‘Healthy’ foods high in sugar are all around us. Being marketed as healthy is in the best interests of the company selling their products. After all, it is what more people are likely to buy. The claim of being healthy vs the reality of the situation often does not match up. This is especially true of those products being marketed as fat free.
There has been a constant battle between ‘fats’ and ‘sugars’ and the question of health. The unfortunate truth is that ‘fat’ has lost the battle and is now deemed to be the unhealthy factor in food. As such the ‘low fat’ option has been marketed as the healthy version because it has a lower fat content, without much concern at all as to the levels of sugar that are present.
The truth in the situation is that there are a lot of ‘healthy’ foods that are high in sugar. If you are smart with your shopping and know what to look out for, then these ‘healthy’ foods can be avoided.
Yoghurt can be highly nutritious, but unfortunately they are not all created equal.
The big issue with yoghurt is more often than not, the low fat (healthier) options are quite high in sugar. If they are taking the fat out of the product, they are usually replacing it with sugar to keep the flavour levels high.
Some low fat yoghurts can have over 45 grams of sugar per cup, which is more than the daily total of sugar that most adults should be having in a day.
As it is a dairy product, there will of course be a level of fat in the overall macro break down of yoghurt.
This is not a bad thing!
Animal and dairy fats are good for you just so long as they are consumed in the right quantities.
Some of the higher fat yoghurts will often have a lower sugar content and as such will be a much better rounded option.
Yo Pro Vanilla is a great option that will give you 9.5g protein per 100g serving against only 3.2g sugars.
Hint: Instead of buying a fruit flavoured yoghurt, simply buy a plain option and add your desired fruit. This will be much lower in sugars and be less processed.
When it comes to ‘healthy’ foods that are high in sugar, fruit juice is the ultimate sinner. As fruit itself is incredibly healthy and very good for you, its juice can easily be marketed as healthy as well.
Unfortunately this is not the case.
Whilst an individual piece of fruit can be low in sugar, when you multiply the amount of fruit that is needed to make juice, the number can get very high. Add this with the fact that it is usually the sweeter fruits (apples, oranges and pineapples) that are the base of most juices. You can see how the sugar content can rise quite easily.
Think about how many apples it would take to make the level of juice that you would be drinking in a normal glass.
It is quite a lot.
The volume of consumption is also very high as well. No one really sits down and eats 5-6 apples at a time, but would easily drink the equivalent without really thinking.
There are some fruit juices out there that even have the same levels of sugar as a class of coke!
The final nail in the coffin when it comes to juice, is very rarely does the nutritional quality of the fruit transfer to the juice. All the wonderful fibre, vitamins and minerals are usually in the pulp and skin of the fruit. Unfortunately this gets separated from the final product in the juicing process.
Hint: If you are looking to have some juice, then please make it yourself in a blender/nutri-bullet. This way you will only need 1-2 pieces to make the juice. As none of the flesh and fibre leaves the blender, you are not missing out on any of the goodness.
Cereal and granola is a popular, quick and easy breakfast solution.
The option that you do choose however can greatly impact your sugar consumption. More so if you eat it every day.
The unfortunate reality is that there are a lot of cereal and breakfast options that are marketed as healthy but are quite high in sugar.
The answer lies in two key areas:
- Fruit pieces are in the product
- Honey is a binding agent
Once again we are back with the fruit! When fruit is marketed as being the healthy ingredient in a cereal, you should always be careful. This is because it will definitely not be fresh and as such will be dehydrated. There is nothing healthy about a dehydrated piece of fruit, it is just a dried up ball of fructose!
Honey used as a binding agent in a lot of cereals and granola which means that they can be marketed as healthy. Buyer beware. At the end of the day, honey is still as pure a sugar as you can get, even if it is natural.
If you have a cereal with honey and fruit in it then you are giving yourself no chance. There will be sugar!
For a complete list of the good and bad sugar options in cereal, click here.
Hint: If you really do need to have fruit with your cereal, simply add your own so you can have better control over your meal.
The good old muesli bar. Forever marketed as the healthy snack option and as something that definitely needs to be consumed on a daily basis. They are marketed in bright colours, often found in the health food section and have pictures of fruit on them.
However, they are often just high sugar bars in disguise.
They are usually highly processed, low in fibre and loaded with added sugars.
They will have honey (if you are lucky) as the binding agent keeping them all together. They will also have dried fruit and yoghurt all through them.
Whilst convenience is important, it is equally important to make sure that you are making informed decisions on these quick options.
If you do look hard enough, there are a few options out there that contain no added sugar.
Hint: If you have a bit of time and are looking to try something new, you could always try to make your own muesli bars!
With the above in mind, it is easy to see how you can be eating ‘healthy’ foods high in sugar.
For example, you have cereal with low-fat yoghurt and a glass of juice in the morning. You think that you are being your healthiest best. The reality is that are not giving yourself any chance of success for the rest of the day.
Make sure that you educate yourself on sugar, it will make the world of difference for your results.
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