Health Food Impostors: Be Aware of What’s Really in Your Food

Story by Katherine Nunan
Feature Photo via Unsplash

Health food impostors, we see them everywhere – trendy health foods lining the shelves of every grocery store, each one offering exciting flavors, shiny hair, vitality and eternal life.

Some of these foods have been around for years, and many companies have revamped their product so that their once-overlooked benefits come to the forefront. The real question is, are they actually good for you? Or are their claims for glowing skin overshadowing large amounts of added sugar, sodium and carbs?

Which products are better, strictly in terms of nutrition, than others?

Many so-called “health” foods, such as smoothies, granola bars, low-fat yogurt, and oatmeal are, in reality, far from nutritious and beneficial to overall health. While each one is certainly a step up from potato chips and candy, it’s safe to say that you can’t replace an apple a day with an apple-pie protein bar with 18 grams of sugar (the daily intake for women should be around 25 grams.)

What’s Really in Your Food?
If you do some light research and label-scanning, you’ll find that sugar and saturated fat are often the biggest culprits hiding beneath certain benefits. These may balance out to a degree, but oftentimes, the astronomical levels of the “bad stuff” can outweigh that high fiber and potassium.

The best way to avoid being tricked by the less than healthy aspects of these items is to simply read what they have to say. Each pre-packaged food has a nutrition label, and they’re also available online. At restaurants, the nutrition facts are generally displayed along with ingredients on menus.

Most health food impostors do have some of the benefits they claim, of course. Heart-healthy oatmeal does indeed provide you with whole grains and iron, but it might also pack a punch in the sugar department.

Making Conscious Choices
If you’re worried about your intake of sugar, sodium, saturated fat or other ingredients, simply compare labels and choose the healthier option. Tropical Smoothie Café offers a wide variety of smoothies and food, each with a large range of nutritious value.

The “best” items on the menu, you ask? Depends on what you’re looking for!

As stated on their website, Tropical Smoothie Café offers over two dozen under-500 calorie options in both smoothies and food, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options. Each shop location, including the one in Mount Pleasant, offers a helpful nutrition chart so you can make the best decision based on what you want and don’t want.

In reality, it’s quite simple to sort out the food that’s truly good for you and the impostors hiding behind a label.

Enjoying the food that you eat is absolutely essential, though, so if you’re craving something, simply be wary that your triple-berry smoothie might include a little bit more than vitamins and antioxidants. Everything in moderation!