In our super charged and busy lives,we are all trying to live better, healthier lives. Our food choices are changing and we often find ourselves in the ‘Health foods’ section of the supermarket. Although stocking up on protein bars , granolas and low cal snacks from this section makes us feel very proud of ourselves, we often trust the products in this category to be what they claim. Are they really?
Looking at labels of food products is a habit that everyone needs to learn but it can also be a confusing one. Marketing and advertising punches out all the key points in their arsenal to get you hyped up about a product. Bright colours, words like “Get Fit” “Your body Needs” “Raw” “High Energy “and pictures of trim athletic models all drag us in.
Big food companies love marketing one healthy quality in their product and leaving us in the dark about some other bad ones.
Certain products will tell you that they are Low in sugar and they rightly will be, but if you look carefully, they might be High on saturated fats.
When looking at the back of a packet, food should generally contain less than 3g or of fat per 100g; 5g sugar; and 0.3 salt. And food that contains more than 17.5g per 100g of fat; or 22.5g of sugar and 1.5g of salt should only be eaten occasionally.
Just in case you don’t have these facts and figures on hand while you are shopping, another tip is to look at what the first few items are on the ingredients list. Ingredients are usually listed in descending order of content and the ones on the top of the list will form the majority.
Most products in this section of the store can be useful for people with various food allergies who need alternate sources of nutrients. rice based snacks instead of wheat, protein drinks and non allergenic seeds and dry fruit mixes. If you are someone who wishes to balance healthy food in your diet, a cheaper way would be to invest in high protein high fibre fresh ingredients like eggs, chickpeas and numerous vegetables. Yes, a little more time and effort is required but you can be sure of what is going into your body.
A recent research by Livelighter in Australia proved that this is true. The study compared various products.
One of the snacks they looked at was the 49 gram Bounce Peanut Natural Energy Ball. The Bounce ball is ‘high in kilojoules, with ‘added sugars and no fruit’, even though it contains 29 per cent peanuts and some sesame seeds.
LiveLighter found you would be far better off with the recommended 30 gram serve of date and cacao Sunbeam Energy Bites from the regular food aisle. Even though the bites were ‘high in energy and sugar’, they were still 80 per cent dates.
So the next time you are in the Health food aisle, keep your eyes wide open.