It is fair to say that we all want to be healthy and one way to be healthier is to eat better. However, have we perhaps been misguided by a myriad of confusing labelling and marketing to consume products that we think are healthy but which are actually not.
Here are 5 unhealthy health products.
- Sports Drinks
A sports drink is marketed with athleticism in mind. After all, you only consume sports drinks if you exercise regularly right? WRONG.
Sports drinks contain electrolytes (salts) and sugar, which can be useful for athletes in many cases. However, most people, even if they do moderate exercise regularly, don’t need additional salt or liquid sugar in their diet.
Although often considered “less harmful” than sugary soft drinks, there is really no fundamental difference between the two, except the sugar content in sports drinks is sometimes a little bit lower.
It’s important to stay hydrated, especially when working out, but most people will be better off sticking to just plain water.
2. Agave Nectar
As people begin to gain awareness of the harmful effects of consuming too much sugar, the market has been flooded with sugar alternatives. One of the more trendy ones that have gained traction is agave nectar which is also called agave syrup.
You’ll find this sweetener in all sorts of “healthy foods,” often with attractive claims on the packaging. The problem, however, with agave is that it is, in reality, no better than regular sugar. In fact, it is much worse.
One of the main problems with sugar is that it has excessive amounts of fructose, which can cause severe metabolic problems when consumed in excess. Sugar is about 50% fructose and 55% high fructose corn syrup, but agave contains even more — up to 70-90%! Therefore, gram for gram, agave is even worse than regular sugar. However, given the at times misleading marketing, people end up consuming more agave syrup under the illusion that is it “healthy” which makes matters worse.
3. Vegan Junk Food
Vegan diets are very popular these days, often due to ethical and environmental reasons. However, many people promote vegan diets on the premise that these are more healthy options. However, being vegan does not necessarily equate to being more healthy if you are simply eating junk food with zero nutrients.
There are many processed vegan foods on the market, often sold as convenient replacements for non-vegan foods which are not at all good for you!
If you are vegan and consuming plenty of natural grains, pulses, seeds, fresh vegetables and fruit, then yes, that is the healthier option. However, if you are filling up on junk, it could actually be worse for your health.
Always read the labels carefully before buying any processed food (vegan or not). Highly processed, factory-made products are bad for almost anyone, including people who are vegan.
In short, veganism can be the healthier diet plan – but only if you do your homework!
4. Gluten Free Processed Foods
There is an increasing trend for people to avoid gluten-free food given that gluten, especially from modern wheat, can be problematic for a lot of people. Unsurprisingly, food manufacturers have rushed into the market to flood it with gluten-free options.
The problem with these foods is that they usually have the same negative effects on your body as their gluten-containing counterparts, if not worse as they are often highly processed foods containing few nutrients and often made with refined starches that can lead to very rapid spikes in blood sugar.
The best way to embrace a gluten-free lifestyle is to do your research and choose foods that are naturally gluten free, like plants and animals, not gluten-free processed foods.
Gluten-free junk food is still junk food unfortunately.
5. Most Commercial Salad Dressings
Vegetables are incredibly healthy. However, many people do not find vegetables on their own palatable and sought to use dressings to add flavour to their salads, turning these bland meals into delicious treats. Unfortunately, many common salad dressings are actually loaded with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, vegetable oils, trans fats and various artificial flavourings and preservatives.
Although vegetables are good for you, eating them with a dressing high in harmful ingredients negates any health benefit you get from the salad and could, in fact, make things worse.
Check the ingredients list before you use a salad dressing or make your own using healthy ingredients.