DON’T BE FOOLED BY MEAL DECEPTION
Grocery store items that might not be as healthy as they claim.
With all the options at the supermarket now, you could spend hours trying to decipher what’s a better choice while food shopping. The following guide will help direct you better to spend less time researching and more time enjoying what’s actually good for you.
- “Sugar-free” and “fat-free” processed foods: In almost every case, when a food manufacturer is omitting one thing such as fat, they are compensating for it by adding more sugar or vice versa. Your best best is to buy “low fat” or “reduced sugar”, these products usually are healthier than the full version without adding anything else to make up for the flavor.
- Gluten-free (if you do not have celiac disease): It is a common misconception that gluten free products are carb free and/or healthier but no one knows how or why. Gluten isn’t a carb at all, it is a protein found in wheat. People who suffer from celiac disease get an allergic reaction from the consumption of gluten in wheat. Therefore, manufacturers use substitutes, often not as palatable to make up for the difference such as potato flour, soy flour, or corn flour. In many cases you lose valuable nutrients found in wheat like B vitamins and iron.
- Fruit smoothies: Fruit smoothie companies like Naked combine fruit juices instead of whole fruits and lack any fiber. Fiber is a great component naturally in whole fruit that helps with satiety and digestion. PepsiCo who owns Naked was recently sued for misleading health claims on their fruit smoothies, containing a whopping 60 grams of sugar, 20 more grams than a can of regular soda. Read more about it here.
- Trail mix: Nuts, dried fruit and any other mix-ins aren’t unhealthy, its the portion size that is surprising and without paying attention could easily add up quick. About a handful of trail mix is around 200 calories, now you can see how quickly that can add up. A 5 oz bag which is about 4 handfuls will bring in 800 calories, that’s more than a meal!
These are just to name a few examples of foods that appear healthy on the surface, but once you look into it and compare you will see the difference. It can get overwhelming but if you want to narrow down your search, look for the nutrition label of the package, if any nutrient is over 20% daily value then it is considered high, so be wary of that. Also, compare a similar product’s nutrition label, you can often decipher which one is the healthier choice by either the daily value or ingredient list.