Healthy Lifestyle

The great imposters: the unhealthiest “healthy” snacks

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By The Edith Sanford team

March 12, 2014

They’re out there. Foods you think are healthy. Foods you choose because they’re better for you…

But some of the snacks commonly assumed to be nutritious could actually be sabotaging your efforts to eat better and maintain a healthy weight. Below are a few of the most common offenders so you can be on the look out for these great imposters!

Granola bars

They’re easy and claim to be wholesome, but most granola bars aren’t much better than their candy counterparts. Granola bars tend to be high in sugar and low in fiber, making them better suited to be an occasional snack instead of a morning staple.

Look for a bar without added sugar and at least three grams of fiber—that will help you feel fuller, longer. Or make your own granola bars at home. That way you can control the ingredients and make sure your “healthy” choice actually is!


Judging by the glowing, smiling women in commercials, yogurt is a food from the gods, meant to be enjoyed in sunny fields of wildflowers. What the commercials don’t mention, however, is the whopping sugar content. Some servings of yogurt have as much sugar as a can of soda!

Try buying plain Greek yogurt and sweetening it with fresh fruit, cinnamon, or a little honey. You’ll get a boost of protein without sending your blood sugar through the roof.

Fat-free foods

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is — especially when it comes to snack foods.

Fat-free versions of cookies, cakes or other treats are likely loaded with artificial ingredients, sodium and extra sugar to make up for what they’re missing in fat. Meaning your hunger doesn’t feel satiated. Meaning you can eat a whole sleeve of crackers — and a whole lot of calories — without feeling full.

So if you want an occasional cookie, make it a real one, fat and all.

Diet drinks

Many of us think that diet soft drinks are the perfect, guilt-free way to quench thirst and satisfy the sweet tooth, but more and more evidence points to just the opposite. Numerous studies find that diet soda consumption is linked to increased waist circumference, increased risk of type-2 diabetes, and a higher risk of vascular events such as heart attack or stroke.

Yikes! Stick to water for hydration without the scary side effects.


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