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Arshon Howard/MEDILL

Check on the nurtitional value of the food you eat.

Foods that are not as healthy as you think

by Arshon Howard
Apr 17, 2013

Even though certain foods may sound healthy often they are quite the opposite.

Critics say part of the blame can be put on manufacturers for misleading consumers, but consumers  need to be more cautious and informed about these types of claims, according registered dietician Kristina Adams with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Several dieticians and nutritionists said that some of the most popular foods and drinks like muffins, granola bars, smoothies and Gatorade are not as healthy as some people may think.


People think muffins are a healthier alternative for donuts, but in reality they aren’t. According to Ingalls Wellness dietician Kim Kramer people will eat more of something they assume is healthy.

“Often muffins are high in calories,” dietician Erin McCarthy, of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said. People are consuming twice the amount of sugar ... when they think they are making the right decision.”

A standard one-serving blueberry muffin contains more grams of fat and calories than a blueberry crumb donut from Dunkin’ Donuts. A blueberry muffin contains 20 grams of fat and 537 calories, while a blueberry crumb donut contains 18 grams of fat and 500 calories, according to nutrient labels.



People think that smoothies are healthnutritional drinks because they are filled with lots of fruits, but it is not as healthy as some people think especially smoothies purchased from stores, according to Vandana Sheth spokeswoman for the Chicago-based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“While they can be healthy because they contain yogurt, milk and fruit, they might also contain added sugars and more than anything the portions are huge,” she said. For example, one tennis ball-sized whole fruit and a four-ounce juice both contain 60 calories.  "Most smoothie chains provide 12-plus ounces of smoothies and can range in calories from 300-800,” Sheth said.

Sports drinks such as Gatorade may have their advantages, but they contain a large amount of sugar, which can affect the body negatively over time. If you drink a whole bottle of Gatorade, you consume 56 grams of sugar--the same amount of sugar as 2 1/2 candy bars, according to their nutritional labels.

Granola Bars

Granola bars may seem like a great on-the-go snack, but they usually high in fats, sugars and calories.

"Granola bars contain a lot of sugar so it is important to look for those with small amount of sugar and higher amount of fiber per bar,” Kramer said. "It is important to consume in moderation as many people over do these as snacks because they taste so sweet.”

A Quaker True Delights Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Granola Bar contains 150 calories and five grams of fat. A Snickers bar contains 250 calories and 12 grams of fat. Even though a Snickers is higher in both categories, there isn’t that much of a difference between the two according to their nutritional contents.

Even though these are great on-the-go snacks people need to limit themselves to having just one a day, said Kramer.  

“Consumers don’t play attention sometimes and is not educated on what to look for on the label,” Kramer said. “As a consumer, packages before have tricked me, it can happen to anyone even a dietitian.”