You can find a health and fitness section in just about every newspaper, magazine, website and bathroom stall advertisement you see. Most health sections worth their electrolytes offer a daily health tip, usually a satisfying pat on the back rather than an admonition to shape up.
A good number of those factoids dictate what foods you should eat. These are especially satisfying because they involve adding food to your diet.
They're also easy to forget, because every food imaginable seems to get its picture in the paper. Foods that are traditionally considered indulgent or lacking in nutrition are occasionally revealed as lifesavers, making the Fun Food Fact even more confusing: If wine and chocolate really are health foods, you might ask yourself, why am I watching my diet so carefully?
Do the benefits of said health foods always outweigh the downsides?
Here are five foods you might want to get the full story on, from soup to nuts ...
No. 5: Soup
Soup is one of the original health foods, people think. You sip it when you're sick, and it inspires people to write sappy inspirational books. We feed it to homeless people, and it has the potential to be delicious and low-calorie.
But dieters should be aware of exactly what's in the ladle, says Georgia Kostas, nutritionist and author of "The Guilt-Free Comfort Food Cookbook."
That's because soups can easily hide unhealthy amounts of sodium and fat.
"One that immediately comes to mind is tomato basil soup," Kostas said. "It is so popular. It's got tomatoes, so people think it's healthy. But many restaurants make it with a cream base. If it's got a cream base, it can be very high in calories, so you're getting much more fat than you need."
No. 4: Fruit juices
If you've made an effort to give up soda, you might be reaching for fruit juice instead.
Do you know what percentage of it was once attached to a tree? Kostas says that number makes all the difference.
"If it's 100 percent fruit juice, then it is a good product, but you have to make sure it doesn't have added sugars to it," she said.
That means no high-fructose corn syrup, which is often the first ingredient in bottled juices.
"It looks like fruit juice, but you have to check the label. It might only have 10 percent juice," Kostas said, making it only slightly more healthy than your former daily can of orange soda.
No. 3: Energy bars and drinks
Page through any fitness magazine and you'll begin to see a pattern in the advertising. Words like "power," "fit," "edge," "endurance" and "energy" are splayed across the rippling muscles of men and women covered in inexplicably attractive sweat beads.
The man has just finished the Ironman. The woman came in ahead of him. If you eat the same energy bar they do, you must be doing something right, the ads say.
Perhaps, if you actually require a vast amount of energy. But be especially diligent when tossing what Kostas calls "glorified candy bars" into your cart. "People think they are (healthful) because they look at the ingredients and see vitamins and minerals added," she said. "But often the first ingredient is sugar."
The first ingredient should always be a whole grain and sugar one of the last, Kostas said.