When Trail Mix Turns From Healthy To Harmful In Your Diet

September 10, 2018

Trail mix is looked as a healthy snack. The mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and sometimes chocolate are a great way to fuel the body with antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats and for many it is a rewarding snack. Its growing popularity has caused many companies to add in more flavors and tastes to the blend trail mix’s traditional nutrient-dense ingredients. While this may sounds tasty, it is a reason to be cautious as trail mix can look healthy but be filled with calories and highly processed foods disguised as a snack you can safely indulge. Make sure to look for mixes made mostly of dried fruits and nuts. While add-ins like yogurt-coated raisins and wasabi peas can be delicious, they displace the healthiest ingredients and don’t add many valuable nutrients themselves. Yogurt can be a healthy snack by itself but yogurt-covered raisins in trail mix most likely consists of hydrogenated oils and added sugars and while many makers try to polish that processed sugar into a positive by adding probiotics to their blends, nutritionists say there are better sources than this to introduce into your body. As for chocolate, modest quantities of dark and even milk chocolate may have some health benefits—so it’s okay to choose a trail mix that contains a small amount. But be careful as that chocolate contains sugar and too much of it in trail mix can lead to empty calories. Added sugars in trail mix can also sneak up on you. Companies won’t be required to list the amount of added sugars on food labels until the year 2020. But an easy way to look for added sugars is by reading the ingredient list for vitamin content. Naturally occurring sugars like those in fruit come packaged with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while added sugars provide no nutritional value. BE wary of sodium too.  Many trail mix flavors label as "spicy" can add a lot of salt into your diet. Most trail mix serving sizes are around ¼ cup, the amount that fits in one cupped palm. But who can have one palm of trail mix and be satisfied? So seek out single-serving bags or measure out servings and pre-portion them into small containers or bags. That way you can ration out your single-serve and not mindlessly grab handfuls.

SOUCE: Consumer Reports

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