Foods can be deceiving

As many of us know, the right and wrongs of food can send your head into a spin. As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with so called ‘expert opinions’ on what and how much to eat but what if I told you the ‘healthy’ foods that you have been investing in are not as good as you think and you may be better off going to McDonalds?

1. Salad
For most people salad is one food that is definitely healthy. Lettuce leaves with a few other ingredients how could it not be? In conjunction with this belief and to tackle the rising obesity levels, McDonald’s fast-food chain introduced a Caesar Salad to their menu with the choice of either a plain salad or one with a dressing. Better for you than a Big Mac, right? Wrong. Studies undertaken into the fast-food chain revealed that a standard burger provided half the calories a McDonalds salad ever would, misleading slimmers worldwide. Did you know adding a tablespoon of olive oil to your salad means adding on an extra 100 calories?

2. Diet Drinks
Liquid sugar is one way of describing the soft drinks Coke, Fanta and 7up. With up to 135 calories per can of these thirst quenchers, the diet version seems far more sensible for those wishing to keep a trim and tidy waistline. Recently, however, scientists have undertaken tests with some bewildering results: if you’re expecting a calorie-free sugar hit with a diet beverage, you’ll be sorely mistaken. The fact of the matter is, diet drinks are even worse for you than their sugary counterparts. Sweeteners such as aspartame not only flavour the drinks but have some undesirable effects. They not only make you crave food, but also cause headaches, bloating, asthma and heart disease in some cases.

3. Smoothies
Truth be told, smoothies contain a huge amount of added sugar to boost the flavour and sometimes also contain added sherbert to give that extra kick. They can also be high in calories and sugar, leading to a dreaded weight gain. A healthier alternative is to make your own. This way you can control what goes into your glass and leave any unwanted ingredients out.

4. Low-Fat Ready Meals
We all live busy lives and are usually juggling many tasks at once, so no-one can blame you for chucking the odd ready meal into your shopping basket. Weight-loss programmes such as WeightWatchers encourage followers to buy their produce, promising a loss on the scales each week. Although this may be true, it doesn’t mean your insides are smiling. So-called ‘healthy ready meal alternatives’ give the impression of a low-calorie, body-friendly dinner: which proves to be far from the truth. Sodium, acids, sugars and sauces are all added to enhance the flavour of a bland ‘healthy meal’. Throwing together your own meal in the evening may be more time-consuming but, in the long run, your body will thank you!

5. Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but the breakfast cereals marketed towards children and young people can be very misleading. A study looking at cereal content found that 56 of the most popular brands contained more than 25-26 per cent sugar. The packages may seem to scream out ‘high-in-fibre’ and ‘nutritious’, but they will leave your body crying out for a detox at the end of the week.

Michelle Storey

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