5 “Health” Food Products to Avoid

So once again I am traveling. It’s all about family this time as the husband and I are headed back to Wisconsin and New England to visit both sides of the fam. So far it’s been an awesome trip of catching up, relaxing and enjoying cooler temps. I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging while I’m bopping around on vacation so I have a special treat…guest blogger, Cara, from shopOrganic has kindly accepted the offer to post in my absence today. shopOrganic is an awesome company that believes organic food and natural products are better for our bodies, better for our communities and better for the planet. Enjoy this post below! 

 This week Tia has graciously handed over the keys to Desert Healthy to shopOrganic while she’s on vacation. We promise we’ll take good care of you and share with you some of the best tips we have for your healthy lifestyle. One of our most shared blog posts was the one below – helping people make sense of ‘healthy’ food products that really aren’t healthy at all. We hope you learn something new!healthy food

Living a healthy lifestyle means that there is always something new to learn, something else to avoid, something else to add to your diet. It can be confusing, even frustrating at times. We know that unhealthy foods (sugar, processed foods, chemicals, additives etc.) are the reason why people are sicker and even fatter than ever before. Yet marketers are constantly bombarding us with the latest ‘health food’ product. How do you know what’s really good for you and what’s just junk food disguising itself as healthy? Check out some of these so-called health food products that may have had you fooled.

5 ‘Health Food’ Products to Avoid

1. Vitaminwater

A better name for this product should really be “Sugarwater” because the first two ingredients in Vitaminwater are actually sugar and water. The particular kind of sugar they use in Vitaminwater is called crystalline fructose, a processed sweetener that has been linked to health problems. The sugar content of this drink is disturbingly high. If you drink a bottle of Vitaminwater, you are ingesting 33 grams of sugar – that’s a little over 8 teaspoons in one serving (every 4g of sugar is equal to 1 tsp)! The “vitamins” in Vitaminwater, are not really vitamins that are beneficial to the body. They are synthetic, meaning they are made by man, and they are not the same vitamins our body can utilize as if we were getting them from our food. For much healthier options check out these recipes:


2. FroYo (Frozen Yogurt Shops)

They’re everywhere these days and they are so enticing but please don’t do it, don’t give into the hype! Frozen yogurt is a highly processed product.

I know, it’s so sad, I can actually hear hearts breaking all across the country. These cute little frozen yogurt shops that keep popping up everywhere you turn make it sound like a healthy alternative…but don’t be fooled. Just because it’s “yogurt” does not mean it’s healthy. So, even though these little shops are fun and cute they are still serving highly processed dairy products with harmful additives like these:

  • Guar gum
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sodium citrate
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Cellulose gum
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Carrageenan
  • Aspartame
  • Red Dye 40

Eek!!! That’s just to name a few! These are actually the ingredients I saw at our local FroYo shop.

What do you do instead? Instead get yourself some good plain Greek yogurt (Greek works best because it’s nice and thick) and instead of being sweetened with chemicals you can sweeten with maple syrup, raw honey or Stevia. And if you feel you’re missing out on the fun topping assortments they have at those shops, make your own little assortment using chopped nuts (pecans are my favorite), seeds (pumpkin, flax, sunflower), dark chocolate, granola, dried and or fresh fruits.


3. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

Regular and reduced-fat peanut butter contain about the same amount of calories, but the reduced-fat variety has more added sugar. When food manufacturers take out the fat, they need to add something to make that product taste good so they often add sugar. The truth is that fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does! Don’t be scared of fat. Every cell in our body depends on fat, good fats that is, and peanut butter is a natural source of this healthy fat “monounsaturated”.

Instead look for an organic peanut butter and if you want to sweeten it, stir in a bit of honey or maple syrup.


4. Energy Bars

Convenience does come at a cost. So many conventional energy bars are nothing more than candy bars with a few nutrients thrown in (which are most likely synthetic) and contain ingredients are bad for you like soy protein, gluten, chemicals, preservatives and other nasty hard-to-pronounce fillers.

