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Darya Pino, Ph.D

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10 Overrated Health Foods

Posted: 03/30/2012 8:00 pm

Like it or not, we tend to believe whatever we are exposed to in the media and in advertisements. In nutrition, this usually means that as a society we all follow the same diet fads, glorifying some foods over others in the quest for better health. (It's okay, I love salmon and coconut water as much as you do.)

Problem is, though, more often than not the news or the health claims made by food manufacturers vastly overstate any potential health benefits, because it makes a more compelling story and sells more products. Our own confirmation biases tend to make us believe what we're told, we confidently share our insight with our friends, and suddenly our grocery stores are filled with health foods that really aren't all they are cracked up to be.

Here are my 10 picks for the most overrated health foods.

Top 10 Most Overrated Health Foods

Yogurt
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There is nothing innately wrong with yogurt, the natural product. But the real stuff is not nearly as easy to find as the hyper-sweetened dessert versions filling supermarket shelves. Though yogurt can contain beneficial probiotics, friendly bacteria are also present in other fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and miso. And if you are worried about acne, dairy is probably not your best choice.

Oh, and the overratedness is doubly true of frozen yogurt.

If you'd rather keep yogurt as your breakfast staple (something I'm certainly not opposed to), go for plain yogurt that is either full or low-fat. Don't fall for the vanilla trap, it is not plain and has even more sugar than most fruit versions. You need some fat in your yogurt so you can absorb the fat-soluble vitamin D added to most milk-based products.


Flickr photo by Mr. T in DC

What are your least favorite health foods?

Originally published at Summer Tomato, where you can find more healthy eating tips. Summer Tomato is one of Time's 50 Best Websites of 2011.

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