7 Health-Food Impostors

If you're trying to lose weight to improve your diabetes, you may think you're eating foods that will be effective in helping you meet your weight loss goals, while in fact, you may be indulging in snacks and sweets that only seem good for you.

Beware these health halos: The following seven foods can potentially derail your best-laid plans for maintaining tight blood glucose control.

1. Greek yogurt with fruit on the bottom

Why: "These really have a lot of sugar," says Melissa Yoffee Flynn, RD, CDN, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

What to eat instead: Buy plain Greek yogurt and add fresh fruit yourself. Also important to know: if you're eating the yogurt as part of a meal, read the label and avoid "light" yogurts. They don't have much protein. "The yogurt should have at least eight grams of protein," says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, author of The Small Change Diet.

2. Wheat crackers

Why: On their own, these just aren't very satisfying and may leave you feeling hungry quickly. "Carbohydrates break into glucose when we eat them, and some carbs tend to elevate the blood glucose levels faster than others," says Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN of Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

What to eat instead: Eat whole-wheat crackers with a nut butter to keep you feeling full longer. "Pairing carbohydrates with protein and fat will keep your blood sugar from spiking," explains Flynn.

3. Protein bars

Why: These are calorie-dense and high in sugar, says Flynn. Many people eat them as snacks, but they often have too many calories to be considered a snack.

What to eat instead: Enjoy a handful of trail mix, or an apple spread with almond butter. Besides being lower in calories and sugar, they're a less-processed food choice.

4. Granola

Why: "People think it's healthy but it can be high in calories and sugar, and low in fiber," says Gans.

What to eat instead: "You want exactly the opposite—especially at breakfast. Choose something high in fiber and low in sugar, such as a high-fiber cereal and pair it with 1% or skim milk and fruit.

5. Agave nectar

Why: While you may think of this as a "natural" or "health" food, it actually is quite processed and very high in fructose, says Lauren Graf, MS, RD, of Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "It's okay to have in small quantities," she says. "But it is similar to high fructose corn syrup and should definitely not be considered a health food."

What to eat instead:Want something sweet with your oatmeal? Mix in some chopped apple. Apples also contain fructose, but in much smaller amounts and in its natural state, Graf says. And when you eat an apple, you're getting other nutrients like fiber and antioxidants.

6. Low-fat frozen yogurt

Why: The yogurt is so low in fat, it won't fill you up for long (and it's also tempting to overdo with a large serving.)

What to eat instead: The real deal. You may be better off enjoying one-half cup of regular ice cream. The fat will keep you feeling satiated.

7. Puffed veggie snacks and sticks

Why: As guilt-free as these may seem, they actually can have up to twice the amount of sodium as potato chips.

What to eat instead: To satisfy a crunch craving, reach for air-popped popcorn. Three cups of air-popped popcorn has less than 100 calories and counts as a serving of whole grains. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and dried or fresh herbs to upgrade the snacking standby.

Melissa Yoffee Flynn, RD, CDN, reviewed this article.



"9 Low-Calorie Mistakes You're Probably Making." 3 October 2013. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/common-calorie-mistakes_n_3880665.html?ir=Healthy+Living