The Surprising Unhealthy “Healthy” Foods

The Surprising Unhealthy
Avocados, while great in some ways, are bad in others. | Dr. Ali Ghahary

When it comes to healthy eating, people often think that if they switch from things like regular potato chips to veggie chips, white bread to whole wheat bread, and fruits and vegetables, that those foods are safe for their body. Wrong! Not everything that’s considered healthy actually is healthy. In fact, there are many “healthy” foods that can actually derail your health and your diet. Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician and strong advocate for healthy eating, tells us what some of those foods (and beverages) are below.

Avocados
There are many good things about avocados. They’re packed with monounsaturated fat, which is great for the heart. They also contain 13.5 grams of fibre and about a half-day’s worth of folate. For these reasons, they can be a great addition to your diet. However, they’re also high in some unhealthier fat, ad eating just one avocado can contain as much as 325 calories. So, if you’re going to consume avocados, rather than eating the whole thing you should try cutting it back to half.

Chickpeas
From salads to soups to hummus, or even as a roasted snack, the ways you can incorporate chickpeas into your diet are endless. They’re also a great sour of iron, magnesium and potassium. However, they’re also higher in carbohydrates and contain as much as 135 calories per half cup. Granted, they are slow-burning carbohydrates which makes you feel less hungry for a longer period of time, but it’s still something you should pay attention to – particularly if you’re someone who is trying to lose or maintain weight.

Peanuts
High in monounsaturated fats, vitamin B, vitamin E, fibre and magnesium, peanuts can be great for your health. However, it’s also easy to overeat them, and at 425 calories per half cup that can be a problem. If you’re going to snack on peanuts, make sure you consume no more than one ounce. They should also be eaten raw or roasted (without salt!)

Energy/Protein Bars
Registered dietician from Vancouver, Desiree Nielsen, recently appeared on Global News to discuss protein bars. While they’re all marked as being healthy, some energy bars can actually contain more sugar and calories than a chocolate bar. If you’re looking for a boost in energy/protein, make sure you choose a bar that contains less than 200 calories and less than 20 grams of sugar per serving. You should also check the label and make sure it contains as little ingredients as possible – because the fewer the ingredients, the healthier it will be. For tips on how to make the right pick, watch Desiree’s appearance on Global BC here.

Bran Muffins
Sounds like a great, healthy breakfast food or snack, right? Not necessarily. While bran itself is considered healthy and high in fibre, that healthy aspect goes right out the window when it’s baked into a muffin – and muffins usually contain tons of sugar, flour, and…well…fat. When baking muffins, try to find recipes that are sugar-free as well as call for whole wheat flour and other healthy ingredients. Click here for more healthy breakfast suggestions from Dr. Ghahary.

Fruit Juice
Everyone knows that fruits are good for you. What you might not know, however, is that fruit juice is not – especially if bought in a store, as most store-bought juice is quite high in sugar content. So instead of drinking fruit juice, it’s always a better idea to eat your fruit whole. That way you’re getting all the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals your body needs. Another option is to make your own fruit juice – freshly squeezed orange juice, for example. But make sure to leave out the sugar.

For more tips on healthy eating, connect with Dr. Ghahary on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @DrAliGhahary, on Facebook, and on Instagram.