Unhealthy Health Food

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 10:49am

"Organic", "Fat-Free" and "Whole Grain" labels don't guarantee it's good for you.

Labels like "organic," "whole grain," and "fat free" help us navigate the grocery store when we're shopping for healthy choices, but some of that labeling can be misleading.

"Nutrition uses marketing just like every other industry does so what's marketed on that package doesn't really mean it's the healthiest choice," says registered dietitian Amy Goodson.

Goodson cautions many foods labeled to look like "diet food" may be comparable to eating junk food.

"Many times there's just as many calories in the health food as there is in the counterpart," she says.

Take Veggie Chips for example.

There's a full serving of vegetables in every ounce, but they contain the same amount of calories and fat as regular potato chips.

Other items that may look healthier from the front than the back include energy bars and fruit smoothies.

Another tip: Don't let the word "yogurt" fool you, especially when it's in the frozen form.

And unlike with real yogurt, there's no FDA requirement that frozen yogurt have any live active cultures.

Sticking to the subject of dessert, organic cookies still pack a caloric punch.

"Many people that wouldn't buy cookies pick up organic thinks it's good for you and can eat as many as they want," Goodson says, but the organic version may have just as many calories as its Oreo counterpart.

Other items Goodson says to read the labels carefully on: Granola, raisin bran and rice milk.

She says all three can contain high amounts of sugar and calories.

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