Health Food Frauds

Ever wonder how or why some foods touted as 'health food' earned their blue ribbon label when they look suspiciously fattening to the eye read the same on their list of ingredients as well?

Wondering the same thing ourselves, my wife and I have morphed ourselves into eagle-eyed sleuths ... students of food label reading, hoping to discover just which foods truly qualify as health foods and which are HEALTH FOOD FRAUDS.

Honestly, many foods found in grocery stores and restaurants that folks commonly feel are 'healthy' are anything but healthy or diet food. The following list, which will grow monthly, reveals the true fallen nature of a handful of foods folks commonly mistake as "good, healthy food".

'Light' Oils

Lauded as being 'lighter in calories and taste', our digestive systems makes no distinction between 'light', 'regular' or 'Virgin' attributing between 13.5 or 13.6 calories per teaspoon for all edible oils. That's about 216 - 218 calories per cup. In researching edible oils we were surprised to find oils we didn't even know were out there and some that sounded sooooooo yummy to cook with! See if the list below doesn't include some oils new to you too.

Almond, Apricot, Avocado, Babbassu, Canola, Cocoa, Coconut, Corn, Cupu Assu, Flaxseed, Hazelnut, Oat, Palm Kernel, Peanut, Mustard, Nutmeg, Safflower, Sheanut, Soybean, Sunflower and Uchuhuba.

Next time you see a 'Light' oil on the grocery store shelf ... avoid the phoney-baloney hype and purchase an oil that you know has favorable health and cooking properties like olive or coconut oil.

Smoothies

Whole food smoothies made with fresh fruit, vegetables, natural grains, protein powders and have natural fiber can be a yummy, convenient meal and wonderfully healthful.

Unfortunately, many smoothies are made with food concentrates, have artificial ingredients, flavors and colors and may have loads of sugars (up to 90 or more grams). Add to that preservatives and various chemicals 'to enhance color and texture' and up to 750 calories per Venti size serving -- and you've tangled with a monster that is so far from healthy it is scary.

So if you are a 'smoothie-anado', we suggest you ferret out a restaurant that respects and cares enough for its' customers to use fresh fruits, veggies and all natural ingredients in making it's frozen delights. Bottoms-Up!

Low-Fat Milk (2%)

True story: Shopping in the dairy section of my local grocery store I heard a gentleman commenting on the benefits of Low-Fat milk. He was speaking to a woman with him, "it must be better than whole milk because it has 98% less fat the the regular (whole) milk and that's a lot". Well, his math and heart were on target ... but somehow he was un-informed that 'whole milk' really has only 3.5% fat to begin with.

The statistics regarding the nutrition of the various states of milk are listed below. One will quickly note that there is little difference in total fat or calories between Low-Fat and Whole milk.

If you must drink milk, and I say 'If" because some health mavens strongly object to the hormones and antibiotics found in chain-store milk -- then try to develop a palate for Non-Fat. It has only half the calories of whole milk and none of the fat.

Whole Milk (3.25%) = 150 cal., 8g fat, 5g sat. fat,

Reduced-fat (2%) = 130 cal., 5g fat, 3g sat. fat

Skim (nonfat) = 80 cal., 0g fat, 0g sat. fat


Please watch for up-dates on Health Food Frauds. We will be adding new segments each month ...