Healthy Food? Really?

In the tornado of media hype and confusion about what to eat and what not to eat the truth about healthy food often gets lost. So, before you push your buggy and make groceries at the Winn Dixie consider the real value of these foods you might think are a good choice. Perhaps the most misconstrued label a food can have is “low-fat.” This is especially true in the case of low fat peanut butter. When a nut butter is defatted it loses some of the healthy fat your body needs for hormone regulation, cell function and as an energy storehouse. Also, the food manufacturer has to replace the fat with something to maintain the texture and flavor the fat provided. In the case of low-fat peanut butter, this means added sugar and salt. Your best choice is natural peanut butter with nothing added and all of the unsaturated fats.

Bread labeled multi-grain or whole grain is thought to be a good choice by even well-informed consumers. However, 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat or unrefined is the wording you want to read at the top of the ingredients list. Leave the product on the shelf if you see the words enriched or refined.

Fruit is good for you. It contains vitamins, fiber and can be a low-calorie option as a snack or dessert. Fruit juice is not fruit. Even 100% fruit juices contain added sugar usually in the form of fructose. Stick with the real thing.

Protein bars may be an option as a snack or to supplement your nutrition if you struggle to eat right. At the same time, you might want to read the label before you open one and see how many of the ingredients you can actually pronounce, much less recognize. These sugar-packed chemistry experiments contain stabilizers, preservatives and the synthetic vitamins which are never as well assimilated in this form as they are from real food.