These So-Called ‘Healthy’ Snacks Are Total Scams
We hate to break it to you, but many of those so-called “healthy” snacks that you graze on throughout the day could be hurting — definitely not helping — your body. As it turns out, many of the snack options found on the aisles of your local health food store are actually junk food in disguise. And that’s not all. Even homemade healthy snacks, such as smoothies and nut mixtures can have a negative effect on your health.
Don’t believe us? Let these “healthy” snacks speak for themselves:
1. Fruit smoothies
We know what you’re thinking: “But, fruit is good for you!” And it is. However, a smoothie that is jam-packed with berries, bananas, and other fruits that are high in sugar, isn’t. In an article published by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Dr. Thomas M. Campbell says consuming these fruits as a liquid instead of a solid “may significantly change the immediate blood sugar spike and subsequent blood sugar fall you experience (in a bad way).”
If that’s not enough to scare your smoothie addiction off: Studies have shown that drinking a smoothie won’t satisfy your appetite in the same way solid food will. Meaning, if you’re someone who drinks a smoothie for breakfast — or any meal, for that matter — you’re more likely to consume more calories later on in the day because your body prefers to fuel itself with solids, rather than liquids.
Instead of making yourself a smoothie, try snacking on a bowl of fruit instead. Your body will respond better to the solid fruit and you won’t find yourself pigging out later on in the day.
2. Clif Bars
In the case against healthy snacks that aren’t actually healthy, nutrition bars are the biggest culprits — especially if you’re not eating them before, during, or after an intense workout (emphasis on intense). Contrary to popular belief, nutrition bars aren’t actually snacks. They’re to be used as fuel when on a hike, running, lifting weights — you get the picture. That being said, even if you’re eating these “snacks” post-sweat sesh, they’re still not considered healthy.
Take Clif Bars, for instance. The first ingredient in a Clif Bar is organic brown rice syrup. Don’t let the word “organic” fool you — brown rice syrup is a sugar, and according to the Mayo Clinic, sugar is your health’s worst enemy. That’s not all. For a healthy snack, Clif Bars have an extremely high calorie count — between 230 and 270 calories per bar — and their sugar and sodium levels amount to that of a Snickers candy bar. You wouldn’t eat a Snickers bar as a healthy snack, so why reach for a Clif Bar?
3. Terra Vegetable Chips
If you think vegetable chips are a healthy alternative to your chip addiction, think again. While many of them are baked — which is at least better than fried — the pieces of vegetables found in veggie chips, such as the Terra variety, are microscopic and much of the nutritional value is non-existent.
Not to mention: The added salt can cause potential harm to your health. It goes without saying that actual vegetables are the better snack option.
4. Microwave popcorn
While plain popcorn that is cooked on a stovetop is often considered a healthier snack choice, microwaved popcorn is not. For starters, the bag it comes in is lined with perfluorooctanoic acid — aka a chemical that the EPA has listed as a carcinogen. When heated, the chemical has been linked to catastrophic health concerns. On top of that, the ingredients found inside the toxin-lined bag include genetically modified (GMO) oils, trans fats, preservatives, and more. To add to the list: The kernels used in these microwaveable bags aren’t organic, which means they may — and probably do — contain traces of harmful pesticides.
The next time you host a movie night, try making your own stovetop popcorn using organic kernels. You can add your own healthy toppings, like coconut oil instead of butter and a variety of spices for flavor — just be sure to go easy on the salt.
5. Dried fruit
Dried fruit is like nature’s candy … in that it is just as sugary as actual candy. In an article published by Well+Good, certified nutritionist and founder of Slim and Strong, Ariane Hundt says that most dried fruits have double — sometimes triple — the amount of sugar found in fresh fruit. “We’re talking 70 grams of sugar per serving,” she shared with the publication.
The sugar found in fruit is not just any kind of sugar, it’s fructose sugar — the kind of sugar that makes you fat fast. Here’s how it works: The kidney converts fructose into VLDL cholesterol, which according to the Mayo Clinic is a type of cholesterol made up of about 50% triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat lipid in your blood that increases your body fat and puts you at a greater risk of heart disease.
Instead of dried fruit, opt for a bowl of fresh berries or melon to satisfy your snack craving!
6. Trail mix
A handful of raw almonds and cashews may be considered healthy, but combining these nutritious nuts with dried fruits and pieces of chocolate to create a delicious trail mix is quite the opposite. As we previously mentioned, dried fruit is extremely high in sugar and sugar is a big no-no when it comes to healthy snacks — and health in general. Add chocolate in there and you’ve managed to turn a blend of healthy nuts into a health disaster.
Another problem with trail mix? Once you start eating it, it’s hard to stop. While nuts are a great source of healthy fats, too many nuts can actually make you gain weight. Instead of munching on an endless bag of trail mix, we suggest measuring out a recommended amount of nuts into snack bags. That way you can still reap the benefits of these healthy fats without going overboard.
7. Non-fat yogurt
Forget everything you know about non-fat yogurt — it’s actually the worst. While it may be low in fat, it’s incredibly high in sugar. So much so that one serving of non-fat yogurt can amount to over half the daily recommended amount of sugar … and we all know what our bodies do with sugar. The reason why non-fat yogurt contains so much sugar is to make up for the fact that there is no fat. Because without the fat, yogurt doesn’t taste nearly as good.
Instead of snacking on non-fat, or low-fat yogurt, reach for plain whole fat yogurt — or, even better: plain, organic Greek yogurt.