Alternatives to health food

Published 11:59 am Friday, March 22, 2013

As a society, we are inundated and bombarded with myriad advertisements and commercials, pushing so called “healthy” food alternatives.

Let’s explore some of these, and see just how healthy or unhealthy these happen to be.

1) Light ice cream. Just because ice cream has the word light on the label doesn’t guarantee it has fewer calories. Also, some light ice creams are less satisfying, so you end up eating more. Instead: Try dairy-free ice cream. Soymilk ice creams have fewer calories, and they’re really satisfying.

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2) Baked potato chips. These chips may be lower in fat, but are still high in calories, and low in nutrients. Instead, try popcorn. You’ll get all the crunch of potato chips, but around 65 percent fewer calories. I recommend oil-free or air- popped corn.

3) Diet soda. Diet sodas have been linked to metabolic syndrome; symptoms include increased belly fat, which puts you at greater risk for heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Also, artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas are by their very nature, several, sometimes hundreds times sweeter than sugar. These sweeteners satisfy your mouth, but not your brain. In other words, your brain is all dressed up with no place to go. This makes you crave sugar, and creates an even bigger sweet tooth. Instead: Try flavored seltzer water. It’s refreshing and has zero calories. Make sure there are no artificial flavors or colors in your seltzer water. If you want to flavor seltzer water even more, use fruit juices.

4) Non-fat salad dressings. These dressings may have no fat, but that doesn’t mean they have no calories. Most fat-free dressings are loaded with sugar. Also, you want a little fat with your salad. Without any fat, you can’t absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Instead: Try olive oil based dressings.