In an ever increasing global trend to move towards healthier foods, it's no wonder food companies are hard at work to keep the customer uninformed about what they are eating. Knowing what foods are good for you and which ones are bad is not difficult to find out, but many consumers fall prey to careful marketing, making it hard to know exactly what you should be eating when trying to lose weight. For example, McDonald's has been promoting their new salads as a healthy alternative to their standard foods, yet a closer look at the nutrition facts will show that this is far from true. A McDonald's Quarter Pounder has 410 calories in it, 170 of those come from fat. A Southwest salad with crispy chicken on the other hand is 440 calories, with 180 of those coming from fat, and that's without dressing! Add creamy Caesar dressing to that and you have an extra 190 calories on top. That's a total of 610 calories, 200 more than a Quarter Pounder. It is McDonald's clever marketing that allows them to get away with selling a salad that is worse for your body than a large burger, but people eat it right up.
Another common misconception is that fruit smoothies are a low calorie alternative to a meal. While this is true if they are made at home with the right ingredients, many people opt to buy these frozen treats when they are out at places like Jamba Juice. The problem with buying fruit smoothies out is that they are usually packed with sugar to increase they taste, while fooling the customer into believing that they are drinking something healthy. Some examples of this are the "Yumberry Topper" which has 590 calories for its "original" size (22 fl oz.). Or the "Chunky strawberry topper" which has 620 calories for 22 fl oz. Most of these drinks range from 400-550 calories, hardly a healthy option for the conscious dieter.
But while many people have misconceptions about what is healthy, many others have the same misconceptions about what they believe are unhealthy. A lot of people don't think you can eat a healthy, low calorie meal at a fast food chain, but there are ways. A normal cheeseburger at a fast food joint will usually run you 300 calories, not bad for something that is likely going to fill you up and leave you satisfied. A typical snack wrap from McDonald's runs about 250-350 calories, again not bad if you are on a calorie budget. Losing weight is no easy task, but just by reading the nutritional info you are more likely to succeed in your weight loss goals. Don't be fooled by what you see on TV, educated yourself by doing research and plan your meals around what you learn.