It’s easy to follow food trends blindly and believe that they are the key to good health. But have you taken a good look at what you’re putting into your body? Recently, we told you about the so-called healthy sugars that are just as unhealthy as regular sugar.

It’s time to wise up and take a closer look at some foods that are marketed as being healthy, but hardly do you any good.

1. Breakfast Cereal
Store-bought granola, muesli and cornflakes are all breakfast staples that have slowly become dangerous sources of hidden empty calories. Some health professionals claim that these cereals are less nutritious than even the box they come in. Manufactured by companies that add preservatives, hydrogenated oils, food color, sugar or even worse, corn syrup; these cereals do not belong on your list of healthy foods.
Quick Fix: Prepare your own mix of whole grains like rolled oats, nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans, natural sweeteners like honey, sunflower seeds and dried fruit along with a dash of cinnamon.

2. Smoothies
It’s easy to be taken in by the appeal of smoothies: they save time, are visually appealing and they taste great. What’s not to love? Well, apparently a lot. Smoothies can be potentially harmful to people who have diabetes, high triglycerides and are overweight because its liquid form means that its hidden sugars can lead to a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash. Adding things like fruit juice, ice cream or milk to smoothies only makes them liquid candy.
Quick Fix: Use yogurt or nut milks like almond or coconut milk for the base, and add fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. Kefir, kombucha and homemade lemonade are good add-ons to boost the nutritional content of your smoothie. Throw in some nut butter, chia seeds or flax seeds, hemp protein and you have a powerful drink in your hand.

3. Nut Butters
So you thought you could spread your choice of nut butter on your whole grain toast and feel superior to those folks still chomping on regular butter? Turns out, it’s just as bad, if not worse. High in salt, palm oil and sugar, most commercially produced nut butters like peanut butter are actually bad for you. The protein peanut agglutinin (PNA) can wreak havoc with your intestines while tree nuts like almonds contain oxalates, which affect people with kidney and gall bladder issues.
Quick Fix: Make your own nut butters at home if you want to continue eating them for their health benefits, but practice moderation. If you wish to stop eating them, try grass-fed butter instead.

4. Wraps
Some wraps can be packed with unhealthy ingredients that only help to pile on the calories. These dense flatbread shells can sometimes equal the amount of carbs and fat found in three slices of bread with two pats of butter. Since they can accommodate more than what you’d put in a regular sandwich, there’s a tendency to load them with more than you’d normally eat.
Quick Fix: Stuff your wraps with low-fat proteins and healthy vegetables. Skip the cheese and mayo, and opt for dressings such as mustard sauce and olive oil and lemon vinaigrette.

If you want to lose weight and improve the quality of your life through changes in diet, pay attention to the ingredients going into your food. Buy organic when possible, educate yourself on so-called healthy fads and trends, and prepare as much of your food as you can at home.

PS: Head to our Food section for healthy recipes and the latest food trends.
Also, find quick and easy Nutrition tips here.

Read More:
Healthy Triple Berry Smoothie
Nut Butter Protein Boost

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.