A big salad and maybe a smoothie – does that sound like a healthy lunch? Not necessarily. We reveal which foods would be better for? The shelves in the supermarkets are packed with all kinds of food: You can choose between countless types of muesli, yogurt, sausage, and cheese. But which products are as nutritious and healthy as the packaging and advertising slogan promise and unhealthy foods?
Many supposedly healthy products are nothing more than pretty well-camouflaged junk food in the supermarket jungle – packed with sugar, salt, trans fats, and other additives that reduce their nutritional value.
We’ll tell you which foods you can leave on the shelf with a clear conscience in the future. Plus: A delicious alternative that should land on your plate instead.
Sunflower oil can be heated to a high temperature, is cheap, and available in every supermarket. It is also frequently used in the food industry and gastronomy, so it is no wonder that it is one of Germany’s most widely consumed vegetable oils. It doesn’t contribute to a healthy diet. The reason: the unfavorable ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Ideally, this should be 1: 1 to a maximum of 1: 5.
An excess of omega-6 fatty acids characterizes today’s diet. The two polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6, are also very healthy, but unfortunately, this is reversed if you consume them in the wrong ratio to each other. With a ratio of 1: 120, sunflower oil has an inferior fatty acid pattern.
The better alternative: rapeseed oil. It has a perfect fatty acid distribution and is ideal for frying. Linseed oil is recommended for cold dishes because it has the highest omega-3 content of all vegetable oils.
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Salmon is full of high-quality protein and contains many omega-3 fatty acids. But it makes a big difference to your health whether you reach for farmed or wild salmon in the supermarket.
Farmed salmon grows in huge aqua farms where pesticides and medicines are used to protect the fish from diseases and parasites. One of these is the preservative ethoxyquin, which is suspected of being carcinogenic. In addition, salmon from fish farms usually receive feed made from concentrated products, such as fish meal and oil, in which these harmful substances are already enriched.
To avoid this, you can buy either organic salmon or wild salmon. It is true that wild salmon also contains small amounts of pesticides and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium. Due to the lower fat content, wild salmon is usually much less contaminated than farmed salmon and free of antibiotics or preservatives.
This makes wild salmon a higher quality, albeit more expensive alternative to farmed salmon – with which you not only protect your body from many pollutants but also set an example against factory farming. Would you like a recipe? Then try our teriyaki salmon with green asparagus.
Fruit Juices And Smoothies
You probably won’t believe it, but whether you drink a glass of cola or a glass of juice makes almost no difference in terms of calorie and sugar content. Here you can compare the calories. And even if the label says 100 percent juice or no added sugar, juice itself is a concentrated form of (fruit) sugar. And it’s no healthier than refined household sugar. You can read here how fructose is metabolized in the body and what effects this can have on your feeling of hunger and weight.
When juicing fruits and vegetables, the process also loses healthy fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients essential for your intestinal health and helps control blood sugar. Better: eat fresh fruit instead of drinking it.
Our recommendation: It is best not to drink more than one glass of juice a day. Ideally, squeeze or juice yourself. Also delicious: a fresh fruit salad or a homemade smoothie. A sound mixer should therefore not be missing in your kitchen. Green smoothies like this one are ideal because they contain little fructose.
The exotic syrup is a famous honey substitute (especially for vegans) and scores with its excellent sweetening power: But this has its price: because agave syrup has a fructose content of up to 90 percent. And that’s precisely the problem.
Unlike glucose, fructose does not release insulin and is metabolized directly in the liver. However, it cannot be stored, and if you ingest too much of it, the excess fructose will be converted into fat. This, in turn, can indirectly lead to fatty liver disease.
In contrast to the naturally occurring fructose in fruit, the consumption of concentrated fructose also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Our recommendation: Every alternative sugar substitute, whether honey, maple syrup, or coconut blossom sugar, ultimately represents “sugar” for your body – just in a different form. In general, try to use less sweetener, preferring to use dates or ripe bananas when baking. Erythritol and xylitol have also proven to be low-calorie options.
