Has there ever been a term harder to define than healthy food? Read a few labels and pretty soon it seems as if anything that doesn't flat-out kill you can call itself nutritious. But in most cases, things aren't so obvious. Here are some ostensibly good-for-you foods that diet specialists look at with a skeptical eye.
REDUCED-FAT PEANUT BUTTER
Taking out the fat sometimes means putting in artificial sweeteners. That can add up to a savings of just 0.5 g of fat and 10 calories per serving--along with a cloying flavor.
It starts off fine, but as with its frozen cousin, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings and colorings add calories and yuckiness. Avoid the fruity kind and stick with plain.
The probiotic bacteria that are part of fro yo's appeal aren't present in the same quantities in all brands. And in self-serve shops, it's easy to overdo portions, pile on toppings and rack up calories.
These are a must for people who are gluten-sensitive or who have celiac disease, an autoimmune condition. For everyone else, they're just a food fad--one that often comes with extra sugar, saturated fats and preservatives.
HIGH-FIBER AND WHOLE-GRAIN CEREAL AND BREAD
A good idea--but be careful. Unless you're buying these at a health-food store, you may be getting added sweeteners and caramel coloring. And not all the whole grains are actually whole.
PROCESSED SOY PRODUCTS
The problem is the processing part, which removes healthy carbs, fat and fiber and leaves only the protein isolate. Processed soy products are also linked to hormone imbalances in some people.