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Foods You Thought Were Healthy, But Are Not!

Posted on 04/16/2014

Recently our staff registered dietitian, Rene Ficek, compiled a list of “six foods you thought were healthy, but are not” and I thought the list was so informative that I wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did!

Rene’s six foods you thought were healthy, but are not:

1. Sports Drinks: The drink is said to replace electrolytes lost through exercise and exertion during the course of working out and exercise. However, for the vast majority of people, there are several health reasons why NOT to drink this regularly, or at all. Studies have associated this sugar-laden beverage with high blood pressure since it is high in sodium. It is also connected to dental cavities due to its high sugar content, and weight gain because it is high in calories. My advice is to skip it altogether, unless you are an elite athlete that loses sweat for several hours (think marathon).

2. Smoothies: Smoothies can be a tasty way to get your recommended daily fruit and vegetable servings. But purchased smoothies are most likely oversized portions that can have as much as 650 to 1,000 calories or more in them due to the extreme portions of fruit, vegetables and, often times, added simple sugars and syrups. That smoothie you think is so healthy may in fact have more calories than a cheeseburger! Often times we feel more comfortable getting larger sizes of smoothies because they contain plant-based nutrients our bodies need, but as with anything, you can overdo it. Whole fruits and vegetables without additives are best.

3. Frozen Diet Entrées: They look so well-balanced, colorful and often times provide a fruit and a vegetable within one frozen meal, but looks can be deceiving. These meals are often heavily processed and filled with fat and salt. And while some may be low in calories, they’re also low in nutrients. For example, refined grains may be used instead of whole grains. These frozen meals are a great example of quick, convenient food that provides no bang for your nutritional buck. Frozen fruits and veggies are much healthier options, as long as you look for options without added sauces or salt.

4. Energy, Protein and Fiber Bars: Many energy, fiber and protein bars are equivalent to a candy bar. These bars make claims of being high in fiber or protein, but other than these added-in nutrients, there’s not much else. Want fiber and protein? Have an apple or some cheese instead! It’s a much better option for your waistline and overall health.

5. Frozen Yogurt: Frozen yogurt is once again everywhere you look! It seems so much better than ice cream, but is it? Regarding saturated fat content, yes, it is. But in other ways, it isn’t. In terms of calories and simple sugars, they’re closer than you think to ice cream. Once we load up frozen yogurt with sugar-packed and fat-laden toppings, it’s pretty much equal to its ice-cream counterparts! Plus, we feel inclined to have an extra-large serving since we perceive it as a lower calorie and healthier option than old-fashioned ice cream.

6. Fat-Free Sweets: Fat-free cookies and cakes are deceiving. “Fat-free” claims encourage bigger portions, yet many times not fulfilling our sweet cravings. Further, the sugar replaces the fat in these products so you’re still getting a high number of calories. Or worse yet, these fat-free sweets could also be loaded with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K and neotame. In small doses, sugar is totally fine. But when choosing artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, they can reset your taste buds to crave even more sugary foods. This stimulation of sweet taste often leads to eating more junk food over time. Additionally, the safety of these sweeteners is controversial at best.

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It’s been 13 weeks since we officially kicked off the Seattle Sutton’s 2014 Slim Down Contest in Northwest Indiana and our contestants are continuing to lose weight each week. This week’s total loss is 422.2 pounds! Way to go, contestants! Only TWO more weeks until we name the winner of this year’s Slim Down Contest. For the latest contest coverage, check out their progress on our Facebook page and read the latest news about our contestants.


Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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