When Healthy Food Turns Unhealthy

By Deb Lowther

Muffin lovers beware, that whole grain fruit/vegetable bran muffin you are about to eat actually has more fat, more calories and more sugar than an apple fritter donut!

That is just one of the surprising facts I noticed when I went looking for healthy foods at fast food and snack counters. We are all trying to make healthy choices but sometimes the muffin, granola bar and popcorn we choose is a healthy food that has silently become unhealthy!

Be a label reader and be aware that just because it is a salad or a muffin, does not make it healthier than a burger or a donut! Here is how to spot some of the impostors:

Unhealthy Healthy Food 

The dressing. Be a label reader and at restaurants always check the nutrient guide for the salad dressings offered for your favorite fast food salad.  Go for vinegar or yogurt based dressings with only 1gr fat per tbsp.

Look what I found:
Chicken Ranch Salad at Drive thru – 31gr FAT, 590 Calories, 25gr Sugar, 1480gr Sodium
Compared to:
1/4lb burger at same Drive thru – 33gr FAT, 590 Calories, 10gr Sugar, 1240gr Sodium

Peanut Butter
Peanut butter made with JUST peanuts is an excellent health food loaded with protein, but look what is in most peanut butter. Sweeten a natural peanut butter sandwich with apple slices or bananas.

Look what I found:
Creamy Peanut butter – peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt, fancy molasses, maltodextrin, icing sugar.        2tbsp  = 16gr FAT, 3gr Sugar, 8gr Protein
Compared to:
Natural Peanut Butter – peanuts.   2tbsp - 16gr FAT, 2gr Sugar, 10gr Protein

All healthy right? Definitely a better choice than the donut you secretly really want to order.  The next time you go for the Blueberry bran, have a look at the chain’s nutritional breakdown.  You might be surprised what you find.

Look what I found:
Blueberry Bran muffin – 13gr FAT, 280 Calories, Fibre 4gr, Sugar 24gr
Whole Grain Carrot muffin – 13gr FAT, 360 Calories, Fibre 4gr, Sugar 29gr
Compared to:
Apple Fritter donut – 8gr FAT, 290 Calories, Fibre 2gr, Sugar 15gr
Chocolate Dip donut -  14gr FAT, 270 Calories, Fibre 1gr, Sugar 16gr

Homemade Oatmeal Applesauce Muffin – 3.7gr FAT, 177 Calories, Fibre 4 gr, Sugar 15gr

Granola Bars
Many granola and energy bars are filled with high fructose corn syrup and contain as much fat and sugar as a candy bar.  For a quick snack with protein and fiber reach for a pear, cheese or your own mixture of almonds and dried apricots.

Look what I found:
28gr Chewy chocolate chip granola bar – 4gr FAT, 1gr Fibre, 9gr Sugar, 1gr Protein
28 gr Sweet & salty granola bar  – 9gr FAT, 11gr Sugar, 4gr Protein
Compared to:
28 gr  Snickers bar – 6gr FAT, .5gr Fibre, 13gr Sugar, 2gr Protein

Popcorn has received a lot of positive attention for being a low calorie, good fibre snack food but beware of the unhealthy popcorns out there!

Look what I found (16 cups)
Large movie popcorn – 57gr FAT, 1030 Calories, 630mg Sodium, 16gr Fibre
Purchased bag popcorn – 90gr FAT, 1440 Calories, 1900mg Sodium, 19gr Fibre
Microwave popcorn – 24gr FAT, 680 Calories, 1500mg Sodium, 12gr Fibre

Compared to:
Air popped Popcorn at home – 5gr FAT, 500 Calories, 10gr Sodium, 17gr Fibre
(if you add 1/2 tsp salt is 1000mg of sodium, 12gr FAT in 1 tbsp butter)

So check those labels and ask at restaurants to find the healthy food offered on their menu's.  Most times it is there, but maybe not exactly where you thought! 



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