Unhealthy Snacks Marketed as Healthy

By on July 19, 2013

unhealthy snacks marketed as healthyIt should go without saying that potato chips and candy are not healthy snacks. Still, deep down, many people will choose to eat these salty processed anti-nutrients.

However, it’s far worse when they turn to what they think is a healthy snack only to find out that it’s unhealthy.

Unhealthy snacks saturate grocery stores. They’re all over the place, and unfortunately, due to fancy packaging and slick advertising, people have no idea that what they’re putting into their body is damaging their health.

People often fall for promises of health benefits and the promises of calorie conscious packages because they assume that they can trust the labels.

Here Are A Few Unhealthy Snacks Marketed As Healthy:

Anything With Soy That Has Not Been Fermented

From soy based energy bars to soy candy to soy ice cream, soy has become one of the biggest staples in the health food industry. Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition 2008 reported that more than 85 percent of consumers view products with soy as being healthy and more than 80 percent of consumers also believe that eating soy protein on a daily basis will result in a reduction of heart disease.

Most of this conception stems from a combination of shrewd marketing and the general perspective on Asian cultures. In most Asian countries, soy is eaten in small amounts, and fermented first (fermentation makes soy less harmful to humans).

That said, however, soy is far from healthy. It is in fact, a potential player in a whole host of health problems.

Dr. Joseph Mercola further points out that the soy bean is served whole, and it is not genetically modified. In the United States and much of Europe, soy bean is separated into protein and oil while it is also generally genetically modified. This creates not only a loss of the benefits of soy but also increases the risk for a number of diseases and disorders including:

  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney stones
  • Food allergies
  • Heart disease
  • Lowered fertility
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Increased weight gain
  • Lowered metabolism

So if you’re looking for a healthy snack, pass on anything with soy. You’ll find that this eliminates most of the so-called health food options since soy is one of the most common proteins in the health industry. But you’ll be doing your body a favor if you just say no.

Rice Cakes

What could be more synonymous with a healthy snack than rice cakes? Unfortunately, rice cakes and health have nothing in common. Shape Magazine even lists rice cakes as one of the seven foods a nutritionist would never eat.

Rice cakes first became popular in the late 1980s. Looking at them from a caloric perspective, they might appear to be a good choice.

The problem though is that they have virtually no nutritional benefit, and they easily rank at 90 on the glycemic index.The glycemic index goes up to 100 with (100 being pure sugar). This means that eating rice cakes is akin to putting your blood sugar levels on a rocket and launching it into space. And rest assured, it will crash just as low as it went high. Rice also functions primarily as a filler food. It’s there to make the stomach feel full. A serving of dark, sugar-free chocolate, despite being higher in calories, would be a far better choice than a rice cake.

Seitan

Another popular ingredient in a number of “healthy” snacks is seitan. For those who don’t want to indulge in soy, seitan might seem like the perfect alternative. It’s hailed as the best tasting fake meat out there, but it comes with a number of potential health problems. Seitan is not soy; it’s pure wheat gluten-a potentially dangerous protein.

Most products with wheat do not have nearly the concentration of wheat gluten that seitan does. It’s quite similar to shooting gluten straight into your veins, and this can cause significant problems in weight gain, inflammation, chronic pain, and more. It may not have the calories of meat, but it also doesn’t have the benefits.

Wheat Products-Yes, Even “Whole” Wheat.

The box of “whole wheat” Triscuits? Pass. Sun Chips? Wheat Thins?  Pass, pass, pass. These processed, packaged foods would do better as cat litter than for human consumption.  Not only do they contain the dangerous (yet still popular) food wheat, which spikes blood sugar and insulin response, but in addition, they also contain the potentially dangerous protein gluten, which may cause a whole host of problems as well.

To top it off, most wheat products today in the United States are genetically modified, so that what appears to be wheat is not really wheat any more, and subject to a host of problems to a species never designed to eat genetically modified foods.

Many people find that just making the change away from wheat can have substantial effects on their overall health.

With So Much Junk Out There, What Should We Snack On Instead?

The good news is that there is hope, and plenty of it.  The first thing to keep in mind is the simple premise of eating real food.

Overwhelmingly, real food doesn’t come in packages. Furthermore, real food doesn’t have ingredients that are difficult to prononuce. From there, eating healthy isn’t that hard. Even for snacks.  From seasoned crackers made from almond meal, to Low-carb gluten free cookies, and from home made beef jerky to a host of others, there are plenty of healthy foods instead.

 

 

References

“Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition 2008,” Soy Foods Association of North America (2008).

Dr. Joseph Mercola, “This “Miracle Health Food Has Been Linked to Brain Damage and Breast Cancer,” Mercola,  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/18/soy-can-damage-your-health.aspx (2010).

Dr. Mike Roussell, “7 Foods a Nutritionist Would Never Eat,” Shape Magazine, http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/7-foods-nutritionist-would-never-eat (2010).

About Michael Tremba

Dr. Michael Tremba, once severely overweight himself, has studied to distinguish the truth about weight loss, and the shocking mis-information that's taught to us by many "trusted" groups. Through the techniques that have helped him regain his health, he shares uncommon tools to help anyone else desiring to lose weight to live the life they're meant to. He enjoys reading, exercising, travelling, and spending time with his wife, Shari in Mobile, Alabama Find me on Twitter, Google+ and let's connect on LinkedIn.
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