When people decide to "go on a diet", there are a number of so-called healthy foods that they typically turn to. Some may be healthy, others simply are not. But inevitably there are a few myths out there that just won't die, thanks in large part to clever advertising and labeling. Heck, all food manufacturers have to do to convince people their product is healthy is to slap an "All Natural" or "Low in Fat" label on it. Here is a short list of 5 of these "healthy" or "weight-loss" foods that dieters typically turn to and why they're not all they're cracked up to be.
1. Veggie Burgers
Morningstar Farms Grillers Original burger, you'll learn that these things consist of largely soy and other isolated vegetable proteins. This is a problem. Soy is not a health food, especially when it's undergone as much processing as the soy in these burgers has. There are too many risks of soy to fully explore here, but just to name a few...
2. Egg Beaters (or other fake egg products)
You know, I really wish everyone would get over this irrational fear of eggs. Eggs are a fantastic food on their own; they're affordable, satiating, and full of important nutrients, like choline. Research also shows that those who eat eggs for breakfast end up eating less throughout the rest of the day, so they can be very valuable for weight loss. Don't concern yourself with the saturated fat and the cholesterol in real eggs, that stuff isn't going to kill you. Here's a paper to prove it. But a processed egg substitute in which many of the constituents have likely been damaged or oxidized so badly that your body doesn't even know what to do with them... well I can't vouch for that. Eat at your own risk.
3. Deli Meat
a recent meta-analysis shows a link between deli meat and other processed meat consumption and incidence of chronic disease, regardless of the saturated fat content of the meat. It looks like it's not so much the fat content that's important, but the degree of processing and the use of chemicals and preservatives. The take home message: deli meat is not a health food, regardless of how lean it is.
4. Rice Cakes
I have to hand it to General Mills. I mean, they have done a fantastic job convincing nearly everyone that Cheerios are a healthy breakfast. Look at all the claims... Heart-Healthy, Reduce Your Cholesterol, High in Soluble Fiber, Low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. Not to mention the subtleness of the heart-shaped bowl... very clever. Everybody loves Cheerios, and nobody feels bad about it. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Cheerios are NOT good for you. Going back to insulin and the glycemic index, Cheerios have a glycemic index of about 74, depending on which source you're looking at. That, too, is higher than table sugar. As far as insulin is concerned, you'd be better off eating a few slices of white bread for breakfast (don't do that either). None of those claims really mean anything anyway. Heart-Healthy? Prove it. Reduce Your Cholesterol? Is that even a good thing? High in Soluble Fiber? Cheerios only have one gram of soluble fiber, you can find much more elsewhere. Low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol? Obviously, it's made from grains. And why does it matter if it's low in saturated fat and cholesterol anyway? Cheerios aren't healthy, folks. They'll probably do more to slow your weight loss efforts than to facilitate them.
So there they are, 5 fake health foods. The common denominator between all of these examples? None of them are real foods. If I could give one recommendation to improve everyone's health, it would be to Just Eat Real Food (JERF). I mean real foods that are unprocessed and that come from nature. Meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a cheerio in the wild.