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Just because it says it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it will be optimal for you to achieve your goals

The marketing companies know exactly how to play to your weaknesses and will do so at every opportunity so we have compiled a list for you of snacks that might just not be healthy food choice they make themselves out to be.

1. Cereal Bars

Top brands would love you to believe that their cereal bars are a healthy snacking option. Unfortunately the heavy reliance they have on carbohydrates as a nutrient source can cause problems in a diet all too often already top heavy on simple sugars

For example, a typical Kelloggs Nutri-grain bar contains 12g of sugar.

Consider snacking more on nuts, seeds, and vegetable sources.

2. Fruit Smoothies

Shock horror and I’ll probably get bashed for saying this – but fruit smoothies just ain’t that healthy. Especially if losing weight is your goal. The problem with fruit smoothies, especially those from coffee shops, or delis, is the serving size. Some chains serve smoothies that can contain up to 500 CALORIES!

And while its not all about cutting calories you still cannot lose weight if you are consuming far too many

Did you know that a medium Mango & Passionfruit Cooler from Costa Coffee contains 60.1 grams of sugar. HOLY CRAP!

3. Fat Free Yoghurts

Low fat varieties of yoghurt are going to be completely tasteless unless the companies that manufacture them ADD sugar. So, although the marketing of these products is very clever, it is essential that you see through the bullshit and realise that these are not necessarily healthy.

A Muller light cherry flavoured yoghurt contains 12.4g of sugar in the form of fructose. It also contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame which is found in the likes of diet soft drinks like Diet Coke. Consider an alternative like full fat Greek yoghurt (my favourite brand is Fage Total).

4. Sports Drinks
There is a vending machine in pretty much every single gym in the country full of Lucozade Sport, Gatorade or Powerade of differing varieties. Sometimes being advertised as “better than water for hydration” (to which there is some truth – if you’re an athlete). However, most of us don’t require a sports drink when it comes to our gym workouts or classes.

Consider saving the calories you would consume from a sports drink, and drink plain mineral or filtered water instead.. Bottom line, unless you’re working out at a very high intensity for more than 2 hours at a time – just drink water.

5. Granola
Granola is often mistaken as being a healthy breakfast option. Unfortunately, most pre-packaged granola, even a teeny tiny portion size, will get you a big whack of sugar and sometimes trans fats. Although this doesn’t go for all granola varieties, it does apply to most. Granola also has the “vicious cereal cycle” addictive thing going on, where one bowl just isn’t enough to satisfy. Why not make your own granola using rolled oats, chopped nuts, seeds and some dried fruit instead of buying the sugar laden pre-packaged varieties?

6. Weight Loss club Branded Crap (oops, I mean meals)
I could go on and on about this for hours…but anything that comes in a ready to eat package, is usually full of garbage. Preservatives, added sugar and salt, trans fats and other ‘secret’ ingredients as part of your weight loss journey its imperative to learn kitchen and preparation skills that mean you never have to resort to that kind of ready meal again.

7. Whole Grain / Whole Wheat Bread
Just because this bread is labelled as wholegrain, or whole wheat – doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Up to 70% of the flour used in these types of breads are actually refined flours. However, just because a small percentage of the flour is whole grain – companies can brand the whole loaf as being such. The protein gluten in most breads can make most of us feel bloated and tired – so it’s probably a good idea to look for alternatives, and consider reducing the quantity of bread you eat.

8. Margarine / Reduced Fat Butter Alternatives

Now this one is going to be a real shockerooney. Margarine is NOT FOOD. In fact, margarine is plastic. It’s like eating a foreign body. Our bodies do not know what to do with it. Same goes for those reduced fat butter alternatives like. All being marketed to you as being the HEALTHIER option to butter. RUBBISH. Unfortunately, companies hydrogenate the fats in these oils to make their shelf life longer. Hydrogenated fats or trans fats can actually increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Stop buying this crap and start buying REAL BUTTER. Kerrygold is my favourite because it’s softer and easier to spread. It also comes from grass fed cows.

9. Dried fruit

Don’t be fooled by these lovely little packages of dried fruit that are widely available in most supermarkets and grocery stores. You’ll be hard pushed to find ones that are not soaked in sugar syrups or have added sugars and sweeteners. It contains a lot of sugar and chemicals to improve shelf life and packs in more calories per mouthful than a piece of whole, fresh fruit. Stick to fresh fruit, or look for varieties that do not have added sugar and preservatives.

10. Fat-Free ANYTHING

If you see fat-free on a label – think “chemical shit storm”. When the fat is removed from a food – so is the flavour. So manufacturers must replace the flavour with something else – usually sugar or artificial flavours. Always go for the full fat version of products like Greek yoghurts, mayonnaise (providing it is fresh mayo without additives), dressings.

Hopefully this list of unhealthy health foods has provided you with some insight into the bullshit marketing that we are surrounded by as a nation. We have to start taking responsibility for the food that we eat.

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Rachael is a personal trainer and Ditch the Diet coach based in Leigh & Atherton. She has been working with women to achieve their weight loss goals for the past 6 years through education on nutrition & exercise.

contact Rachael at walkthetalkpt@gmail.com for MORE information on her local groups

ALTERNATIVELY… if you are not in the Leicester area why not join our mailing list and find out where your nearest group is or how you can now JOIN US ONLINE by entering your details on our home page http://ditchthedietuk.com

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