Do you think these foods are healthy?

When eaten in moderation, I don’t think any food is ‘unhealthy’ since 80% is perfection. However, there are some foods and drinks that may not be as healthy as we think they are. Here are my top 5 ‘I can’t believe it’s not healthy’ foods and drinks:


1. Rice crackers

Rice crackers are touted as a healthy ‘diet’ food but the reality is that they are not filling at all, so it is easy to eat too many of them. They also rapidly spike insulin levels, which can lead to overeating, weight gain and chronic disease.

A healthier alternative:

100% brown rice or quinoa crackers without any added sugar or salt.

A handful of nuts and/or seeds as a snack.


2. Fruit juice

I am not saying to never drink fresh fruit juice, but without the fiber that is naturally present in the whole fruit, fruit juices spikes blood sugar levels considerably. According to Dr Weil, there is little difference in the way the body processes a glass of filtered, pasteurized apple juice and a glass of soda!

A healthier alternative:

Fresh vegetable juice with a majority of vegetables

Smoothies, as the fruit is intact


3. Margarine

Margarine is still sometimes seen as a ‘healthier’ substitute to butter but it is a man-made product that is a very unhealthy fat source. 

A healthier alternative:

Butter – it is a natural food which contains vitamins A, E, D and K. Try to buy organic, unpasteurized butter – or at least butter from cows who ate grass as this really does make a difference in the health benefits. Read more about the health benefits of butter vs. margarine here.


4. Low fat products, particularly skim milk

When the fat is removed or reduced, gums, sugars and starches are usually added to improve the taste.

A healthier alternative:

The original, full-fat version, even if this means eating a little less. This shouldn’t be difficult as full fat products are more satisfying anyway.


5. Fruit yoghurts

Fruit yoghurt or yoghurt drinks or shots often contain artificial coloring, a high quantity of sugar or artificial sweeteners and thickeners like gelatin, corn starch, milk protein concentrate.

A healthier alternative:

Natural, full-fat plain yoghurt without added sugars or artificial sweeteners. You can always add in your own fruit or a little honey or maple syrup if you want.

Are there any major surprises for you here? What other foods would you label as less healthy than you would think?
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  • Berenice on May 21, 2013 Reply

    Spécial k ? :) or the muesli with chocolate bits ? Great insight again !

  • Faris on May 21, 2013 Reply

    I am surprisingly healthy according to this! Who knew – that’s the big surprise for me!

  • Carolyn on May 20, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the clarification on low fat – I always thought it was trading one evil for another, and I have urged my kids to stay with full fat instead. A little bit of the real thing is always better.

    • Hiba on May 20, 2013 Reply

      I totally agree!

  • Mariska on May 20, 2013 Reply

    The rice crackers were a surprise! Any suggestions for butter subs for lactose intolerant people? R the aha products from migros for example healthy?

    • Hiba on May 20, 2013 Reply

      Butter has only a very small amount of lactose (less than 1%), so you could try small quantities and see if they actually affect you.

      Otherwise, you could try ghee, which is clarified butter that contains even less lactose and has traditionally been used for cooking Indian food. Coconut oil which actually has a similar consistency to butter could be a good substitute for both cooking and spreading. And you could also try the nut butters, particularly almond butter, as a spread with bread and jam for example.

  • claudia on May 20, 2013 Reply

    Wow very surprised at rice crackers! Thanks great article once again!

    • Hiba on May 20, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for your comment Claudia!

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