These days trying to eat healthy all the time can be difficult with how busy we always are, and many companies know this. They will sell you their products packaged and designed to look like a 'healthy treat' in the hopes that you'll believe what they're telling you. Let's look a bit further. 'Low fat' = 'more sugar', 'convenience meals' = sodium bombs. In this post you will find 20 foods which I have recently seen being advertised or discussed as healthy foods or healthier alternatives, I will include the calorie information (for reference), the terrible ingredients I found in the ingredient lists, and the amount of saturated fat, sugar, and occasionally sodium in each serving.
If you have some foods you want me to investigate leave the suggestions in the comments!
Before we jump into it let me show you the maximum recommended intake of saturated fat (the 'bad' kind of fat), sugar and sodium:
Saturated fat: 20g (remember, absolute max)
1. Boost Juice Choc Protein Balls
Serving size = 1 ball (179 calories)
Contains: biscuit crumbs, butter, sweetened condensed milk
Saturated Fat: 6.6g (18% of 1 serving) Sugar: 3.91g (10.8% of 1 serving)
2. Boost Juice Apricot Bites
You're probably better off just shovelling straight sugar into your mouth.
Serving size = 50g (157cal)
Contains: maltodextrin (High GI carb, sugar replacement), sugar, soy lecithin (emulsifier made from soy beans, soy beans are known to contribute to increased oestrogen levels), isomalt (sugar alcohol)
Saturated Fat: 2g (4%) Sugar: 16g (32%)
3. White Rice Cooked Tuna and Avo Sushi Roll
I'm not sure why lots of people think sushi is a healthy lunch option, it often contains soy and creamy sauces (such as mayo), and usually white rice.
Servings size = 1 roll (410cal)
Contains: Varies by location
Saturated Fat: 6g (3%) Sugar: 8g (4%) Sodium: 520mg
4. Musashi High Protein Drink
Strawberry milk with packaging to appeal to gym-goers.
Serving size = 1 drink (249cal)
Contains: Skim milk, soy, dextrose ('double sugar', glucose + fructose), corn syrup solids (sugar), oligofructose (subgroup of insulin, indigestible), emulsifier (soy lecithin)
Saturated Fat: 1.1g (0.2%) Sugar: 18.8g (5%)
5. Musashi Low Carb Protein Bar
Fun fact - there's more sugar than protein in this bar.
Serving size = 1 bar (101cal)
Contains: soy, polydextrose (synthetic sugar)
Saturated Fat: 1.6g (5%) Sugar: 10.7g (35.6%)
6. Slim Secrets Butterscotch Bliss Fit Balls
On the nutrition panel they split malitol (sugar) and polydextrose (sugar) from the regular 'sugars' so that they can say it's low sugar.
Serving size = 1 pack (181cal)
Contains: soy, soy nuggets, malitol (sugar alcohol), emulsifier (soy lecithin), glycerol (sugar alcohol), polydextrose
Saturated Fat: 5.1g (10%) Sugar: 11.6g (23%)
7. Uncle Tobys Muesli Bar Chewy - Forest Fruits
Say no to muesli bars unless you make them yourself.
Serving: 1 bar (128cal)
Contains: sugar, soy lecithin, soy, sorbitol (sugar alcohol)
Saturated Fat: 0.6g (1%), Sugar: 7.9g (25%)
8. Coles Muesli
Same goes for regular muesli.
Serving size: 50g (183cal)
Contains: emulsifer (soy lecithin), sugar
Saturated Fat: 1.1g (2%) Sugar: 6.2g (12%)
9. Cobs Organic Popcorn
Should I mention that they are advertising corn kernels as being gluten free... corn kernels don't contain gluten in the first place.
Serving size: They say there are 6 servings in a 125g packet, so lets call that 1 serving
Saturated Fat: n/a Sugar: 5.6g (28%)
10. Lean Cuisine Thai Dumpling Soup
Similar things seen throughout most microwave, pre-ready meals, check the sodium!
Serving size: 1 meal (176cal)
Contains: soy, sugar
Saturated Fat: 1.5g (<1%) Sugar: 5.1g (1%) Sodium: 720mg!!!
11. Sun Health Macadamia & Honey Bar
I think we've pretty much established that pre-made muesli bars are just a no-go zone.
Serving size: 1 bar (211cal)
Contains: rice syrup (sugar), sugar
Saturated Fat: 3.2g (9%) Sugar: 10.9g (31%)
12. Subway Spicy Italian Sub - No Sauce
Can we just stop pretending that the Subway bread isn't full of sugar...
Serving size: 1 6" sub (480cal)
Saturated Fat: 9g (4%) Sugar: 8g (3%)
13. Weight Watchers Caramel Shortcake Baked Bar
If you keep eating these bars you won't be losing weight and you'll have to keep going to your Weight Watchers meetings, in the business world that's called vertical integration. Supply and demand baby.
Serving Size: 1 bar - which is only 22g (86cal)
Contains: I could not find the actual ingredients list, so who knows, but check out the sugars
Saturated Fat: 2g (9%) Sugar: 7g (31%) <- sugar!
14. Sweet Chilli Grain Waves
The ~*"healthy alternative"*~ to chips... that are owned by Smiths Chip Company.
