What if I told you a high street fruit smoothie has more sugar than two jam doughnuts? Or that Vitamin Water has as much sugar as a can of Coke?
People are starting to take more care of their health, thanks to the media coverage on the obesity epidemic and ever-expanding waistlines. The trouble is you’re being told the problem but not given a clear solution.
Sure “eat less, exercise more” is a common suggestion, but could the foods being branded as “healthy” actually be just as damaging as our old diets of fast food and chocolate?
Below I’ll take you through a few common misconceptions about the foods we eat as we look to lose fat and get a healthier body.
The Low Fat Myth
It may seem ludicrous to label a bag of sugar as low fat, after all it’s definitely not healthy to eat your way through it, but the truth is companies are labelling their food in a way that is just as dangerous as this.
The bag is 100% sugar and contains no fat, so it’s technically correct. The problem is a lot of people see Low Fat and in their head they hear “won’t make me fat”. Companies know there’s money to be made in healthier products. However, it’s much easier to find a loophole and not have to spend the extra money to improve the quality of the product.
A lot of the time the product is even worse, as the fats – including healthy fats – are often taken out and replaced by sugars, so that they can claim it’s a low fat product.
If a product looks unhealthy but claims to be “low fat” or “no fat” then don’t eat it.
Reduced Sugar/Sugar Free
This is similar to the “Low Fat” trickery with food labelling. Artificial sweeteners that don’t contain sugar are being used to sweeten drinks and desserts, allowing them to be labelled “Sugar Free”. The most well known example would be in Diet Coke.
What do we know about artificial sweeteners? Among them are sucralose, aspartame and saccharin.
The people taking them are looking to lose weight, but research has shown that these sweeteners block the hunger signals to the brain. Those signals tell you to stop eating, so people drinking Diet drinks will eat more food than those drinking water.
Far more dangerous than that are the other side effects, including: depression, nausea, dizziness and an increased risk of cancer.
Check the label: if it contains artificial sweeteners then don’t drink it.
Time for some more clever labelling. This time the product contains “One of your five a day”. Most health professionals will tell you that five is a minimum, and that four of those should be vegetables and the fifth should be fruit in its natural form.
Fruit contains natural sugars, but it also contains fibre, which helps in the digestion process and means fruit is good for you.
Fruit juice loses a lot of the fibre and some of the healthy nutrients too. This makes it much less healthy than you might think. It actually has more sugar per glass than Coke. If you want to start the day with fruit, eat an actual orange.
Fruit Juice is not as healthy as real fruit
This is brought to you by the Coca-Cola company, presumably so they capture more of the market. Vitamin Water is basically a 6 pence multi-vitamin, water, and 30 grams of sugar in a bottle. It comes in pretty colours and explains what benefits vitamins have to the body.
Yet another attempt to get into the health market without actually bothering to produce a healthy product. Vitamin Water is simply sugar water with healthy looking labelling.
Vitamin Water has the same sugar content as a can of Coke, don’t let the labelling fool you.
Coming up in part 2…
- Sports Drinks