They sound healthy, they look healthy, and food companies work hard to make you believe they are healthy. But many foods that get a good-for-you rap are anything but nutritious. They're packed with calories, fat, added sugars, and all kinds of artificial ingredients that your body doesn't need. Here are some of the worst offenders at the market.
Anything with added antioxidants or vitamins
Since doctors tell us to load up on antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, manufacturers love slapping phrases like "with antioxidants" or "with added vitamins and minerals" onto processed food labels. You'll see this a lot on breakfast cereals, bars, and refined-grain breads, which are otherwise mostly empty calories. "These claims give foods a health halo, like all you need to do is sprinkle in some vitamins and they become healthy," Warner says. Oftentimes these foods are far from nutritious – remember 7-Up with Antioxidants? – and the added vitamins aren't coming from real fruits and veggies, which are by far the best sources. "Manufacturers don't usually add in actual blueberry compounds, for instance," says Warner. "They'll use synthetic vitamins made through chemical processing."
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