I’ve spoken before here about my successes on the Sparkpeople program, losing weight. In fact, according to my weight this morning, I have now lost 32 pounds with this healthy living program. What I really love about it is how much it’s taught me about eating better.
One of the things that I’ve really learned and internalized is that low-fat, low-calorie and low-carb foods are not necessarily healthy. They may contain hidden dangers like excessive sodium (causes bloating), unhealthy ingredients (high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, etc), or could be devoid of nutrients (iron, potassium, calcium, etc). As a result, and to cut down on the amount of time grocery shopping takes, I have gone the whole foods route – buying fresh fruit and veggies, meats and fish, etc – and making my own snacks at home like fresh popcorn (not from a bag, but in a popcorn popper), homemade cookies, and fun Phyllo snacks (mmm, chocolate wrapped in Phyllo with a sprinkling of cocoa…mmmm).
Apparently, my transition to home cooking over canned, frozen, boxed and bagged foods is a good one. In the Washington Post today was an AP article by Candice Choi that talked about this issue exactly. ‘Healthy’ Foods a Pitfall for Dieters talks about how dieters confuse labels such as “organic” and “natural” for truly good for you eats. And worse yet, people take for granted that good things yogurt and granola are all healthy – some contain amazing amounts of fat, calories or carbs.
So if there is a lesson to be learned from any of this: don’t take for granted that you are buying a healthy product just because the enthusiastic packaging makes it seem that way. Read the labels and understand what they mean. That’s the only way to really know if you are really getting the best thing for you.