If you have a quick look at any food’s nutrient value, you will gain a startling insight into what you are putting into your body. But what about the foods you don’t even check? The foods that you know are good for you? You may be surprised at these unhealthy foods. RMA Namibia takes a deep dive into these foods.
The benefits: They are packed with healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So convenient and easy, they seem like the perfect solution.
The reality: They are basically liquid sugar, and taking in too much sugar has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and a host of other problems. Because you are juicing the fruit, you simply remove all the fibre and keep all the sugar. When buying a bottled juice or smoothie, check the nutrition table to ensure it has less than 15g of carbohydrates per serving. When making at home, only include one serving of fruit.
The benefits: This fizzy drink has seen a recent rise to fame as its proponents claim benefits ranging from gut health to cancer treatment.
The reality: During the fermentation process that creates kombucha, a large number of bacteria develops. Some of these may have probiotic effects. Various studies link probiotics to better digestion, reduced inflammation, and improved symptoms of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. The body contains anywhere from 100 to 300 trillion gut microbes. Even concentrated probiotic supplements only contain around 50 billion at most, and kombucha contains far fewer. That’s far from enough to make a noticeable difference in a person’s health. When bought in a store, you will mostly find “pasteurised” kombucha, which means most bacteria have been killed off anyway. Additionally, if you have a compromised immune system, you need to steer clear as all those bacteria can make you very ill.
The benefits: Chips that are actually good for you? Brilliant.
The reality: Your average “veggie chip” is just regular potato chips covered in veggie powder for some colouring. According to GQ.com, “Look at the ingredients panel if you want to see how much ‘vegetable’ your veggie chips actually contain. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, so whatever ingredients appear at the top of that list are the ones that make up the majority of the food.” Also, have a look at carbs, fat, calorie and sodium levels. The bright side is that you can quite easily make your own! Thinly slice beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes, drizzle them with olive oil and bake them at 220º C for 15 to 20 minutes or until they’re crisp.
The benefits: In recent years there has been a strong movement against gluten. It’s linked to a wide range of health complaints: skin reactions, stomach ailments, mood changes, and more. Many of us could do with cutting out gluten, but what are the alternatives?
The reality: Gluten intolerance is a fairly common concern. It’s characterised by adverse reactions to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. But here’s the big problem: Gluten makes food delicious. It gives cakes and pastries that chewy texture we are looking for, for example. In other words, when manufacturers take gluten out, they must put something else back in to make the product taste good. This is usually in the form of sugar and fat but can also be other additives. So ultimately, if you’re not actually gluten-intolerant, the regular biscuits might be the better option.
The benefits: Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. Proteins are made up of chemical ‘building blocks’ called amino acids. Your body uses amino acids to build and repair muscles and bones and to make hormones and enzymes. They can also be used as an energy source. Getting in that extra protein after a workout is also a good idea.
The reality: Protein bars can contain as much sugar as a regular candy bar and only a few extra grams of protein. Instead, get your protein from whole foods like eggs, meat, poultry, fish, beans, and legumes.
Which of these unhealthy foods did you find most surprising?
Unhealthy foods – Sources: