Jialat, These 10 Health Foods Not As Healthy As You Think
STORY: Pearlyn Tham
26 June 2020
1. Açai bowls
There are two things you may not know about the antioxidant-rich superfood açai bowls: how to pronounce açai (it’s not ah-cai, btw) and how much calories it can pack in.
Açai bowls are made with pureed acai berries which are grown in Central and South America (fun fact: a Brazilian friend tells me that there’s nothing hipster about açai berries where he lives – açai bowls are sold cheaply at food kiosks on many streets, kind of like how you would buy an Old Chang Kee curry puff any time of the day).
But who wants to eat just açai berries, right? So, someone dreamt up açai bowls in which you throw fruit, nuts, seeds, granola, cocoa nibs, coconut flakes and even a scoop of ice cream. And to make their açai bowls look even more Instagram-friendly and more worthy of their $8.90 price tags, some stores pile on the toppings until your once-healthy açai bowl is now a sinful mountain of processed sugar and calories. Ah-sigh.
2. Fruit juices
An apple a day keeps the doctor away but a glass of apple juice a day will not keep the fat away. Confused? Apparently, fruit is good when eaten as, well, fruit. But once it is made into a juice – and we aren’t even talking about the processed, packaged ones you buy off a shelf – it suddenly loses all its good fibre (actually, the fibre gets stuck and discarded in the blender lah). And since fibre slows down sugar absorption in your bloodstream and manages your blood sugar levels, it has been said that drinking a fibre-less fruit juice is almost like drinking a soft drink. Cheem, right.
Unless you make your own, store-bought options come with a lot of sugar and other yummy bits such as chocolate chips and rice puffs. And you haven’t even added in the calories from the milk.
4. Trail mix
Depending on what’s in yours, a small handful of this can take up more than 300 calories of your daily dietary needs. Choose unsalted mixes without the sweet extras such as dried fruit.
5. Dried fruit
Which brings us to dried raisins, apricots and mangoes. Once again, these are made with lots of sugar to preserve them for longer and to make them taste better.
One cup of this trending “healthy” grain fills you up with more than 200 calories, putting it on par with brown rice. So, be sure to watch the measurement cup if you are cooking quinoa at home.
The plain formulas are OK. What’s not: flavoured ones with dried fruit and a taste of “honey”. The best option is to cook rolled or steel cut oats and flavour it with fresh fruit.
8. Rice crackers
One of this weighs about only 10g but the bulk of it is still carbs. Don’t let its lightness fool you.
9. Light salad dressing
No matter how light it claims to be on the bottle, it is still loaded with sodium. It is better to make your own dressing with just extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
10. Fat-free yogurt
Unless you pick a plain formula, most of these are made with sugar and flavourings to overcompensate for the lack of taste.