Fruit juice, health bars and other diet-busting foods you would never suspect
Time Out Dubai staff
Dalia Shukri, Head Nutritionist at Nutridiet
Granola: The problem is the calories. Most brands contain at least 200 calories per serving and that serving is probably a mere half cup. You’re also likely to find sugar and/or corn syrup in the ingredients.
Health food bars: They’re certainly convenient, but many popular brands are high in saturated fat and added sugar, and some contain partially hydrogenated oils and loads of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Plus, they actually often contain the calorie equivalent of a candy bar.
Energy drinks: The ‘lift’ they give you comes from caffeine, and they typically have the same amount as a standard cup of coffee. Some varieties are also high in sugar, which rushes into your bloodstream and can ironically lead to an energy crash.
Prepared salads: The most popular salads found in restaurants will often be drowned in extra fats and calories so that consumers will find them tastier.
Gluten-free foods: Unless you suffer from Celiac disease, gluten-free foods not only fail to provide a benefit, they also decrease your nutrient intake and thus do you a little bit of harm overall. If you don’t need gluten-free foods, then don’t buy them. That means gluten-free bread is lower in fibre and natural B vitamins than wholegrain bread.
Brown sugar: It was once claimed that brown sugar is healthier than white because it is less processed. Both, however, are primarily made of sucrose and so there is very little difference between the two. In fact, brown sugar is nothing more than white sugar with molasses added to it. www.nutridiet.ae (04 431 6006).
Gabriele Kurz, Executive well-being chef at Talise Nutrition
Diet soft drinks: They contain sugar replacements such as carrageenan and pretend to be healthy but aren’t. They are still filled with artificial flavours, food colourings etc.
Fruit juices: Even freshly pressed juices are quite high in (natural) sugar content. While they supply great vitamin values, they still spike blood sugar levels. The better choice is vegetable juices. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, firstname.lastname@example.org
Juliot Vinolia, Clinical dietician and consultant nutritionist, iCARE Clinics
High fibre and diabetic biscuits: Diabetic and fibre-added biscuits are not necessarily low in saturated fat or calories. They usually contain artificial sweeteners to make them more edible.
Dark chocolate: Despite the heart-healthy phenols in dark chocolate, it still contains saturated and hydrogenated fats and sugars, which might reduce the benefits of cocoa. Be mindful of portion control.
Multigrain or brown bread: Brown bread can also be made from refined flour with caramelised sugar to give it its brown colour. Make sure you read the nutritional labels. Oasis Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 384 7272). Other locations: Discovery Gardens (04 452 2242), Lamcy Plaza (04 709 2900).