Chew On This: 5 things you shouldn't eat - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Chew On This: 5 things you shouldn't eat


It's easy to get lost in the supermarket.  Low fat, no fat, diet.  It seems all the foods we love are bad?  Who hasn't been lured in by a bag of finger-staining cheese puffs? 

Busy mom Kristen Lewis has. She's in love with salty snacks.  Her son Brady, says he loves munching on cinnamon Pop Tarts.

With the seemingly never ending schedule Kristen and her family deal with, she knows how easy it is to grab a handful of salty snacks. "Pretty easy.  I hate it, but we don't have time. There's never time," she says.

Shopping healthy isn't exactly easy either.  Which brings us to the first item on our list: avoid items marked low fat or lite.

Registered dietician Jessica Heckman from the South Bend Clinic says those words can be misleading.

1. Low Fat, No Fat, Diet, Lite Foods

"Low fat products, they've been really popular on the market lately and not all of them are created equally.  So you really want to investigate the label."

We know the label is where you find the calorie and fat content.  We also know navigating through the ingredients can be a hassle.  Kristen says she'd like to read the labels "but it's just throw it in the cart and after you eat it, you're like,  'oh, was that good or bad for me.  Better look.'  Then it's too late."

But Jessica says it's also the place you can find a better and healthier alternative. Take yogurt for example. Jessica says "Yoplait lite has 90 calories compared to 170 in the full fat version."

The lite may sound better, but it has artificial sweetener and coloring in it.. Both things Jessica says you should avoid.  So the better option would be going Greek.  You get extra protein for one.  On top of that, Jessica says, it does not have any fat and only has about 140 calories in a standard container.  It's not artificially sweetened nor does it contain artificial coloring or preservatives, either.

And when it comes to cheese, should you reach for low fat or fat free. Jessica says  "In this instance I would choose the two percent version because they're not adding any extra ingredients and it's lower in fat and calories."

2. Frozen Meals

The next items in our list are in the frozen section.  Kristen say's it's easy to grab a few of these things and pop in the microwave.  She says she does that about two nights a week.

There are plenty of leaner, smarter and healthier choices, but the question is:  What meal is going to better for you?

Chew on food you make.  For example some brown rice, chicken and broccoli.  Our Registered Dietitian, says you then have a whole week of lunches just as easy as buying one of these and you may save a bit of money.

3. Cereal

We're told breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but a common morning meal choice could be getting your day off to a bad start.

Jessica says don't be fooled when it comes to cereal, especially kids cereal.   Sugary cereals are often made to look very tasty and very healthy.  But instead of the sugary cereals, reach for something low in sugar, high in fiber and that only has three ingredients.

But try getting kids to eat that.  Kristen says "I don't think there is anyway I would."

4. Soda Pop

Up next on our list diet soda, or pop in these parts.  There is nothing healthy about it. Jessica says "A lot of people think it can be healthy because is has zero calories.  And some people think they it can be used as an alternative to water."

Aspartame and artificial sweeteners are your enemies with this.  Our dietician says "Regular coke is like liquid candy. There are 39 grams of sugar in a 12 ounce serving and 140 calories."  That applies to any of your regular pops.

What if you need the fizz? Try something like a soda stream. Jessica says your best bet is not to add the syrup, just use the carbonated water and simply add fruit like oranges or berries.

5. Processed Meats

The final item on the list is processed meats. Jessica says, "hot dogs and processed meat in general have been linked to heart disease. Not only heart disease, diabetes as well."

There are some substitutions like turkey dogs but Kristen Lewis says "I don't mind them that awful much, but my family, they hate them."

Even our dietitian, admits "things like turkey bacon just don't taste very good."  And don't grab that pack of pre-sliced, sodium and additive loaded lunch meat.  Walk a few feet and grab a fresh chicken or turkey. You can then slice it up and use it on sandwiches, wraps, even salads.

All this is a lot to take in, but shoppers like Kristen, say she's willing to make a few changes to a few things but not her favorites. She says  "it's just too hard to make the switch, so maybe in moderation would be okay"

Bringing it all together

If you are going to take the time to check those ingredient lists, there are some items you want to watch for. 

Be wary if you see large amounts of trans fat or saturated fat, sugar, sodium, or artificial coloring and sweeteners.  Even foods that say 0g of trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label may have up to 0.5g of trans fat if you see partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredient section.

Look for less than 8g of sugar per serving.  Some other words that indicate sugar are corn syrup, malt syrup, sucrose, dextrose, and cane juice. 

When it comes to salt, keep the sodium levels less than 500mg for a meal, and less than 200mg per serving for snacks.

The three best ingredient items to look for are fiber, whole grain, and vitamins and minerals.  Look for at least 3g of fiber per serving.  For cereals, breads, pasta, and crackers, look for whole grains in the first ingredient such as "WHOLE wheat" or "WHOLE oat flour" or "WHOLE corn flour."

A final rule of thumb is to look for short ingredients.  Healthy options usually use whole ingredients, names you can pronounce, instead of chemical components.  Also, the more ingredients listed, the more processed the food is.


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