Low-fat, sugar free, all natural. Dieting has never been so confusing. All the expensive packaging and convincing advertisements make it hard for customers to make the heaviest choice when buying food. According to the Institute if Food Technologists 64% of customers are influenced by healthy food products and 8/10 adults have made some effort in the last year to eat more healthily making diet foods big business. But even though the packaging looks convincing we are actually all buying in to a scheme designed to keep up fat. After all, if these diet foods actually did make us lose weight we wouldn’t need to buy them again, would we? If you look carefully at the labels of the food you buy you will see that many ‘health’ and ‘diet’ foods contain shocking amounts of hidden sugars you never knew about and all this sugar is taking it’s toll on our health as well as stopping us from losing weight. To make things that little bit easier to understand here are some of the most commonly bought diet foods that contain hidden sugars.
Granola is commonly advertised as a health food but it can actually contain high amounts of sugar to make it taste better. Most shop bought granola packs or bars have been cooked or coated with sugar to make it taste more appealing and although you might be getting protein and fibre from the nuts the amount of sugar present in the products counteracts any goodness from the natural ingredients.
Juicing your fruit/juice from concentrate
Juicing your fruit and veg is a huge trend right now but what you may not know is that when you juice your fruit you throw away all the fibre which is the healthiest part! It may be more pleasant to drink fruit juice without pulp but it takes away all of the goodness if you do. You should be careful with the fruit juices you buy too, take apple juice for instance. You can get two types of Apple juice, cloudy and clear. The cloudy kind is made from raw apples whereas the clear kind is made from cooked apples. The apples are cooked to make them sweeter but it also takes away all the goodness from the fruit that you would get from it raw, essentially turning fruit juice into a syrup drink.
Low-fat fruit yogurt is packaged and advertised as a healthy option for dieters. All the 0% fat claims make is seem like a dieters dream but infact they contain large amounts of sugar which makes the calorific content creep up. Many low-fat yogurts have a similar sugar content as a single serving of ice cream! Think about that the next time you give a seemingly healthy yogurt to your children. Instead buy full fat natural yogurt and sweeten it with honey. You will never add as much honey as the manufacturers would add sugar and the yogurt is less processed. Adding fruit is a nice way to mix it up for a healthy dessert option.
Ever picked up a Vitamin Water thinking it is the healthier option? Wrong! A bottle of Vitamin water contains about 8 teaspoons of sugar! So even though they contain all the vitamins and minerals you need for the day, the sugar content is through the roof and is totally unnecessary. If you want a change from normal water try drinking sparkling water with lemon or lime, it has zero added sugar, will kick start your metabolism and tastes nice too.
Calorie controlled diet snacks
Diet snack bars are very similar to candy bars. Think Special K and the likes there of. There are thousands of products like this that are labelled and marketed as diet snacks that can still be tasty and satisfying. A lot of them hit around the 100kcal mark which makes them an attractive choice if you are on the go but they are packed full of chemicals, artificial sweeteners and sometimes a lot of sugar. Think of it this way, would you rather eat a banana or a typical diet snack bar like Special K? Well, if your answer was the diet bar then think again. Bananas actually have more calories than the snack bar but contains naturally occurring sugars. The fact that a banana is natural means that the body can identify the product and break it down quickly and use the fructose as energy. When eating a processed or manufactured diet bar the body doesn’t know what this is and struggles to break it down which results in the food being stored as fat. So really the best diet advice is to eat natural. Cut out all refined and processed foods and see for yourself. You will have more energy and you will lose weight in the process.