NewsYour Health Matters


The Health Halo Effect: are good foods really that good?

Understanding the 'Health Halo Effect'
Posted at 1:21 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 13:21:14-05

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – It’s pretty clear when offered the choice between a chocolate bar and a carrot stick which is the healthier choice, but most of the time the choice is more subtle, like choosing between white sugar and sugar in the raw.

Which would you choose?

Many times, the one you think is healthier is because it’s marketed that way. It’s called the healthy food halo effect. Those foods you think are good for you but aren’t. We went to the experts to get answers on which good foods are really bad.

Do you know which is better for you? White Sugar or Sugar in the Raw? Almond milk or regular milk? White salt or pink Himalayan salt?

Licensed Dietician Kait Richardson says these are just some of the foods that fall under the healthy food halo effect. “There are a lot of foods that people think are healthy, but actually aren't. Things that are low fat often are loaded with sugar,” said Richardson.

Which would you choose as the healthier choice? Yogurt or ice cream? “If you compare the amount of sugar on the back of some traditional yogurts to ice cream, it's almost the same,” said Richardson. When it comes to sugar, while sugar in the raw is less processed, there is no difference when it comes to nutrition.

And which is better, almond milk or regular milk? Both contain calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and fiber. However, unless you have a food allergy, it’s not necessary for your health to substitute nut milks for cow’s milk. And dairy milk offers a high protein content, while most nut milks contain added sugars.

And is pink Himalayan salt worth the extra cash? “Himalayan sea salt and table salt both contain similar amounts of sodium,” said Richardson. Bottom line—not everything is as good as it’s marketed to be.

What about grass-fed beef? Is it also better for your health?

The answer is yes! Grass-fed beef is leaner than beef that’s been conventionally raised, with less monounsaturated fat.

Grass-fed beef contains more omega-3s than grain-fed beef. These helpful fats have been linked to lower blood pressure, reduced inflammation, and better brain health. However, there’s one catch: beef that’s labeled “grass-fed” comes from cows that may have only been fed grass at one point or receive supplemental grains. Only the beef labeled “grass-finished” comes from cows that have eaten nothing but grass for their entire lives.