In the pursuit of a healthy diet, it's crucial not to be misled by seemingly healthy foods. While there are some obvious culprits of weight gain to stay away from, such as highly processed snacks, even foods that are marketed as healthy and adorned with labels containing wellness buzzwords could actually be adding extra calories to your diet-and inches to your waistline.
To discover some of the worst surprisingly unhealthy options to steer clear of as you try to shed some pounds, we spoke to health experts Laurie Thenedy, dietitian CEO of Nutrition Renewed and Heather Hanks, nutritionist at Medical Solutions Barcelona. They told us that sugary granola and granola bars are two major offenders of sneaky weight gain. Learn more about the risks of these foods below.
Granola is often thought to be a healthy food. Maybe you add it to your yogurt, your smoothie bowls, or your oatmeal; maybe you simply eat it from a bowl with some milk-or maybe you even like it by the handful. Unfortunately, though, while there are a few good options out there. many varieties of granola aren't as healthy as they seem. Thenedy points out that they're frequently packed with sugar. For this reason, it's crucial to keep an eye on the nutrition label. Too much sugar can lead to a number of consequences over time.
"Don't be deceived by the healthy-looking packaging," Thenedy stresses. "Some brands of granola have anywhere from 10-16g of added sugars which is 40-64% of the recommended daily allowance." Say it ain't so! To ensure you're choosing healthy options, she recommends choosing those with less than 6g of added sugars per serving.
After learning about the pitfalls of sugary granola, it's probably not too surprising to hear that granola bars are another surprisingly unhealthy food to steer clear of. Although many people choose to snack on this processed food when they're on the go or start their day with one, Hanks says that the added sugars at hand can take a serious toll on your health. She even deems them the worst "healthy food" she can think of.
"Granola bars are the worst 'healthy' food for weight loss because they are full of inflammatory ingredients that prevent weight loss, including refined sugars and grains," she says. "Many food manufacturers claim that their granola bars are healthy because they contain oats."
This can definitely be deceiving. After all, oats offer up a ton of health benefits! However, the issue with granola bars lies in all of the added ingredients. "The added ingredients in granola bars are what make them so unhealthy," Hanks tells us. These include sugars, carbs, and more, all of which can lead to a slowed metabolism, inflammation, and, ultimately, weight gain. Yikes!
While many foods out there are labeled as healthy, it's always important to pay attention to the nutrition label and keep an eye out for harmful ingredients and excessive amounts of added sugars. Of course, sprinkling some granola on your yogurt or having a quick granola bar every now and then when you're on the go won't kill you; just stay aware of the risks, practice moderation, and choose healthier options whenever possible.
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