Fake Health Foods

Submitted by Bingham Memorial’s Weight Loss Center

We now know that most fruit juices are basically just all sugar, and it’s better to eat real fruit instead. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has said kids really shouldn’t drink it at all. We also know that granola bars aren’t health food, and that diet soda can actually make you heavier, while increasing risk of serious illness. In addition, wraps aren’t any better than sandwiches made with bread.

Tammy Fouse, DO, general surgeon and fellowship-trained bariatric surgeon at Bingham Memorial’s Weight Loss Center, pulls off the mask that’s been hiding the real identity of so-called “health foods” for far too long.

Fruit Juices
While many people think of consuming calories by only eating food, they don’t often know how easy it is to drink an excess of calories, too. One unhealthy culprit is fruit juice.

“In essence, all of the fiber has been removed from fruit juices, which means only the sugar is left and no longer as healthy as consuming a whole piece of fruit,” says Dr. Fouse. “This can lead to several issues.”

Fruit juice can contain just as much sugar and calories as a can of soda. And, if a child consumes too much fruit juice, this can result in weight gain and lots of cavities. In fact, the AAP recommends children under the age of one do not drink fruit juice and kids should drink a very limited amount.

Diet Soda
For years, countless studies and reports have revealed how unhealthy diet soda is. For one, aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet sodas, contains an amino acid called phenylalanine. In some scientific studies, like one from the National Institutes of Health, phenylalanine has been shown to hinder our production of serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter that regulates mood). Overtime, this can cause serious depression.

Fake sugars also mess with your system as a whole. Artificial sweeteners actually cause your body to release insulin, which tells your body to store fat and leads to weight gain. Then, when you do consume real sugar, your body doesn’t know what to do with it because it’s been tricked for so long by fake sugar. As a result, the body doesn’t release the hormone that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure.

Dr. Fouse says, “While I recommend not drinking diet soda, you don’t have to cut out diet soda completely. Perhaps just enjoy it like a special treat, as you would with dessert. Just don’t make it an everyday thing.”

Granola Bars
Granola bars are not all together bad, but they can be tricky if you’re not paying attention to the nutrition label. If you want to eat healthy granola or granola bars, take the time to compare labels. A rule of thumb is to stick to brands that have less than 8 grams of sugar. Many brands contain tons of sugar, which provides a temporary energy boost followed by a crash.

All wrapped up in the sandwich wrap hysteria? Let’s unwrap the wrap and see what we’re dealing with.

You might be surprised to hear that wraps aren’t actually saving you as many calories when compared to sliced bread. On average, a wrap has 200 calories, just as many as you’d get in two slices of whole grain bread. And, because wraps are much bigger than two slices of bread, you’re at risk for adding a lot more calories with more fillings inside a wrap than a typical sandwich.

Foods to Enjoy
Making the time to plan, prepare, and eat well-rounded meals and healthy snacks can be just as enjoyable as sugary treats. Nuts and seeds, beans, green, leafy vegetables, fruits, and fortified breads and cereals (low in sugar) should all be part of your diet. Keep an eye on your sugar and caloric intake and try your best to eat real foods as opposed to anything processed.

“While this can be difficult to do every day, try this: Do your best to stick to this diet plan about 80 percent of the time, leaving yourself a little room for indulgent treats,” says Dr. Fouse. “In addition, don’t forget to get about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week.”

EM-POW-ER Weight Loss Program

If you’ve been on a weight-loss journey for a while and are unhappy with your progress, Bingham Healthcare’s EM-POW-ER Weight Loss program might be right for you. There are several new components to the program, including nutrition education. People in the program meet with a specialized dietitian to review food choices and learn how to incorporate those choices into a healthy living style.

For more information, please call (208) 782-3993, or sign up for a free seminar at www.IdahoEmpower.com. Seminars are held throughout East Idaho every month.

Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Return to Articles

Health Resource Library

Subscribe to Emails