Being health conscious is something we’re all catching onto, and food marketers know it. They know all the buzz words to make food sound healthier than it is and they know what will draw us in and buy it. Unless you’re checking the back of everything you buy (and let’s be honest, no one has time for that),  marketers can dupe even the most vigilant health conscious person. When it comes to marketing, these are the 7 foods that people mistake for being healthy on a common basis.

Diet Coke/Soda

Ok, so no one actually thinks diet soda is healthy, but a lot of us with a sweet- tooth drink it as an alternative to full fat soda on the premise that it’s lower in calories and sugar. Whilst technically true that it’s lower or “zero” in sugar, they’re replaced by sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-potassium and other chemicals that mess with your insulin levels and therefore your ability to metabolise sugar and could actually make you gain weight.

Granola

Whilst granola contains lots of fiber and iron from the oats, they’re also loaded with sugar (molasses, brown rice syrup, oat syrup solids are the most common) as well as oils like palm oil which is not only bad for your heart, but is disastrous for the planet. Find out more about the dangers of palm oil and how to help

Swap it for quinoa

Quinoa is a great replacement for oats and cereals, not only are they incredibly versatile but also healthy. Check out this recipe for a poached egg quinoa breakfast salad for a healthy and balanced breakfast.

Yogurt

Another “healthy” breakfast food is betraying us with marketing. Yogurt by itself is a great probiotic food that’s low in calories and high in protein. However, you should also take a look at the label from time to time since most yogurts are packed with various sugars and sweeteners. Plain yogurt isn’t as bad as the flavoured kinds with about half the amount of sugar, but your go-to breakfast hasn’t been as good to you as you think.

Fruit Juice 

Cutting out soda for fruit juice? Think again, a lot of the time, and especially store bought fruit juices are not beneficial in anyway. Not only are they high in sugar, but unless there’s fiber inside, the juice won’t even fill you up. Without fiber, it makes the drink just as bad as sodas.

Swap it for whole fruits– especially berries with antioxidants, you get all the fiber and don’t just fill up on sugar!

Veggie Burger Patties 

This is probably the biggest surprise on our list, after all how can veggie burgers be bad for you when they’re made from veggies! Sadly the truth is that they’re also full of fillers that create a lot of sodium and the amount of processing that goes into making store bought veggie burgers actually zaps away all the critical nutrients away from the veggies!

Turkey

Although meat like turkey is leaner than beef and other meats, a lot of the time when you’re buying ground turkey and packaged turkey they’re filled with sodium and often fat and skin are ground into the turkey which increases the cholesterol. Try look for extra lean turkey if this is your meat of choice.

Swap for salmon- salmon is full of omega 3, which is a [good] fatty acid which are great for your skin and prevents inflammation. Check out this yummy 10 minute ginger salmon recipe for a healthy and delicious dinner.

Bottled Green Tea

In Hong Kong we’re used to drinking green tea and are well aware that there are a lot of antioxidants inside making it perfect for digestion. So it’s only natural to assume that bottled green tea is just as good for us, however most bottled teas are not brewed and are instead made from tea powder and with added sugar. It’s merely a mimicked taste, and nothing more.

Just stick to freshly brewed green tea – try our office favourite at iHerb to get the full antioxidant benefits!

Our Favourite Foods

Not all foods are full of preservatives and marketing lies, some of of the most famous diet foods are just as good as you’ve been told. Almonds and flax seeds contain lots of protein, fiber, healthy fats and vitamin e, so snack on those during the day or include them in as many recipes as you can.

As well as this avocados, olives and olive oil are great to use as healthy oils and are extremely versatile to use in your daily diet, so you can get creative with your recipes and use them day and night! Be careful though, there is good olive oil, and poor quality olive oil. To get the most out of your olive oil, make sure you buy dark coloured bottles and store in a cool place (not next to the stove!).

This is so you get as much flavour from the oil as possible and can appreciate the quality of food that you’re eating. To find out more top tips on olive oil, check out this detailed but easy to follow guide on EVOO

Trying to stay healthy isn’t always easy, but it also doesn’t have to be hard either! Simple changes can make a world of a difference, and cutting out foods that make you feel groggy and unwell due to high amounts of sodium or sugar or even palm oil is a very small price to pay.

We only have one body and the more that we love it, the more we’re going to get out of life. It’s not just food either; massages are the ultimate stress-reliever and are proven to reduce cortisol levels, which not only helps you stay healthy, but also helps ease your desire to over-eating or snack.

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