With so many Americans overweight and unhealthy, marketers know that the best way to get someone to buy something these days is to tell them it’s good for them in some way. Companies know to use words like “whole grains”, “vitamins”, “low-fat”, “low-cholestoral”, etc… But often these claims mean nothing or it’s just a bit of vitamins added to something otherwise very bad for you. These are just a few examples of foods that people may believe is good for them but really it’s not.
- Vitaminwater– Sounds good for you right? Vitamins and water, what could be bad about that? And the bottles have all kinds of claims of how it will help you. But Coca-Cola is being sued for making people believe this drink, with 33 grams of sugar in each bottle, is good for them. Coca-Cola has even said, when defending itself, “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”
- Subway- In the fast food world, Subway seems like a good choice, after all it’s not all greasy like a burger place, and look at all of those people that lost weight eating it. Sure, if you have been eating a diet of fast food burgers, switching to Subway will likely help you lose weight and feel better but this doesn’t mean it’s health, just better than some of the worst food you can eat. Subway food contains things like nitrates, high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, artificial dyes, hidden MSG, and so many more harmful ingredients. Read 100 Days of Real Food’s Is Subway Real Food? for more detail.
- WhoNu- The cookies that call themselves, “delicious and nutritious.” When I first saw an ad for these I knew it was very unlikely true and wrote a blog post all about them and how these cookies were far from “nutritious.” The first ingredient in the cookies? Sugar, and they contain things like high fructose corn syrup, and many, many more ingredients. This is another case of an unhealthy food having some vitamins thrown in and called healthy.
- McDonald’s Salads- A McDonald’s burger contains 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 480 mg of sodium. The Premium Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken is 450 calories, 21 grams of fat, and 820 mg of sodium, and many of their salads are as bad or worse.
- Cool Whip- Just look for recipes on Pinterest and you will see a ton of “healthy desserts” that feature Cool Whip. The benefits being lower calories and fat, but is that all that matters in food? I say, no. I’m just going to share the ingredients with you as I think that will help show just how bad the stuff is, water, hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils), high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skim milk, light cream, sodium caseinate, natural and artificial flavors, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and beta carotene. Yum! In contrast, homemade whipped cream contains- cream, though you can also add a bit of sugar and real vanilla.
- Herbalife- The name has herb right in it, surely it’s natural. And it’s got all kinds of herbs in the ingredients! But is this just another case of take something loaded with crap and throw in a few healthy ingredients so you can say it’s good? In my opinion, yes it is. Soy protein is the ingredient that concerns me the most in these shake diet drinks, and to be fair Herbalife is not the only one to use this, Shaklee and many others use soy proteins. The soy used is highly processed and has been linked to a lot of health problems. Other ingredients in these drinks also concern me and are not something that goes along with a healthy, real food diet. I wrote more about my dislike of shake diets in a blog post, Meal Replacers vs Real Food.*
I could go on and on about foods that claim to be healthy but have questionable ingredients. When it comes right down to it, if you want to eat healthy you have to read ingredients labels and learn what they mean. It’s frustrating but you can’t trust the hype and all of the ads, you have to check things out for yourself.
What are some foods you see people say are healthy but when you looked into the ingredients found some dirty secrets? I’d love to hear your lists, share in the comments below.
*Disclaimer: I have many wonderful friends, even some bloggers, that sell and/or use shake diets, this is not a shot at them, just in my opinion these are not a healthy option. I encourage everyone to read ingredient labels, research ingredients and decide for themselves. And of course this goes for all of these items.
Photo Credit- sampitech