Not-So-Healthy 'Health' Foods
Some foods you think are good for you may not be all they seem
Hidden Diet Hazards continued...
But nutritionists say hidden nutritional dangers can be lurking even in
these seemingly healthy foods.
"The breakfast cereals and frozen dinners can be loaded with sodium and
sugar, the turkey burger loaded with fat, and peanuts coated with honey and
sugar," says Sandon. "It's very easy to make otherwise healthy foods
For example, the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest
(CSPI) recently found that a popular brand of banana chips not only had added
sugar, but were deep-fried in saturated oil, giving them 8 grams of fat per
serving -- about the same as a fast-food burger.
While even marginally health-conscious shoppers know that packaged lunch
meats and canned soups can be laden with sodium, how many of us would think to
check the label on our breakfast cereal? Some cereals, Heller says, contain as
much as 500 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Equally surprising is how much fat, sugar, or sodium may be lurking in your
"Some ground turkey can have a higher percentage of fat than extra-lean
ground beef," says Sandon, while many raw turkey breasts are injected with
"flavor enhancers," which loads them with sugar and salt.
"Come Thanksgiving, you should definitely read those turkey labels as
well as asking your butcher for fat content on all ground meats before you
buy," she says.
Label Me Confused
Of course, reading labels is important whenever you're trying to make
healthy food choices. But if you're only reading the front of the package, you
could still get into trouble.
According to the CSPI, a good example of why this is true can be found in
certain brands of "enhanced water" (water with added vitamins and
herbs). According to CSPI research, at least some of these brands also add
sugar -- taking a glass of water from zero calories to 125 calories.
Another healthy dose of confusion, say experts, can come from some foods
labeled "light," "all natural," or even "organic."
"Most people don't realize that 'light' olive oil, for example, isn't
lower in calories or fat -- it's just lighter in color and taste," says
Klein. Potato chips labeled "all natural" she says, are nothing more
than potato chips without the preservatives; they're still loaded with fat and