Healthy Food Gone Bad

Wed, Apr 14, 2010


As people who love food, you hear plenty about healthy food and non-healthy food. But when is healthy food turned into not so healthy food? In fact many things that are considered healthy have as many calories (or more than) as some of the well known unhealthy foods like candy bars and chips!

For instance, something that is a ‘healthy” frozen dinner may be low in calories and fat but probably is high in sodium. The protein bars that help renew our energy after working out usually have as many calories as 2 sodas and are in much smaller packages.

Most food packaging show flashy words that catch the eye like “fat-free”, “whole grains”,“ organic”, or “sugar free”.  An example would be that fat-free usually means high sodium and high calories, while reduced fat probably means no trans fats but plenty of saturated fats, none of which make a healthy food.

Also, don’t look at just calories, a serving of almonds is 1 ounce (28g) or 20 -25 medium sized nuts. Almonds contain fat and fat equals calories, 167g of calories to be exact, over half of which are from fat. There are 15g of fat in 1 serving of almonds, but of those, only 1.1g are saturated, the rest are monounsaturated fat (9.4g) and polyunsaturated fat (3.5). Almonds also have protein, fiber, iron and calcium and only 1mg of sodium.

Now take a look at a coconut granola bar with chocolate coating. The amount of calories are less by almost 20 for the same size (1 ounce or 28g), and the fat is less too, at only 9g. Of those fats, 6g are saturated. The sodium (salt) is much higher at 43mg (though that isn’t very much compared to most pre-packaged foods). But there is also 10g of sugar and only 2g of fiber. Only 1% calcium and 3% iron.

For those who don’t know about different fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are both good fats that have proven to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Saturated and transfats are bad, naughty fats that cause bad cholesterol to rise.

All of that to show that just because it sounds healthy like a granola bar, doesn’t mean it’s actually healthy, while something that is full of fat and has more calories can actually be much healthier!

You may be wondering how to get around those deceiving little labels on food. Well, there are couple of  things that help tremendously. One, is to buy the ingredients and make your own goodies from scratch or grow your own. This isn’t always the easiest or most economically feasible way. Two, is to check the nutrition facts and the ingredients that are listed when you shop.  Also, try to incorporate foods that aren’t low in one thing but high in something else!

It may take a while to get the hang of it, but once you do it, it gets easier and if you choose to cook your way to good health you can always try new and interesting ways to flavor your food and not let it become too full of the unhealthy stuff!

Photo by TC .

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This post was written by:

Rochelle - who has written 324 posts on Made in Kitchen Blog.

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