy. If I drink freshly squeezed fruit juice, that’s perfectly fine, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Consider this: 12 ounces (roughly one cup) of 100% apple juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is the same amount of sugar found in a can of Coke. Apple juice aside, one cup of orange juice cup clocks in at 9 teaspoons, and grape juice is even worse – one cup contains 15 teaspoons of sugar.
To put things in perspective, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that individuals consume approximately 5 teaspoons of sugar per day. Statistics from the National Nutrition Survey 2018 show that the average Singaporean is consuming 12 teaspoons of sugar per day, so it’s time for us to cut back.
#2: Dried fruit
Next on our list of seemingly-healthy foods? Dried fruit.
You might feel better snacking on dried food as compared to chips or chocolate, because, well, it’s fruit!
But here’s the thing: manufacturers often add sugar to dried fruit to make it taste better; they also use unnecessary preservatives to extend the shelf life. For instance, a serving of dried mango contains approximately 27g of sugar, which works out to roughly 7 teaspoons.
Also, keep in mind that dried fruits tend to come in smaller pieces, making it easy to overindulge. If you finish one snack sized pack of raisins (which are essentially dried grapes) while you’re binge-watching your favourite Netflix show, you’ll have consumed 20g of sugar. If you’re eating fresh grapes, though, you’d have to eat nearly 1.5 cups of grapes to get the same amount of sugar.
#3: Energy bars
Energy bars, muesli bars, and protein bars are conveniently packaged, and easy to eat on-the-go. However, many of these bars are packed with sugar, and their nutritional profiles are pretty similar to candy bars.
Don’t be fooled by bars that say they’re “made of all-natural ingredients”, either. For instance, a bar could be made of just three ingredients (figs, dates, and cashews), but still be unhealthy. It doesn’t matter if you’re consuming fructose (fruit sugar, or “natural” sugar) or glucose – it still pays to consume less sugar.
Granola is made with oats, so it’s easy to assume that it’s a healthy snack. That said, pretty much all granola brands add sugar, oil, and other sweeteners such as honey or agave syrup when they’re cooking their granola. Again, read the label for more clarity – you might find that the nutritional profile of the granola you love resembles that of candy and/or other unhealthy snacks!
#5: Flavoured yoghurt
Rounding off our list of seemingly-healthy foods is none other than… flavoured yoghurt!
Yogurt contains probiotics that can help with digestion and your overall gut health. As such, it’s often touted as a healthy food.
Now, while Greek yoghurt is perfectly fine to snack on, it’s the flavoured yoghurts that you’ll want to steer clear of. These yoghurts often contain added sugars and artificial sweeteners such as corn syrup. Many flavoured yoghurt brands also rely on flavoured syrups and other additives, instead of adding real fruit into their products.