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Think these foods are healthy? Think again

Peanut butter sandwich, bowl of peanut butter, peanuts and a knife isolated on white background. [Photo: Courtesy]

With the growing interest in healthy foods, there are many products in the market that appear healthy while they are not due to smart marketing strategies.

Many people will believe a manufacturer’s claims over the real nutritional value of such foods.


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1. Light salad dressing
When having a vegetable salad, choosing a low calorie salad dressing always seems like the healthier choice. However, to maintain the flavour of such dressings, manufacturers often add many additives and sweeteners that may be detrimental to your health.

2. Flavoured yoghurts
Yoghurts are a good source of calcium, potassium, Vitamin B2 and protein. Yoghurts are also a good source of probiotics, helpful bacteria that keep the gut healthy. To flavour the yoghurt, the manufacturer may be required to add so many ingredients to give it the characteristic flavour and colour that the nutritional benefits get lost.

3. Diet soda
The word diet on a bottle or can of soda is just a marketing strategy. Swapping a classic bottle of soda with a diet soda isn’t a healthier option. Diet sodas are still sweet due to artificial sweeteners used in place of sugar that may be more detrimental to health.

4. Low fat peanut butter
In food processing, when a particular component is removed, it must be replaced by another to maintain flavour and consistency. Peanut butter contains considerable amounts of monounsaturated fats, good fats that can help lower cholesterol in the body. Since striping away these fats can change peanut butter’s flavour and consistency, sugar and other carbohydrates are added to maintain flavour.

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5. Energy and protein bars
Even though energy and protein bars claim lofty health benefits, their nutrition profile isn’t so different from that of a candy or chocolate bar. They are often high in calories and loaded with sugar with very little nutritional benefits.

6. Dried fruits
Dried fruits are often preserved with sulfur dioxide to maintain colour, prolong shelf life and prevent bacterial growth. Sulfur dioxide increases the risk of allergic reactions and attacks in people who are asthmatic. 

7. Coleslaw
Coleslaw is a salad consisting primarily of finely cut cabbage, carrots and plenty of mayonnaise. A typical serving of coleslaw can provide up to 70 calories and up to 10 grams of fat. Large servings of coleslaw can provide more fat than a large serving of fries.  

8. Baked beans
Beans are a good source of fibre and proteins. However, it is important to read the nutrition label on baked beans to understand what you may be putting in your body. Baked beans aren’t always healthy and most are high in sugar, sodium and other additives that help keep them stable for long.



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