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10 so-called healthy foods that are actually bad for you!

Check out the truth behind multigrain, low fat, baked, diet and all other so-called healthy food options.

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : June 5, 2015 8:39 AM IST

We all know about the MSG-lead controversy that Maggi, the most favoured instant noodles, is facing now. Even the brand ambassadors who endorsed the product, claiming that it had nutritional benefits are dragged in the entire drama.

But take a backseat and think: Are the other packaged foods that claim of various health benefits safe to consume? Here Dhvani Shah, paediatric nutritionist and author of the book Don t Just Feed...Nourish Your Child talks about those with misleading health claims and why you should not fall prey to their promises.

1. Fruit flavoured powders

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Two scoops of any fruit flavoured powder added to one glass of water is enough to quench your thirst and replenish lost energy, especially after being outdoors. You think that it is an excellent health drink as the packet says it comes fortified with Vitamin A, C, E etc. Here are 15 ways in which Vitamin C, from natural sources can keep you healthy.

Reality check: These powders contain no real fruit, are loaded with artificial sugar, synthetic colours, flavours, fortification and preservatives that cause more harm than good. They raise blood sugar levels, cause water retention, result in long term micronutrient deficiencies, affect the vocal cord and cause weight gain.

2. Packaged fruit juices

If not a fruit, a glass of fruit juice will do, right? No, wrong. Fruit juices cannot replace the nutritional value of a whole fruit even if they are fortified and enriched with 10 nutrients.

Reality check: Each glass of packed fruit juice contains only three percent of real fruit pulp and about five teaspoons of sugar! Not to forget the added colours, flavours and preservatives. Do you still wish to grab a pack of juice?

3. Baked and diet snacks

You want to stick to healthy eating, lose weight but still crave for farsan, samosas and chips. Your next best option is to eat all those baked snacks that are available in the market. You feel less guilty about cheating as these snacks claim to be healthy.

Reality check: Most diet snacks are in fact unhealthier than a handful dal pakoras! Hydrogenated oils and margarine are used to make diet snacks crispy and crunchy. This hidden fat makes it almost equivalent to the fat in a fried chip, not to mention the transfat. These snacks also contain a high amount of baking chemicals that cause calcium loss, joint pain and weight gain.

4. Whole wheat and multigrain biscuits

Biscuits are never healthy even if you think munching on multigrain biscuits makes it less of a sin than hogging street food. Trying to figure out biscuits, bread or burger which is unhealthier for your kid?

Reality check: These snacks come with leavening agents, baking chemicals, hydrogenated fat and harmful sugars. Biscuits that claim to contain whole wheat, oats, ragi and a hoard of other grains have a higher load of chemical additives than the regular ones to make them crispier. Moreover, the amount of these grains in the biscuit is about three to 15 percent, and the rest of it is still made with refined wheat flour. So, ultimately you are still eating refined flour with extra chemicals.

5. Brown bread or whole wheat bread

A fitness freak s favourite breakfast is usually brown bread with egg white omelette. Also, a brown bread sandwich can be easily made with minced chicken and lots of vegetables. But if you think this is what makes you healthy, well think again.

Reality check: It is a misconception that multigrain bread is a rich source of fibre. True, these breads have added fibre, but they are usually insoluble harsh ones which can't be tolerated by the gut beyond a certain limit.

6. Low-fat spread

One smart move that you have done to control your cholesterol level is switching to low-fat or low-calorie spread from butter. And you think dollops of it will not harm you.

Reality check: These products claim to have lower saturated fat than regular butter, fewer calories and other health benefits. However, they are made by hydrogenating low-quality vegetable oils to get a creamy, buttery texture. Since these spreads are oil derived, they do not have cholesterol, but they do have loads of fats that are still a major cause of blockages. Here are 10 ways you can prevent blockages.

7. Skimmed or tetra packed milk

Milk is healthy in any form. It is a combination of proteins, good carbs, good fats and a host of micronutrients that make it digestible and absorbable for the body. So choosing skim, low-fat tetra packed milk will do less or no good to you.

Reality check: Removing fat to make it low-fat or skimmed affects the delicate natural balance of milk that makes it less digestible. Milk fat is also the primary source for calcium and vitamin D absorption. It keeps the gut and the liver healthy and help to lose weight.

8. Breakfast cereals

While there is no harm if you pick up breakfast cereals to kick start your day, especially the ones that have iron, calcium and fibre mentioned in their packages. But don t think you can cheat through the day because you have them in the morning. They aren t as healthy as they claim to be.

Reality check: Breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar and sodium that make you hungry within the next two hours of eating them causing mid-meal hunger pangs, irritability. Traditional breakfast dishes like idli, chilla, poha, paratha, dhokla, beans-toast, omelette, etc., are fresher, healthier and wholesome containing gut-friendly, digestible nutrients. Read to know why parathas are better than breakfast cereals.

9. Oat mixes

Masala oats, tangy tomato oats, oats upma there is a whole variety of them that claim to help you reduce weight, eat healthily and nurture your taste buds too. But they have fewer benefits.

Reality check: Again it is processed. Excessive sodium, other additives, dehydrated vegetables, thickening agents, cornflour, cream and plenty of flavours and preservatives is what goes into your bowl each time to have it.

10. Instant noodles

Why blame only Maggi the other varieties of instant noodles aren t doing you any good. Even if they keep your hunger at bay, they can add no nutritional value to your diet.

Reality check: Instant noodle stays in the gut for up to 3 days! Instant noodles (be it wheat, oats, dal, sooji or bran) are heavily processed to give it the instant cooking benefit.

Image source: Shutterstock

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