6 Dangerous Things You’re Buying at a Health-Food Store
Nowadays, you can’t go into a health store without products bombarding you with buzzwords like “gluten-free”, “whole grain” and “antioxidant-boosting.” But buyer beware, these foods are not all they’re made out to be. Some are even downright dangerous. Here are six foods to avoid on your next shopping trip.
Though yogurt may be chock-full of calcium and probiotics, it sometimes comes packed with an unhealthy amount of sweeteners. In fact, research indicates that some brands contain sugar on par with candy bars. This added sugar actually encourages the buildup of harmful microbes, endangering your body’s balance of healthy bacteria. And if that isn’t bad enough, eating copious amounts of sugar outweighs any fringe nutritional benefits the yogurt may have.
Meal Replacement Bars
We’ve all done it. And to be fair – meal replacement bars are actually a life saver for those hangry moments when you scour the contents of your car for a quick fix. To ensure you’re getting a delicious and nutritious option though, make sure to steer clear of candy bars in disguise. Some meal replacement bars are packed with high-fructose corn syrup as well as artificial flavors. Opt for a protein and high fiber option by choosing something with natural ingredients, like organic whole grains and fruit. Beware of anything with claims to be dessert like, because chances are it isn’t healthy and it doesn’t even taste like the treat you imagine.
Energy shots have grown in popularity in the last several years, in part due to the quick boost they give college students and office workers. These 2- to 3-ounce drinks usually contain caffeine, B vitamins, flavorings, sweeteners and amino acids, bringing health risks with their energy boosts. Drinking energy shots with other caffeinated drinks can cause quite a few problems. These range from an elevated heart rate to vomiting, insomnia and high blood pressure. Worse still, exercising in an already elevated state could trigger heart attacks or strokes.
Advertisers market agave as a natural alternative to conventional sweeteners, but it may be more harmful that the products it aims to replace. Todays’ agave nectar bears little resemblance to its traditional Mexican counterpart. Because commercial nectar is so highly processed, it’s devoid of the fructans that make it healthy. Instead, they’re converted fructose, which research links to liver disease, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. If you’re looking for a healthy sweetener, it’s better to stick to products like stevia and xylitol.
Ads for sports drinks may seem convincing, but for the average consumer, these beverages aren’t worth the price. These sugary drinks come fortified with sodium and electrolytes to help the body refuel after exercise. However, research shows that for people not regularly exercising, the added sugars can cause weight gain over time and are also very bad for your general health. If you want natural energy and to stay hydrated, the first step is to get a good night’s sleep. Additionally, never overestimate the effects of good old H2o. Hydration and sleep are the perfect combo for your physical health, as well as the added benefits of keeping your skin looking and feeling amazing. So, the next time you’re in need of some quick hydration, grab a bottle of water instead.
While the scientific community now recognizes three types of gluten-related conditions — wheat allergy, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity — that doesn’t inherently mean that cutting gluten will make you healthier. When buying gluten-free products, you still need to watch out for added preservatives and sugars. You should also keep in mind that your body converts carbohydrates directly into sugars, so remember that eating gluten-free is not a license to snack non-stop on blood-sugar-raising foods.
So if you really want to cut gluten from your diet, it’s best that you consult your medical provider or nutritionist to determine how you would actually benefit, and how to choose the healthiest gluten-free or grain-free alternatives for your diet.
It seems that every product these days has a hidden, health boosting benefit. Nevertheless, don’t get caught up in the hype. Before you buy, make sure what’s in the product and if it will actually make you healthier.