We often mistake or overestimate the nutritional value of foods and drinks due to the way they are marketed. Other times, it may be less a matter of nutrition and more about consuming them in the right state and portion size.
Here are five foods that may not be as healthy or harmless as you would believe:
1. Banana chips
While they seem harmless, one serving of banana chips contains up to 10 grams of saturated fat. Being soaked in coconut oil is to blame as the chips undergo a deep-frying process.
“You have to tell yourself, wait a minute, this isn’t really different from potato chips,” said Kim Arrey, a registered dietitian from Montreal.
Apart from limiting your consumption, consider baking banana slices in an oven at a low temperature yourself. This way, you can avoid the added sugar and other harmful ingredients used during manufacture.
2. Sports drinks
Numerous studies found no difference in electrolyte measures when comparing marathon runners who consume sports drinks during the marathon to those who drink water.
Dr. Troy Madsen, an emergency room physician from the University of Utah Hospital, noted participants also felt no difference in cramps, nausea, and any such symptoms
“If you feel [sports drinks] make a difference for you, go for it,” he said. “Don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money on a lot of things. Water’s fine. Just stay hydrated while you’re exercising.”
3. Microwave popcorn
While air-popped popcorn can be a healthy snack, it may be worth avoiding microwavable popcorn which comes in a brown bag. The smell emitted from a freshly popped bag can be harmful if inhaled regularly.
Numerous manufacturers can add up to a half gram of trans fat per serving without disclosing it in the nutrition facts label, according to Prevention. The website also provides a list of healthy brands if you would like to opt for microwavable options.
Granola may be categorized among healthy breakfast options as it can serve as a source of protein, iron, fiber, and more. But it should be consumed with some caution as it can also contain hydrogenated oils and large quantities of sugar.
Opt for brands with minimal added sugar and make sure to avoid overeating.
“The serving size for granola is smaller than cereal, not a whole bowl,” said Melissa O’Shea, the director of nutrition at Exhale Spa. The ideal amount would be a quarter or a third of a cup.
5. Dried fruits
Apart from unnecessary sugar, dried fruits may contain preservatives like sulfur dioxide to extend their shelf life. A Hong Kong consumer council found at least one type of preservative when they tested 50 samples from the market in 2012.
“Despite its low toxicity, sulfur dioxide can cause allergic reactions like asthmatic attacks, headaches or nausea in some people sensitive to the chemicals,” said Professor Ron Hui Shu-yuen, vice-chairman of the council’s community relations committee.
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