People are becoming more health conscious now than ever before, and food manufacturers are catching on. As more and more products continue to sweep the shelves and aisles of grocery stores, it’s important to look beyond labels and marketing buzzwords. To help you make healthier and smarter choices, here is a roundup of a few foods that may not be as healthy as they are marketed out to be:
Whole nuts, seeds, dried fruits - how can these be unhealthy? Unfortunately, many trail mixes contain omega-6-rich polyunsaturated oils which have been heated at high temperatures causing them to be oxidised and thus turn rancid. Many also incorporate candy-coated chocolates, which can cause a large blood sugar spike and dip. The good news is that you can very easily make your own by combining nuts and seeds of your choice with some unsweetened dried fruit like our dried Bogoya Banana Bites.
Highly processed bars
Similarly to trail mixes, many of these bars are merely glorified candy bars. Try and opt for bars made with wholesome, easily-recognisable ingredients. PRESS’s energy bars are developed by nutrition experts, ensuring the perfect combination of protein, fibre, natural fruit sugars, heart-healthy unsaturated fats and are 100% plant-based.
Just because there is the word ‘vegetable’ in their name doesn’t mean that they’re nutritionally superior to the standard potato crisps. Much like their potatoes-only counterparts, they are still deep-fried and heavily salted. So don’t count on these to increase your fibre and antioxidant intake for the day!
Soups are usually an incredibly healthy yet comforting meal, especially during this time of the year. Canned soups, on the other hand, can contain a lot of preservatives in the form of high amounts of sugar and sodium. In addition, the cans used are often lined with Bisphenol A (BPA), which can accumulate in the body and cause long term health problems.
‘Low-fat’/ ‘gluten-free’ products
On the surface, these products may be perceived as healthier options. However, to compensate for the lost components, refined sugar, stabilising gums and other additives are often added. With the exception of gluten intolerance/sensitivities, adopting a gluten-free diet does not provide additional health benefits and are often less fibre-rich, a nutrient that is essential for optimal bowel health. Healthy fats, like those from nuts, fish, and avocados, are also incredibly healthy and play a crucial role in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
It's not all bad news though... chocolate, burgers and wine are all still as healthy as they've always been.
Maylinee Chan BSc Nutrition & Dietetics