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Beware of These Sneaky Health Halo Foods, According to a Dietitian

Dietitian Reveals 4 Sneaky “<a data-ail="5036400" target="_blank" href="https://www.world-today-news.com/category/health/" >Health</a> Halo” Foods to Avoid

Dietitian Reveals 4 Sneaky “Health Halo” Foods to Avoid

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Published May 1, 2024, 6:20 p.m. ET


Are you being deceived by “health halos” in your food choices? Registered dietitian, Courtney Smith, founder of The Keys to Nutrition, warns about the misleading marketing tactics used in the packaging of certain food items. These so-called “healthy” products can often hide harmful ingredients, leading consumers astray. In this article, we will uncover four sneaky “health halo” foods that you should avoid to make informed dietary choices.

1. Granola/Granola Bars

Smith recommends eating calorically dense granola as a topping rather than by the bowlful. [Photo: Christian Johnston]

Granola may seem like a healthy cereal option due to its appealing packaging, but it often contains a high amount of added sugar, used to form clumps. To enjoy granola, Smith recommends using it as a topping instead of consuming it in large quantities by the bowlful.

Granola bars, on the other hand, should be used as a last resort. Smith advises using them as a lightweight snack only in cases of missed meals or limited options. For a nutrient-dense snack, she recommends options such as apples with peanut butter, hummus with carrots, cottage cheese with pineapple, or Greek yogurt with berries.

2. Trail Mix

Trail Mix
Many commercially sold trail mixes contain candy, chocolate, sweetened nuts, or excessive amounts of dried fruit. [Photo: Aleksej]

Trail mix may appear to be a healthy snack, but be cautious when consuming commercially sold options. They often contain candy, chocolate, sweetened nuts, or excessive amounts of dried fruit, meaning that the serving size you may desire to consume is much less than you think. This energy-dense snack is typically intended for hiking or other time when a ready-to-eat snack without refrigeration is needed.

3. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter
Manufacturers often dilute reduced-fat peanut butter with fillers, decreasing the healthy, natural fat content. [Photo: Shutterstock / inewsfoto]

Contrary to popular belief, opting for reduced-fat peanut butter may not be the best choice. Peanut butter is naturally high in heart-healthy fats. However, manufacturers dilute reduced-fat versions by adding fillers. Consequently, these products have reduced fat content but increased sugar and other ingredients. It is advisable to vary your nut butter choices to benefit from the unique vitamins and minerals offered by different types, such as peanut, almond, cashew, and sunflower.

4. Vitamin and Fat-Burning Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks
Energy drinks with added vitamins do not provide additional energy unless you have a specific deficiency.

Energy drinks claiming to boost energy or aid in fat burning often don’t deliver on their promises. Unless you have a specific deficiency, consuming B vitamins in energy drinks will not increase your energy levels. Additionally, any food product claiming to “burn fat” is a red flag. To boost metabolism and fat-burning potential, focus on strength training exercises and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule of around eight hours per night. A lack of sleep is considered stressful for the body and can contribute to increased appetite.

By being aware of these four deceptive “health halo” foods, you can make more informed decisions about your diet. Remember to prioritize foods with recognizable and wholesome ingredients, and don’t solely rely on front package claims. By flipping to the regulated nutrition facts label, you can better track your intake and make healthier choices overall. Stay informed and nourish your body wisely.

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