Serving size: "6 servings" in a 175g packet, so I'll just call it 1 (825cal)
Contains: sugar, maltodextrin (high GI sugar substitute), flavours/colours
Saturated Fat: 3.7g (2%) Sugar: 15.6g (8%) Sodium: 662mg
15. Activia Vanilla Bean Yoghurt
If you want yoghurt just eat plain greek yoghurt and add your own flavourings to it with fruit, throw this stuff in the trash.
Serving size: 125g (111cal)
Contains: The dairy industry are good at not having to reveal their ingredients
Saturated Fat: 1.9g (1%) Sugar: 16.6g (13%)
16. Nature Valley Protein Bar Coconut Almond
By now I hope you're never going to buy a muesli bar again
Serving size: 1 bar (190cal)
Contains: Sugar, PALM OIL, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, corn syrup, fructose
Saturated Fat: 5g (12%) Sugar: 7g (17%)
17. Nature Valley Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits
I didn't realise breakfast biscuits were a thing now, I'll make a healthy recipe for you guys.
Serving size: 4 biscuits (230cal)
Contains: sugar, butter
Saturated Fat: 2g (4%) Sugar: 12g (24%)
18. Dairy Farmers Skim Milk
"We removed the fat and it tasted terrible, so we had to add sugar"
Serving size: 62mL
Contains: as if the dairy industry wants us to know
Saturated Fat: n/a Sugar: 12.3g (19%)
19. Original Black Label Orange Juice
The reason your body loves fruit and can digest the sugars from fruit is because they contain fibre. Some genius thought it was a great idea to strip out all the fibre and drink them in juice form... liquid fructose! Your body doesn't know what to do with this!
Serving size: 66mL (239cal)
Saturated Fat: n/a Sugar: 16g (24%)
20. Uncle Tobys Antioxidants Breakfast Cereal
Stop eating cereals for breakfast! There are plenty of better alternatives.
Serving size: 40g (that's a joke, right?)
Contains: sugar, glycerol, dextrose, soy lecithin, and lots of dried fruits (ladies, if you're high in oestrogen already you shouldn't be indulging in dried fruits)
Saturated Fat: 0.2g (<1%) Sugar: 8.8g (22%)
If you want to learn more about which foods to avoid and which to gravitate towards check out the following eBook:
Did this post teach you something new? Share it with a friend!
Dallongeville J, Yarnell J, Ducimetiere P, Arveiler D, Ferrieres J, Montaye M, Luc G, Evans A, Bingham A, Hass B, Ruidavets JB, Amouyel P. Fish consumption is associated with lower heart rates. Circulation 2003;108:820-5.
de Deckere EAM, Korver O, Verschuren PM, Katan MB. Health aspects of fish and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from plant and marine origin. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998;52:749-53.
Department of Health and Human Services, US Food and Drug Administration. Substances affirmed as generally recognized as safe: menhaden oil. Federal Register. June 5, 1997. Vol. 62, No. 108: pp 30751-30757. 21 CFR Part 184 [Docket No. 86G-0289] http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgibin/ getdoc.cgi?dbname1997_ register& docidfr05jn97-5.
Djousse L, Pankow JS, Eckfeldt JH, Folsum AR, Hopkins PN, Province MA, Hong Y, Ellison RC. Relation between dietary linolenic acid and coronary artery disease in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74:612-9.
Scheie AA, Fejerskov O, Danielsen B. The effects of xylitol-containing chewing gums on dental plaque and acidogenic potential. J Dent Res 1998;77(7):1547-52.
Van Loveren C. Sugar alcohols: What is the evidence for caries-preventive and caries-therapeutic effects? Caries Res 2004;38(3):286-93.
Ly KA, Milgrom P, Rothen M. Xylitol, sweeteners, and dental caries. Pediatr Dent 2006;28(2):154-63. Discussion 92-8.
33. Lynch H, Milgrom P. Xylitol and dental caries: An overview for clinicians. J Calif Dent Assoc 2003;31:205-9.
Lands WEM, Libelt B, Morris AS, Kramer NC, Prewitt TE, Bowen P, Schmeisser D, Davidson MH, Burns JH. Maintenance of lower proportions of (n-6) eicosanoid precursors in phospholipids of human plasma in response to added dietary (n-3) fatty acids. Biochim Biophys Acta 1992;1180:147-62.
LSRO (Life Sciences Research Office). Fat. In: Raiten DJ, Talbot JM, Waters JH eds. Assessment of nutrient requirements for infant formulas. Bethesda, MD: LSRO, 1998. Pp19-46.
Mascioli EA, Lopes SDM, Champagne C, Driscoll DF. Essential fatty acid deficiency and home total parenteral nutrition patients. Nutrition 1996;12:245-9.
Mori TA, Bao DQ, Burke V, Puddey IB, Beilin LJ. Docosahexaenoic acid but not eicosapentaenoic acid lowers ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate in humans. Hypertension 1999;34:253-60.
Nelson GJ, Schmidt PC, Corash L. The effect of a salmon diet on blood clotting, platelet aggregation and fatty acids in normal adult men. Lipids 1991;26:87-96.
O'Neill JA, Caldwell MD, Meng HC. Essential fatty acid deficiency in surgical patients. Ann Surg 1977;185:535-42.
Ou J, Tu H, Shan B, Luk A, DeBose-Boyd RA, Bashmakov Y, Goldstein JL, Brown MS. Unsaturated fatty acids inhibit transcription of the sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) gene by antagonizing ligand-dependent activation of the LXR. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001;98:6027-32.