What am I hearing most often these days from patients at my wellness center and coaching clients across the country? Food confusion!
Real information about what’s nutritious and healthful gets lost in all the advertisements, false claims, and myths swirling in the media. Food fads come and go as fast as the fashions on Heidi Klum’s TV show. One day a food is touted as the next great cure for whatever ails. But before you know it, “It’s out” like last year’s shoes.
You need to know the facts to stay healthy and cut through the hype. Read on for how to spot four common good-nutrition fakers.
Health Food Impostor: Organic and Health Food Store Foods
These words imply the safest, purest, and most carefully prepared foods, right? Well, not exactly. Organic foods, which are those grown without harmful chemicals and pesticides, are often superior. But a valid case can be made for the value of non-organic perishable produce. The fact is, organic foods are less readily available, tend to be pricier, and stay fresher for a shorter time. Also, remember that “organic” does not equal sugar-free, low-fat, or nutritious–just that its contents were grown without chemicals. In other words, “organic” is just one of several factors to consider in making good food choices.
Similarly, many individuals I know are satisfied with the simple fact that their food was purchased from a health food store. But health food stores today carry a wide range of products that can even mystify nutritional experts. Unfortunately, location does not mean that the item is always purer or nutritionally sound. Remember, products marketed as supplements rather than foods fall under different–sometimes less stringent–labeling regulations under US law.
The Good-Health Real Deal
Read labels carefully, no matter where you buy. Look for low sugar grams, high fiber, and an ingredient list made up of things you can identify and trust.
Health Food Impostor: Grain or Fruit Muffins and Bagels
These breakfast favorites have been a tradition for a long, long time. Sorry to say, but eating them could mean starting your day with a nutritionally deficient, overly processed dessert costing up to 500 calories–and that’s not counting whatever you put on top. Even bran muffins fall into the “health-food impostor” category because, like other breakfast breads, they often contain lots of sugar and highly refined, nutrient-stripped flour. In addition, portions have increased through the years. Today’s baked goods are supersized