Marketing is a very clever thing - the words 'low-fat', 'no added sugar' or 'organic' jump out at us from the shelves and in our head we immediately classify those foods as healthy options. Unfortunately, a lot of the time these foods are definitely not healthier for us. Just because something doesn't have any added sugar certainly does not mean that it is low in sugar or that it isn't full of lots of other processed sweeteners/chemicals.
So which foods are the worst culprits for this kind of trickery?
1) Low-fat yogurts
The term 'low-fat' is an old school classic to try and convince consumers that a product is healthy. Low-fat = lower-calorie = good for me? NO! Fortunately it is now becoming more and more well-known that fat is not actually bad for us like it was previously thought to be. In fact, when fat is removed from yogurt it is often replaced with sugar and other nasty, processed ingredients or sweeteners. So whilst it might be lower in calories that does not mean that it is healthier for us because these processed ingredients can have a much more harmful effect on our health in the long-term.Full-fat products will also leave us feeling full for longer and we don't actually need as much of it as it is much more satiating.
2) Breakfast cereals or cereal bars
Cereal is a quick, cheap and easy option to have in the morning which is why it is such a popular breakfast. Unfortunately though most cereals are full of added sugar - there's no 'sugar-coating' the fact that Frosties are absolutely covered in it. Other less obvious culprits include Just Right and Special K. Cereal bars are definitely not any better either - often made with dried fruit, honey and vegetable oil... you are much better off making your own from scratch. The best cereal picks? Oat and Weetabix - high in fibre and low in sugar.
3) Dried fruit
Don't be fooled by the name - just because it has the word 'fruit' in it does not mean it is healthy! Dried fruit is made by removing the water which concentrates the sugar content. For example, in a 100g of apricots there is about 9g of sugar but in 100g of dried apricots there is about 53g of sugar - a HUGE difference! Plus, who ever stops at just one piece of dried fruit? Dried fruit also often contains preservatives and vegetable oils which are not good for your health. If you are a lover of dried fruit, try and make an easy switch by eating one or two piece of whole fresh fruit per day instead.
4) Agave syrup
Relatively new to the market and advertised as a 'healthy alternative' to sugar... but is this true? Definitely not. Just because it has a low GI and comes from a plant does not mean it is good for you - in fact, it is highly refined and processed and VERY high in fructose (you can read more about the effects of fructose here and here). In terms of health, you would be much better off opting for more savoury options whenever possible. And when you do want to treat yourself to a delicious sweet treat then that's absolutely fine - just don't be fooled by clever marketing buzzwords.
Firstly, why would you ever choose margarine over butter in terms of taste?! Well, I don't think you would. Melted butter on toast.... there is nothing better (it's making me hungry just thinking about it). Margarine became popular around the whole 'low-fat' era - when fat was blamed for all our health issues and so we had to reduce it or remove it from our diets completely (blah blah blah). However, now we all know that's not true so there shouldn't be any reason to choose margarine over butter, unless you are a vegan of course. Margarine is actually highly processed and made with unhealthy vegetable oils (e.g. trans fats) as opposed to butter which has no artificial ingredients and is full of saturated fat which we now know to not be bad for us. Let's stick to real food and eat like our grandparents ate - choose butter!
Can you think of any more products that seem healthy but aren't? Comment below and let me know!