We see it all the time, walking through the grocery store, Ad’s around your city, or on the TV, telling us what we should consume. With more and more people becoming aware of the importance of healthy eating, many of these ads will tell you that their product is a healthy option. What If I told you that many of those foods you THOUGHT were healthy are NOT?!
With so many products on the shelf, companies will often highlight certain bits of information on their product labels to make the consumer think the product is healthy. You have seen it before whether it’s a big 20g of PROTEIN, SUGAR-FREE, or FAT-FREE label, you surely won’t miss it!
What you CAN miss though, is what they DON’T want you to see - the information that will tell you that product may NOT be as healthy as it seems.
Today I will be going through some products you THOUGHT were healthy, and will give you healthy alternatives to these!
P.S. Not EVERY one of these products I will mention today is always unhealthy. Many of them have multiple different ones to choose from, it’s about knowing which to choose!
Many people think that one of the healthiest things you can have after a workout is a protein shake. YES, we indeed need protein after a workout, but did you know that MANY smoothies and protein shakes contain TONS of sugar?
WHY? There are a couple of different reasons. First of all fruits in general contain a ton of sugar. Although it’s natural sugar, too much sugar of any kind, natural or not, is not good for you! Typically smoothies and protein shakes are loaded with fruits causing the sugar level to be high.
Making matter worse, many juice bars and pre-bought smoothie brands use fruit JUICE instead of regular juice. In most cases, fruit juice contains added sugars and other ingredients and preservatives that will make your smoothie UNHEALTHY!
For example, a typical booster juice can contain around 50g of sugar! Look at their “Ripped Berry” smoothie, although it contains 28g of protein, it also contains 59g of sugar!
Bare in mind, we should not be consuming more than 20-30g of sugar in a day, having one of these smoothies will about double that amount!
Make your smoothie at home! Find a simple, healthy recipe online which doesn’t include high amounts of fruit. You can even find a healthy coffee-based or vegetable-based protein smoothie!
Juice made of freshly pressed fruits and vegetables?! Yes, please! That has GOT to be healthy! WRONG! Many green juices are NOT healthy!
Just like the smoothies, green juices are one of the foods you thought were healthy but tend to have high amounts of sugar. WHY? Since many people don’t enjoy the taste of juiced vegetables, many companies will add tons of fruit to cover-up the veggie taste.
For example, let’s look at Starbucks partner Evolution cold-pressed juices. For a little more than half a bottle of their strawberry lemonade juice, you're looking at 24g of sugar, making the whole bottle about 45g of sugar. Their super fruit greens smoothie contains 26g for about half, making the whole bottle around 50g of sugar.
There ARE some healthy fresh pressed juices you can either purchase or make yourself! Typically, a REAL healthy green juice will contain mostly veggies and won’t taste overly sweet. For example, Evolution’s green devotion made up of mostly vegetables only has 4g of protein for just over half a bottle!
Many of you may already know that FRUIT JUICES tend to contain TONS of sugar! Even organic, ‘healthy’ brands such as Happy Planet are NOT good for you!
For example, Happy Planets mango peach juice contains 26g of sugar per cup! Even though it is organic and fresh, doesn’t mean it is healthy!
Water! If you want more flavour, try adding a 0 calorie or low-calorie water flavour!
At some point in the past, fats were made out to be the bad guy. Eating fat will make you GAIN fat - right? WRONG! This is not true! Fat is something we NEED in our bodies for us to be able to absorb nutrients.
Because of the belief that fat was BAD, many companies began to come out with ‘fat-free’ products. What took place of that fat you ask? SUGAR and artificial flavours and ingredients.
Of course, it is a good idea to stay away from unhealthy fats such as trans fats, but healthy fats are 100% good for you and shouldn’t be avoided.
Stick with the regular, full-fat products, avoid the fat-free ones!
Yogurt is one of those tricky things. We see it advertised as healthy all the time, but is it really?! The answer to this is YES and NO!
If you are sticking with PLAIN GREEK YOGURT, then YES it can be healthy.
ANY sweetened yogurt is one of those foods you thought were healthy! It's NOT good for you! For example, Starbucks fruit yogurt and granola parfait contain 37g of sugar! A bottle of Yop by Yoplait contains 18g of sugar!
Try plain Greek yogurt with some natural, no sugar added peanut butter!
Granola/protein bars and cookies
You probably already guessed it - These products are typically loaded with sugar! Some also contain preservatives and other unhealthy additives.
For example, a nature valley sweet and salty almond bar contains 8g of sugar, with corn syrup being the second ingredient listed (meaning there is a large amount of it in the product)
Another example is Lenny and Larry’s complete cookie, chocolate chip flavour contains 12g of sugar for only half the cookie! That means eating a whole cookie is 24g of sugar! It contains more sugar than protein!
Make your own healthy bars! You can find a TON of recipes online that will give you the taste and satisfaction you want - without all the added sugar!
Read the back label
Go past the front label! Get into the nutrition facts and ingredients to see if the product you are about to purchase is really healthy! If it contains more then 10g of protein, it is NOT a good choice!
Make sure to check the PORTION size the nutrition label indicates in comparison to how much is in the package/ bottle. Many companies will often put a SMALLER portion size then what is actually contained in the package/ bottle to make the sugar/carb content not look so bad.
For example, Happy Planet’s “Clean Whey Protein” smoothie’s nutritional label gives you the amount for 250ml of the product when there is 900ml in the bottle. This means you have to multiply that 14g of sugar by almost 4! YIKES, that’s a whopping 50g of sugar!
Make it yourself:
9 times out of 10, when you make it yourself, it will be healthier! You know what is going into it, no unhealthy ingredients have the chance to sneak their way in!
There you have it squadies! Foods you thought were healthy and their alternatives!