Several registered dieticians recently weighed in on some popular foods that may not be as healthy as we think.

It seems like there has been a recent explosion of frozen yogurt shops… the kind where you walk in, pick up a container and fill it with your choice, or choices of frozen yogurt.  Then the fun part begins… filling your cup with lots of toppings.  Some of them are healthy, like berries, and bananas, and lots of them are tasty like chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, and marshmallows.  By the time your cup is weighed, you may be looking at a 500 calorie treat… not the 100 calorie one you thought you were going to have when you walked into the shop.  There is also the myth that frozen yogurt is full of healthy probiotics for digestive health, and can give your body an immune system boost. That may not be true. When yogurt is made into frozen yogurt the level of healthy bacteria usually declines, so you may not be getting the same health benefits you would by having a cup of regular yogurt.  Katherine Booking a registered dietician, and co-founder of said “I would rather opt for a small portion – about a half-cup serving of the real deal… regular ice-cream.  If I am going to indulge, I really want to enjoy my indulgence.”

Gluten-free foods are showing up more often on grocery shelves. Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley and rye. For people with celiac disease, or those with gluten sensitivity, gluten-free is not a choice.  However, many gluten-free foods are now marketed to the general public as health foods.  The problem is that some processed gluten-free products are made with significant amounts of added sugar, saturated fat, and preservatives.  If you don’t have gluten issues, you may want to think twice before eating gluten-free products, thinking it’s a healthier way to eat. On the other hand, we have found that some people with headaches are sensitive to gluten, and limiting(“low-gluten”) gluten may help the headache situation.

Reduced fat peanut butter has become an increasingly popular option to the traditional form of peanut butter.  In the long run, however, it may not be the healthiest choice.  “Reduced-fat peanut butter adds artificial sweeteners, only to save 0.5 grams of saturated fat per serving, and ten calories” says Cristina Rivera, registered dietician, and president of Nutrition in Motion PC.  She believes the fat reduction is not worth it, and the taste becomes artificially sweet.  Eating regular peanut butter also allows you to reap the full benefits of the heart healthy fats in peanuts.  “Natural or organic is the best option, and if you are worried about high calorie content, just be sure to practice portion control, 1 to 2 tablespoons is a serving” says Rivera…..Time Healthland May, 2012

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