Three Unhealthy “Healthy” Snacks to Avoid
Marketing can be an amazing thing when trying to get people to buy snacks.
For some reason, many snacks with the label of “fat free” or “low fat” get eaten in mass quantities because of these claims. Three foods come to mind that can do some major damage to the waistline and your overall fitness goals.
Trail mix is essentially nuts, fruit, and other bits (usually a chocolate or candy). Now, fruit and nuts by themselves are not unhealthy. In fact, the nuts used for trail mix are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. The dried fruits have a higher concentration of phenols, which are an antioxidant linked to cancer prevention.
Where we run into trouble is the little “extras.” Sure dark chocolate bits are nice, but more often than not, it’s milk chocolate in the form of chips or M&M-type candies. Those are loaded with sugar.
Because the healthy parts of the mix are so calorically dense (9 calories per gram of fat), it’s very easy for someone to go overboard. In fact, the usual serving size is 1/4 or 1/3 a cup, which is a handful to most.
This is another food that is, inherently, a healthy one. A six ounce serving of plain greek yogurt can pack as much as 16 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbohydrates. The probiotic makeup of Greek yogurt help improve gut health.
On the surface, that’s a great choice, right?
It’s when we get into the flavored versions of Greek yogurt that we can potentially fall into a calorie trap. A six ounce serving of Chobani “Flips” can pack as much sugar as a package of Starbursts! The fruit-on-the-bottom style also use a syrup along with bits of fruit, which can add loads of sugar, while the marketing will misdirect you to “low fat” or “low calories.”
Again, on the surface, this shouldn’t be THAT bad of an option for a healthy alternative. In fact, if you are in control of the ingredients, an eight ounce smoothie of low-fat milk, banana, and blueberries will pack enough calories, protein, and carbohydrates to get you through to your next meal.
However, we are a very “on the go” society. Chances are you go to Whole Foods or another grocery store, see a bottled smoothie with the health halo attached to it (usually “low fat” or “antioxidants”), chug and go…straight into a sugar crash.
Let’s take the Odwalla Berries GoMega smoothie. At first glance, berries are in the name. Has to be full of antioxidants, right? In fact, they also talk about the flax seeds that are added to give the drink even MORE antioxidants. All of this is at the cost of 47 grams of sugar. That’s over half of an average person’s daily allowance!