Sifting through the endless array of available "healthy" foods can be tricky. The terms "low fat," "diet" and "fat free" may have you believing you're eating your way to health and weight loss. But in fact, these kinds of items are packed with ingredients that may do the opposite: keep the pounds on.
Many nutritionists believe the major ingredients often found in so-called healthy foods -- sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil -- contribute to obesity. And although the government regulates what may be deemed low fat and fat free (foods with less than 3 grams of fat and less than 1/2 gram of fat, respectively), the word "diet" isn't regulated at all.
To help you sort out which foods may not be as beneficial as you think, we've gathered a list of the top misleading offenders.
Yogurt parfait. This combination of yogurt and granola is deceptive. Although it offers the natural goodness of yogurt, it's often of the full-fat variety and comes with a sprinkling of granola or chocolate candy. YoCrunch's low-fat strawberry yogurt with Nestle Crunch candy pieces has 210 calories and 30 grams of sugar -- amounts equivalent to those in an average-size candy bar!
Energy bars. The first ingredient in many energy bars is high-fructose corn syrup, a.k.a. sugar! One Power Bar brand energy bar contains more than 30 ingredients, most of which are vitamins and minerals, but how can something be healthy if it's wrapped in sugar?
Lynn Grieger, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, says, "This is a huge matter for debate. I much prefer that people get their vitamins and minerals from unprocessed foods -- meaning primarily fruits, veggies and whole grains. Just because a food has a name that sounds good for us, doesn't mean it follows through with that claim."