There is good news here. There are some good energy/protein bars out there, you just have to read the ingredients list. A good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better. Another good alternative to these energy bars is to make your own.


5. Fooled by Fat Free

Often times we see products labeled Fat Free and we automatically think that these products are healthier choices than the ones without that label. Trust me, I know, I’ve been there too. Unfortunately that’s not really the case. If you think about it, if all the fat is removed from something, a lot of the taste of the product will be removed along with it (because good fat just tastes yummy). So what do the big food giants do to compensate? They add other ingredients like sugars, flours, chemicals, fillers and salt. These ingredients add the flavor back in, while keeping the calorie count high.

Fat free may sound like a healthy choice, but the reality is that our bodies need fat. And it’s not so much the amount of fat you eat that’s important it’s really the type of fat. Remember, there are good fats, and bad fats! When it comes to your health you need to be consuming the good fats which are things like coconut oil, ghee, raw nuts, avocados, and pastured free-range eggs.

There are many more junk foods masquerading around looking like health foods, which other ones have you been fooled by?



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18 Responses to 5 “Health” Food Products to Avoid

  1. Chelsie July 6, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    I had no idea about the low-fat peanut butter! What a sneaky thing for them to do!

    • Tia July 8, 2015 at 8:05 am #

      Right?! I think that same ploy happens with most fat-free and low-fat products on the market. They reduce the fat, but add in the extra sugar and chemicals.

  2. Rachel July 6, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    I’ve gotten into making my own energy bars. 🙂

    • Tia July 8, 2015 at 8:04 am #

      Me too!! They’re so easy to make. I just started making my own last year.

  3. Carlyn Bullock July 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    Heartbreaking news about FroYo 🙁

    • Tia July 8, 2015 at 8:03 am #

      Hearts breaking all around.

  4. melanie July 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    Love this! I’m guilty of eating these types of foods. This is really informative.

    • Tia July 8, 2015 at 8:03 am #

      Oh we all are guilty…but that’s why I love these types of informative posts. Now we can make informed choices rather than assuming if something is good for us or not.

  5. Jaime July 6, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    Definitely agree with all these! I use a lot of low fat/fat free items honestly, with the thinking that I can eat more of it. =P It’s a horrible problem but I’m working on fixing that!

  6. Kate - Catching Up With Kate July 6, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    oh man, I know froyo isn’t great for me, but we have it from time to time – I know it isn’t healthy but my husband always piles it up and puts tons of candy on it ‘what, it’s sorta healthy so it is OK!’ – yeah right! 😉

    • Tia July 8, 2015 at 7:45 am #

      Eeek!! Tell him to try putting the fruit and nuts on it instead if he wants to try and be “healthy.” At least it’s better than the candy 🙂

  7. Amanda Crowley July 6, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    Sad…about FroYo!!! Boo hoo!

    • Tia July 8, 2015 at 7:40 am #

      Just say FroNo ; )

  8. Heather Serra July 6, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    Ouch…my heart…:( FroYo, really??! Bummer. The vitamin water surprised me although it probably shouldn’t have. It’s pretty sweet. I should’ve suspected that. Thanks for the info!

    • Tia July 8, 2015 at 7:40 am #

      No problem, Heather. Whenever a label shows that sugar is the first ingredient, it’s a sure-tell sign that it’s not good for you.

  9. Sarah Twain July 6, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    Completely agree- fad products, but I still love FroYo on a hot day even if it is a little naughty.

    • Tia July 8, 2015 at 7:38 am #

      Fad-products indeed. I’m glad I caught on to Vitamin Water several years ago when I finally decided to read the label and realized there was a ton of sugar in them. I maybe eat Fro-yo once a year because I never feel good when I’m done eating it. Now that I know all of the crap that’s in it, it makes sense why I feel bloated and gross afterwards.

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