Is health food really healthy? - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Is health food really healthy?

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DALLAS, Tex. (KXAS) - Labels like "organic," " whole grain," and "fat-free" help us navigate the grocery store when we're shopping for healthy choices. But some of that labeling can be misleading.

Low-fat, whole grain, and a good source of fiber; sounds healthy, right? "Nutrition uses marketing just like every other industry does so what's marketed on that package doesn't really mean it's the healthiest choice," said Dietitian Amy Goodson. Registered Dietitian Amy Goodson cautions that many food labeled to look like "diet food" may be comparable to eating junk food. "Many times there's just as many calories in the health food as there is in the counterpart," said Goodson.

Take veggie chips for example. There's a full serving of vegetables in every ounce, but they contain the same amount of calories and fat as regular potato chips. "Honestly, a whole wheat cracker that's rich in fiber would be a more nutrient rich option," said Goodson. Goodson says other items that may look healthier from the front than the back... energy bars and fruit smoothies. "Some of these smoothies have as many grams of sugar as two packages of M&Ms," said Goodson. Another tip: Don't let the word "yogurt" fool you, especially when it's in the frozen form. "There are over 80 grams of sugar just in this little container of frozen yogurt," said Goodson. Unlike with real yogurt, there's no FDA requirement that frozen yogurt have any live active cultures. And on the subject of dessert... be cautious of cookies. "Many people that wouldn't buy cookies pick up organic thinks it's good for you and can eat as many as they want," said Goodson. But in this case, the organic version has just as many calories as its Oreo counterpart... the bottom line. "Don't necessarily look at the marketing label, look at the ingredient list. Pick a short ingredient list and buy more single foods," said Goodson.

Other items Goodson says to read the labels carefully on: granola, raisin bran, and rice milk. Goodson says all three can contain high amounts of sugar and calories.

Healthbeat 4 Multi-Media Journalist: Christy Batien

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