Food marketers have discovered that when they use certain buzzwords on food packaging, the food acquires an often misleading “health halo” that can prompt consumers to eat twice as much–or more–of it than they would otherwise.
The most dangerous, but alluring buzzwords are “fat-free” and “sugar-free,” both of which signal foods that can make you fat and sick. Here are four other nutrition imposters to avoid:
- Vitamin water. Most of these waters are just colored sugar water that’s bad for both your teeth and your waistline. A much smarter choice would be drinking actual vegetables, in the form of green water, made by adding a scoop of green mix to 16 to 32 ounces of water. Green mixes are available at most health food stores and grocers such as Whole Foods.
- Breakfast cereals. The boxes brag about fiber, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals that sound like a healthy start to your day. In truth, nutrients in many processed breakfast cereals mainly come from synthetic vitamins that have been added to disguise the dearth of natural nutrients. Additionally, many brands are high in sugar. A tasty, gluten-free alternative for your morning meal is my Brainy Breakfast Burrito.
- Vegetable chips. While these are marketed as a healthy snack option, the nutrition label reveals the ugly truth: They’re basically potato chips in disguise–high in salt, fat and calories, with most of the nutrients processed out of them. Choose salad or lightly cooked real vegetables instead.
- Store-bought smoothies. Commercial smoothies are typically loaded with sugar and calories. Visit the recipe section of my website to find out how to make my Brain-Smart Start Smoothie, which contains a delicious blend of fruit, vegetables, coconut water, and energy-enhancing protein powder, along with other wholesome ingredients.