Some of the tastiest foods are actually masquerading around as the real thing. People with diabetes need to be aware of fake foods that resemble their wholesome counterparts. Consider the 5 fake foods that contain elements you should try to avoid.
- Imitation seafood salad looks and smells like the real thing but it’s not. Often people buy imitation crab without realizing it. Read the package carefully and ask questions at the deli counter when you buy seafood salad. Imitation seafood contains some real fish but it also has a mix of fillers that usually have a large amount of carbohydrates. One half cup of imitation crab product has 14 grams of carbohydrates. Pre-made seafood salad may contain heavy amounts of dressing or mayonnaise which will increase the saturated fat content as well. Mix your low carb pasta with real crab meat instead. It only has a trace of carbohydrate, less fat and a lot more flavor.
- Processed cheese is another pretender lurking in your dairy or deli department. Often processed cheese is labeled as “American cheese” and has an alluring yellow hue. Don’t let it fool you. While it might melt well, it has forms of milk product concentrates and milk products that triple the carbohydrate content. Cheddar is another processed cheese product. One of these popular products has 3 grams of carbohydrates per ounce while an ounce of real cheddar cheese has a trace amount of carbohydrate. Processed cheese might also state on the label “pasteurized prepared cheese product” so you can figure out it’s not the real deal. It tends to be shinier than real cheese products and has far less flavor. There’s nothing like the real thing. Stay aware from squirt-able cheese in a can.
- Processed meats such as sausages, bologna, salami and hot dogs are other fake foods to watch out for. Even the expensive varieties might not be the best choices. They contain a high level of carbohydrate and sometimes have corn syrup along with huge amounts of saturated fat. Read the labels carefully before buying these products. Unless the label says “nitrate-free,” processed meats may also contain preservatives that could cause cancer. They also increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. If you are dining out, ask about the ingredients to make an educated choice. If your server is unsure, skip processed meats altogether.
- Whipped topping may look delicious on your sugar-free Jell-O, but is it hiding a nasty secret? These seemingly tantalizing toppings are actually a chemical concoction with artificial colors and flavors. Whipped toppings might have a bit of real cream but they also contain corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oil, a trans-fat. Both of these ingredients should be avoided since this can increase your risk of heart disease. Instead, occasionally indulge in a tablespoon of real whipped cream made from actual cream. You can make it yourself at home so you know it’s the real thing and not a fake facsimile. Portion size is what counts. Factor it in as part of your daily fats.
- Non-dairy creamers (powder or liquid) are also made with hydrogenated oil, corn syrup and sugar. While they may taste good and look smooth, they are no good for you. A tiny portion won’t be too harmful now and again. If you turn to non-dairy creamers daily, you are being taken in by a fake food that can do you wrong. Over time the bad fats and carbohydrates will take a toll on your health and blood sugar levels. Consider low fat milk as an alternative.
Make sure to do your detective work when you go grocery shopping and read the labels carefully. If you have any questions when dining out, ask your server or the owner of the restaurant. You should try to avoid fake foods that are hiding a host of ingredients that can be bad for your general health.