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  • Kimberly Paige

When "Healthy" is a Big, Fat Lie

It pisses me off when people receive misinformation from trusted sources.

Unfortunately, when it comes to our food choices there are plenty items being marketed as healthy options that are not particularly good for us. Sigh.

The other day I went to the local chain drugstore to pick up some hair products, etc. and while there I see a display of *HEALTHY SNACK CHOICES* that consists of a bunch of “non-fat”, “gluten-free”, “all natural” products like sweet potato chips, cereal bars, etc.

While there’s nothing wrong with choosing to snack on these foods if you like them, please don’t choose to snack on them because you believe they are healthy. Every one of the “healthy” foods on display was highly processed and chock full of chemicals, preservatives, and other additives.

It's frustrating, isn't it? People are explicitly told that a certain food is healthy, and so choose it with the best of intentions, yet that food is doing absolutely nothing positive for their health.

Sadly, these lies are intentional and harmful. (Pants on fire!) The companies selling these products know what is in their “food” and they are appealing to your desire to eat healthier, but not providing you with a healthier option.

That's why YOU have got to look out for YOU.

I find the following 3 *FOOD LIES* to be particularly irritating:

  • Non-fat products parading as healthy choices: when naturally occurring fat is removed from food (such as dairy products) something needs to replace the fat to make the food taste good—that something is usually sugar. Artificial ingredients are also frequently added to give the products the mouth-feel of the “real thing”. BOTTOM LINE = ditch the non-fat/low-fat products and enjoy full fat yogurt, cheese, etc. It is so much tastier and satisfying than the non-fat version that you can use small portions.

  • Gluten-free products parading as healthy choices: unless you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, gluten-free products are not inherently beneficial to your health. Gluten-free breads, crackers, cookies, etc. are as highly processed as their wheat-based counterparts. BOTTOM LINE = processed food is processed food with or without gluten.

  • “All natural” products parading as healthy choices: “all natural” is a marketing ploy that can be used on just about any product. A product does not have to meet any particular standards to label itself “all natural”. BOTTOM LINE = if it doesn’t look and taste natural, it isn’t.

The simplest way to eat healthier is to eat more food that is close to its natural state (real food) and less food that is highly processed (fake food).

A common—but solid!—piece of advice is to shop mostly the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where most of the real food lives—vegetables, fruits, eggs, meats, nuts, etc. For the most part, food that comes in a box and can live on your pantry shelf indefinitely is not your healthiest option.

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