5 Pseudo-Healthy Foods—and 5 That Are Healthier Than You Think
Pseudo-Healthy Food: Diet Soda
It may seem like the perfect way to save calories and slash your sugar intake, but studies show that diet drinkers actually weigh more than regular-soda drinkers. For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese tied to a 2-can-a-day habit is 57 percent compared to 46 percent for regular soda drinkers. Diet soda may throw off your natural appetite regulation, causing you to eat more sweets. It may also trick you into thinking it's OK to indulge in high calorie foods because you "saved" by choosing diet soda.
Pseudo-Healthy Food: Pretzels
The label may shout 'fat free' and seem like a better alternative to chips, but they're made with refined white flour stripped of its vitamins and antioxidants. They're also dense so they pack a ton of carb calories for a very small serving, and they’re not filling. Think of it this way—one 15-ounce bag contains the equivalent of 24 slices of white bread.
Pseudo-Healthy Food: Spinach Wrap
It looks green and good for you but spinach powder is only a scant ingredient. These wraps are typically made from refined white flour and the green hue primarily comes from food colorings (Blue No. 1 and Yellow No. 5.). In other words, you can't rely on the immune boosting vitamins A and C found in fresh spinach and it's much higher in calories. One cup of cooked spinach provides 65 calories (105 less than a spinach wrap), and doesn't count as a veggie serving. Not to mention the fact that the fillings often include ingredients like fried chicken, ranch dressing, cheese and bacon!
Pseudo-Healthy Food: Blueberry Scone
Even a trans-fat-free wild blueberry scone packs over 400 calories (the amount an entire meal should supply) and over 50 percent of the maximum amount of artery-clogging saturated fat intake for an entire day. They also don't count as a serving of fruit and they're devoid of dietary fiber.
Pseudo-Healthy Food: Vitamin Water
Yes, it has vitamins, but at up to 200 calories per bottle (50 per serving with 4 servings per jug), just one of these a day can cause a 20-pound weight gain in a year's time if the calories aren't burned off.