When adequately prepared, salads are a healthy meal. However, this does not apply to the ready-made salads from the supermarket – because they are the same true germ-spinners. A study by the Max Rubner Institute for Nutrition and Food showed in 2019 that a total of 42 percent of the “ready-to-eat mixed salads” tested contained too many germs, which can be a health hazard for consumers. In 2018, a research institute was even able to detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria in some ready-made salads.
But it’s not just green lettuce on the bag; ready-made coleslaw or potato salads are unhealthy foods, as they often have high salt and fat content, as well as a lot of preservatives. “Thumbs down” is also available for salad mixes with croutons, diced ham, and greasy ready-made dressing in plastic packaging: unnecessary calories, unnecessary junk.
These should be enough reasons to buy new heads of lettuce in the future. You can find delicious salads with a good portion of protein here. If you still don’t want to do without the practical ready-made salads, you should wash them thoroughly before consuming them.
White Flour Products
Especially on weekends, fresh rolls belong on every well-laid breakfast table. However, you should rather avoid light-colored wheat rolls – and preferably every other day of the week. The same applies to all other white flour products such as pasta, tortillas, toast, or couscous.
The reason: white flour products contain a lot of fast (“empty”) carbohydrates and hardly any fiber. The carbs get into the bloodstream quickly, and your blood sugar levels rise. Sometime later, the feeling of joy has fizzled out, your blood sugar sinks into the cellar, and you plunge into a starvation hole – even though you have only just had breakfast.
Therefore, choose the rye or whole-grain variant at the bakery. They not only keep you full longer but also provide many good micronutrients. In addition, you reduce your risk of diabetes.
Ready Muesli And Granola
Many mueslis, granola, and cereals from the supermarket are hidden sugar and calorie bombs. It doesn’t matter what it says on the front: Don’t be fooled by slogans like “with whole-grain flakes” or “particularly high fruit content.” A look at the list of ingredients is essential. Sugar is usually right at the top. We don’t have to tell you that this is not healthy. For your body, it’s nothing more than empty calories.
On the other hand, if you want to have a healthy breakfast, you can mix your breakfast with oat flakes, fresh fruit, nuts, kernels, and seeds. This way, you can keep a close eye on what’s really in it.
Rice is generally regarded as a healthy filling side dish – in direct comparison with bread and pasta; many think they would make the healthier choice with rice.
However, white rice is also made up of “pure” carbohydrates, from which a large part of the valuable micronutrients was removed when the rice grain was peeled. They are mostly hidden in the thin shell. In other words: white rice fills up your empty carbohydrate stores quickly but provides your body with relatively few vitamins and minerals.
If you want to absorb more nutrients and more fiber with your rice meal, it is best to eat brown rice, also known as brown rice. Pay attention to organic quality, as the rice is then less contaminated with toxins such as cadmium and arsenic.
Those who do sport regularly or want to lose weight like to snack on protein bars. But these are rather unsuitable as a healthy snack. As in many processed foods, protein bars contain a lot of sweeteners, colorings, and flavors. Artificial sweeteners, in particular, have been shown to promote obesity because you quickly get used to the sweet taste, and you have so much more desire for sweets.
If you still want to eat a protein bar after your workout, it is a good idea to look for ones that have a shortlist of ingredients and are low in sugar or sweeteners.
Processed Meat And Sausages
A sandwich with sausage is quick to prepare and is also ideal for taking away. Unfortunately, there is one catch: Several large-scale studies have already shown that processed meat can cause cancer and promote cardiovascular diseases. That is why the World Health Organization has classified Wurst & Co. in the same hazard category as smoking or drinking alcohol – namely as “carcinogenic in humans.”
Therefore, your health is good if you significantly reduce your consumption of processed meat and eat organic sausage instead of cheap meat from the discounter.
There are now many other delicious, plant-based meat alternatives: Give it a try and buy your favorite cold cuts in the vegetarian version, for example, mortadella style. Not only are they lower in calories and fat – they also come astonishingly close to the originals in terms of taste and texture.
We eat many presents every day and do not even know how unhealthy they are. But don’t worry, there are enough alternatives to eat a balanced and healthy diet over the long term.
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