Really Healthy?

Many foods have healthy sounding names, but may not be all that healthy.

For example:

Fruit Drinks-also known as fruit beverages or -“ades” (such as lemonade)

  • Are made mostly of water and sugar
  • Some have no fruit juice at all
  • Others have only 1-3 teaspoons of fruit juice in a 6-oz serving

A Healthier Choice: a small serving of 100% fruit juice; better yet-eat fruit

Fruit Bits & Fruit Rollups

  • Most are candy like snacks made mainly of sugar

A Healthier Choice: real fruit

Granola, Granola Bars, Breakfast Bars, & Cereal Bars

  • Most have added sugar and fat & are high in calories
  • Some granola bars have a nutritional value similar to candy bars
  • A serving size of granola is very small-1/4 or 1/3 cup
  • The fruit in breakfast and cereal bars is more similar to jelly than real fruit

A Healthier Choice: whole grain cereal with 6 grams of sugar or less

Wheat Bread-bread made from enriched flour (white flour)

  • Brown color comes from a coloring, such as molasses
  • Contains little or no whole grains and only trace amounts of fiber

A Healthier Choice: 100% whole wheat bread

Those Healthy Sounding Terms—what do they really mean?

  • Organic – grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Naturally occurring pesticides and fertilizers can be used.
  • 100% Whole Wheat – made with the entire wheat kernel and is rich in nutrients & fibers
  • Multi-grain – contains more than one type of grain, but may or may not include whole grains.  If whole grains are included, they will be listed in the ingredient label.
  • Whole Grain – contains a whole grain, but may not be the main ingredient in the food.  Check the ingredient label to see if a whole grain is the first ingredient.
  • Light – this term has a couple different meanings-a food can be 1/3 lower in calories or have half the fat of the regular product.  It can also describe the color of the food.
  • Low-fat – a serving contains 3 grams or less of fat.  However, depending on the other ingredients, it may still be high in calories and sugar.
  • Fat Free – a serving contains 0.5 grams of fat or less.  Again-check the food label–fat free doesn’t mean calorie free.
  • No sugar added – can only be used on the label of a food that is a substitute for a food that normally contains sugar. These foods may contain artificial sweeteners. No sugar added doesn’t mean calorie free-check the food label.
  • Sugar Free – has 0.5 grams sugar or less per serving.  Sugar free doesn’t mean calorie free-check the label.
  • No high fructose corn syrup – does not contain high fructose corn syrup, but can contain other sweeteners like sugar, brown sugar, or honey; and may contain artificial sweeteners.

Courtesy of the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo County