With so many health claims and hyped up marketing messages around the latest ‘must have’ food products, even the savviest of us can struggle to detangle fact from fiction.
It’s easy to lose sight of what’s healthy and what’s not so healthy, which is exactly where the food industry wants us to be.
But fear not, Nutritionist and weight loss expert Lily Soutter is setting the record straight, so this time round you can avoid those ‘junk foods’ in disguise...
Do you eat these junk-foods in disguise? 3 ‘health’ foods we may better off without
1) Protein Bars
Yep, they’re everywhere and in every shape and form. But you may want to think twice next time you grab and gobble, as many of these bars are high in calories, sugar, hydrogenated oils, cheap fillers, binders and stabilisers. And just like sports drinks, many of us don’t need them.
Maybe if you’re an elite athlete, they could be a convenient way to up your protein and calorie intake, but for the average person the nutritionally-void, low-quality ingredients can lead to weight gain, and are hard for the body to digest.
If do find yourself choosing a protein bar, one things for sure - always Read. The. Label. If you don’t recognise half the ingredients, and the calorie and sugar content is high, then you may be better off without.
Instead of snacking on candy in disguise, why not try making your own homemade, low sugar ‘protein bars’. All you really need is a blender and some wholesome ingredients.
2) Coconut water
There’s so much hype around the health benefits of coconut water, but the truth is, it’s is packed full of sugar. Did you know that the average 330ml carton of coconut water has more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut? And it’s so easy glug down within seconds.
Unfortunately, the additional potassium and other electrolytes you receive from this beverage, simply do not outweigh the negatives that come with the additional sugar.
However coconut water, does have a place, and it can be used as a hydrating healthier, post workout sports drinks. After working out our bodies are in more insulin sensitive state, therefore we can metabolise the sugar in a more efficient way.
The problem with coconut water is when we glug back more than a chocolate bars worth of sugar before 9am, which inevitably leads to blood sugar spikes and crashes.
There’s no denying that staying hydrated is good for us. But if you’re looking for a sweeter beverage without the sugar load, then try infusing water with berries overnight
3) Frozen Yoghurt
The frozen yoghurt movement has taken Britain by storm, and a halo has been placed on the tip this ‘virtuous’ low fat ice cream alternative.
But the cold truth about frozen yoghurt is, that it often contains more sugar than ice cream, because in order to get rid of the tart taste, companies often have to add additional sweetness. So even if it’s fat-free, in reality it is the sugar that will lead to the weight gain.
And we haven’t even come to the toppings yet, many of which often negate the claimed health attributes of the frozen yoghurt.
It just go’s to show that low fat doesn’t always mean healthier.
Try blending yoghurt, berries, a pinch of cinnamon and freeze in ice lolly moulds for your own low sugar, healthy frozen yoghurt alternative.
Lily Soutter Bsc (Hons) Nutrition, Dip ION, mBANT, CNHC
Lily is a Nutritionist and weight loss expert providing one-to-one nutrition consultations for health optimisation. She has obtained a Food and Human Nutrition degree from Newcastle University and a Nutritional Therapy diploma from The Institute of Optimum Nutrition. Lily has an extensive knowledge of the science of food and health, which enables her to regularly write for The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Mirror, Women's Health, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan.
For one-to-one nutrition consultations:
07929 392166 firstname.lastname@example.org