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8 “Healthy” Foods That Aren’t Actually Healthy

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Yogurt parfaits, prepared salads, and dried fruits all seem healthy, don’t they? Unfortunately, a lot of foods that are marketed as “healthy” really aren’t that good for you. This is why it is important to always check the ingredient labels on the back of every food package to make sure there are no hidden ingredients or surprises. It has also become very popular for food packaging to contain popular catchphrases that entice a consumer to buy. You may be familiar with words like “high protein,” “natural,” “whole grain,” to name a few. While these buzzwords may sound healthy, after some more research, you might be shocked to find that they aren’t that good for you.

Let’s take a look at some deceptive foods that appear healthy but are not!

1. Multigrain bread

Crunchy wholemeal bread

Crunchy wholemeal bread

At first glance, multigrain bread may seem like a healthier, more nutritious alternative, and it will definitely be marketed as such. However, it’s not as healthy as many people think. If you take a closer look at the list of ingredients, unbleached enriched wheat flour is usually listed first. The word fortified means that nutrients were stripped from the grains during processing and then added back in to make up for the deficit. You’ll want to avoid the word fortified altogether when choosing a healthy bread option. Instead, look for the word “whole grain” or “whole grain” as the first ingredient on the packaging.

Check out this crunchy whole grain bread recipe from Danielle Dewar for a healthier alternative!

2. Vegetable snacks

Vegetable and cucumber wraps with avocado hummus 1

Mini veggie cucumber wraps with avocado hummus

Vegetable snacks like vegetable chips and cauliflower puffs are often marketed as healthier alternatives to classic fried potato chips. But are they really that much better for you? Many of these vegetable snacks are highly processed, high in fat, sodium, and will never replace fresh vegetables! However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any great veggie-themed snack options out there. As long as you pay special attention to the nutritional information and make sure the ingredients are minimal and natural, they are perfectly fine in moderation!

Check out this Mini Veggie Cucumber Wraps with Avocado Hummus recipe from Nathalie Fraise for a healthier alternative!

3. “Healthy” cereals

Puffed muesli with chocolate [Vegan, Gluten-Free, No Refined Sugar]

Puffed muesli with chocolate

Lots of cereals in the aisles of a supermarket seem to be promoting the latest health and nutrition trends, but are they really as healthy as they seem? It turns out that many cereals are loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates. Added sugar is one of the worst foods in our modern diet and can even contribute to several chronic diseases. Starting the day with a high-sugar muesli is not ideal for your health. Instead, try to look for cereal that is low in added sugar and high in fiber. Ignoring the tags on the packaging and jumping to the ingredients list is also a smart idea!

Check out this Chocolate Puffed Cereal Recipe from Tiana Haines for a healthier alternative!

4. Energy bars

Energy bars

3-ingredient energy bar

Many energy bars claim to be healthy, but the reality is that they are often loaded with added sugar and fat and aren’t that different from candy bars. This is especially true for those coated with chocolate. Also watch out for misleading buzzwords like “added fiber” and “brown rice syrup”. The packaging does not guarantee that an energy bar is nutritious. When looking for the healthiest energy bars, you want to stick with those with minimal and natural ingredients that you can spot!

Check out these 3-ingredient energy bars from Christina Bedetta for a healthier alternative!

5. Muesli

Vegan gluten-free sunflower muesli with raspberries and almond milk

Sunflower cereal

Whether you sprinkle muesli alone, in an energy bar, or over yogurt, most muesli has a very high sugar and fat content. Very often they are coated with sweeteners (sugar, molasses, honey and corn syrup) and then baked in oil. It is also a snack that is very easy to overeat. Muesli is a much healthier option than granola and is usually made with more digestible ingredients and without excess oil and sugar.

Check out this sunflower cereal recipe from Crissy Cavanaugh for a healthier alternative!

6. Yogurt

Yogurt power bowl

Yogurt power bowl

Although yogurt is generally considered a nutritious snack, it is a good idea to look beyond the packaging and marketing and study the facts on the ingredient list. Many yogurt products, available in myriad flavors, are not what they seem. Many store-bought yogurts actually contain artificial colors, flavors, and artificial sweeteners, as well as thickeners like pectin.

Check out this Yogurt Power Bowl Recipe from Christina Bedetta for a healthier alternative!

7. Prepared salads

Raw kale salad

Raw kale salad

Packaged salads seem to be flying off the shelves in supermarkets because they’re convenient and can cut prep time. They often contain different types of lettuce and raw vegetables and can come with your own salad dressing. But how do these quick salads compare to homemade salads in terms of nutrition? First of all, we know that all products slowly lose nutrients after they are harvested. However, packaged salads take longer to prepare and, compared to a head of lettuce, need to be washed several times before they hit the shelves. This additional process that packaged lettuce goes through “can cause a loss of water-soluble and oxygen-sensitive vitamins such as vitamin C and the B vitamin folate”.

Check out this Raw Kale Salad Recipe from Julia Winnicki for a healthier alternative!

8. Dried fruits

Dried fruit compote

Dried fruit compote

Dried fruit often lacks the water-soluble nutrients that fresh fruit contains. This means that when it dries it becomes significantly more calorie-rich and it is very easy to overeat. There is also more sugar with each serving. Some types of dried fruit also have a sugar coating, which you should watch out for! Common dried fruits contain 38-66% sugar, and consuming too much of it can contribute to weight gain and various health problems. However, dried fruits are perfectly fine in moderation!

Check out this dried fruit compote recipe from Sara Oliveira for a healthier alternative!

When strolling the aisles of a supermarket, the big picture should always be kept in mind when determining whether a product is healthy. Instead of focusing on the flashy buzzwords or the colorful packaging, take a closer look at the nutrition label. A healthy ingredient or two doesn’t always guarantee that a food is good for you. And if in doubt, you can always make the plant-based variant in your own kitchen at home!

Learn How To Make Plant-Based Meals At Home!

It is known to help reduce meat consumption and eat more plant-based foods chronic inflammation, Heart health, mental wellbeing, Fitness goals, Nutritional needs, Allergies, good health, and more! Milk consumption has also been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, Prostate cancer and has many Side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based foods, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App – With over 15,000 delicious recipes, it’s the largest plant-based recipe source to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And while you’re at it, we encourage you to find out about the environment and health benefits from a vegetable diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

For more daily published content on animals, earth, life, vegan food, health and recipes, subscribe to One Green Planet newsletter! Finally, public funding gives us a greater chance of continuing to provide you with quality content. Please note support us through donations!

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Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News

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For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, theatre@parkland.edu or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at TKleparski@parkland.edu or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.

STEVICK CENTER ACTIVITIES

Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Bingo:

  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.

Bridge:

  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.

Euchar:

Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.

HOT LUNCH PROGRAM

The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.

Sunday:

  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.

Tuesday:

  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.

Tuesday:

  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.

Tuesday:

  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.

Friday:

  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at rsvpchampaign@gmail.com or 217-359-6500.

CURRENT NEEDS

Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at rsvpchampaign@gmail.com or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice

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By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?

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In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.

Summary

Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!

Summary

When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.

Summary

Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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