All Natural, low carbohydrate, sugar-free,gluten-free, lactose-free, paleo...these are just some of the labels you can read when you scan the aisles of supermarkets and health food stores. Yet what characterises a product a 'health food' product and what doesn't. One word: marketing. Healthy is not a fact, its an adjective, a 'quality' that marketers use to describe their products. Despite this, so many people get sucked into forking out way too much money or supposedly 'health food products' that are nothing more than glorified regular snacks. What's more, these companies are sprouting up more and more and people feel compelled to jump on the health movement bandwagon, guilting themselves into participating in a growing cult of body-obsessed, health-obsessed individuals. Don't get me wrong, eating healthy is fantastic and I believe everyone should make a commitment to prioritising what they put in their mouths. However, doing so through these quick health fixes, these all-in-one bars and powders and supplements is simply kidding yourself.
So what should you be looking out for. Here's my Golden Rules for spotting a genuinely healthful product from a regular chocolate bar with low quality protein and a hefty price tag added.
1. If it comes in a packet, chances are it's processed. Processed food is rarely better than a simply whole food as a source of energy and nutrients.
2. Be mindful of the different words that can be used for sugar. Glucose, Fructose, Agave, Coconut sugar,Repadura, Dextrose and a number of other words all mean the same thing essentially: SUGARand must be broken down in your body as sugar.
3. Fillers that bulk up the product and are not healthful: bulking agents, rice flour, gluten, soy, the list is almost endless. Don't forget about those industrial plant/seed oils like canola and soy oil that wreck havoc on your body.
4. The word 'natural' before things like flavours, colours, additives and seasoning. You have no idea what these so called 'natural' products are. Remember that many toxic and unhealthful substances occur naturally. Sugar is also 'natural'.
5. Protein bars beware: cheap protein sources like soy protein concentrate and sugar amounts equivalent to candy/sweets.
Long story short, just eat real food and don't get swayed by labels that are designed to do exactly what they've been doing: get you to buy exorbitantly overpriced products.
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Presented by Thomas Grainger