Posted by & filed under Healthy Eating.

In our last newsletter, we pulled away the curtain on three common foods that may not be as healthful as they appear. If you found yourself surprised by some of them, you’re not alone. Food manufacturers advertise, imply, or otherwise lead you to believe that what you’re buying is good for you—whether it really is or not.

I want you to have all the facts at your fingertips so you can make wise choices the next time you fuel your body, whether you’re eating out or selecting food from your local grocery store. Here’s another trio of health-food impostors to watch for, the kind of low-nutrition fakes that can trick you into thinking you are eating well.

●Health Food Impostor #4: Smoothies

Refreshing, filling fruit drinks are popping up everywhere. The beverage names, complete with words like “health” and “energizer,” make them sound nutritious and even vital. But in reality, these supersized beverages, chock full of milk, added sweeteners, or even ice cream turn a potentially healthful fruit blend into a treat that can pack as much as 500 calories. Not exactly the smart snack that you thought, right?

The Good-Health Real Deal

If you like smoothies, try making your own. Here’s my recipe: Blend together unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of “green” antioxidant powder, some protein-packed chia seeds, omega- and fiber-rich flaxseeds, organic frozen or fresh blueberries, and a teaspoon of nut butter. After I drink one in the morning, I feel satisfied and energetic for hours.

●Health Food Impostor #5: Iced Tea

Does tea sound like a lower-calorie alternative to a fruit smoothie? Not necessarily. I must admit that I was truly surprised when I learned that a leading coffee chain has sugar in their iced tea brew. The problem is that many of us don’t know that an abundance of sugar is already in the drink before we go and add more by habit. The result: a refreshing drink with more sugar than a candy bar (even though we skipped all the syrups and flavoring, in case you were wondering!).

The Good-Health Real Deal

Be sure to ask whether the iced tea (or coffee) is unsweetened. If not, you might be handed a drink with a cola’s worth of sugar.

●Health Food Impostor #6: Farmed Salmon

If only the salmon on every menu were equal to the quality and rich nutrition of wild salmon! But in fact, farmed salmon has lower levels of calcium and brain- and immunity-boosting omega-3 fats than the wild variety. Wild-caught salmon is also far less likely to be contaminated with trace chemicals and heavy metals. The two don’t even look alike. Did you know that wild salmon gets its pink color naturally while the farmed variety is often colored artificially? (Ick.)

The Good-Health Real Deal

Avoid buying just any salmon. Be specific and look for the wild salmon, even if it’s in a can. Eating out? Ask! A restaurant that serves only wild salmon will be proud to tell you so. Sorry to say, wild is much pricier and generally less available than the inferior kind, but the benefits are well worth the extra trouble and cost. Added bonus: Wild salmon has a flavor superior to the farm-raised variety.

I want you to see and feel dynamic, positive results in your overall wellbeing in the shortest possible time. One of the best ways to do just that is to be smart about what you eat. High calorie, low nutrition food and drinks are often wrapped in false good-health claims, ready and waiting to derail your best efforts. Put your food savvy to work, though, and these health-food phoneys don’t stand a chance.

Does this make you wonder what other health-food pretenders might be lurking in your refrigerator or cabinet? Want to round out the imposter list to an even 10? Join me on my site for yet another four popular foods that may not be as healthful as they’re claimed to be.

And remember, I’m glad to guide you in separating the facts from the hype. Call 212-686-0939, or email roberta@robertamittman.com. I’ll help you sift out the nutrition fakes and fill the gaps with real power foods.

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