Do you think you're avoiding empty calories because your pantry is stocked from the "health food aisle"? Not so fast!
Let's start with a quiz.
What is the healthier option between a fruit smoothie and a bag of M&Ms?
How about Veggie Straws vs. Doritos?
Now a tougher one: Which do you think is healthier between Special K Granola or organic chocolate yogurt?
Find out as we peel back the onion on all the “healthy” food that's mislabeled in our grocery stores. But don't worry-- eating for lifelong health
Ten food companies own and control nearly every item we buy at the grocery store.
This is not a good thing!
As we have come to learn, bigger isn't better. The larger the company, the more control they have over policy. The result is food lobbyists, marketing heads, and even politicians that willingly allow for bad behavior in the name of big profit.
While this isn’t a new phenomenon, marketing has gotten better at deceiving us into thinking we are eating healthy foods. At a time when it may seem there is a healthy food push, more and more of our food options are mislabeled as “natural”, “whole-grain”, “low sodium”, “sugar free”, “gluten free,” “low fat”, and a slew of others meritless descriptions.
According to recently published studies analyzing over 40,000 grocery store items, between 60-74% of products on the shelf have added sugar.
The unfortunate truth is that the vast majority of packaged goods are bad for us!
While added sugar is the main culprit thanks to its addicting and profit-boosting properties, hundreds of other artificial ingredients also wreak havoc.
If it’s on a shelf, you can pretty much bet it has ingredients you’ve never heard of that spike our insulin levels, destroy our microbiome, and provide little to no nutritional value. These empty calories do nothing but leave us craving more!
Back to the quiz for a moment.
While sugar is a naturally occurring byproduct of fruit, when we juice our fruit, we eliminate fiber meant to limit our consumption and slow down absorption.
You likely can't eat 5 apples or 4 bananas with ease, right?
But, when juiced, it's no problem at all. Our smoothie example at the top highlights this. A quick nutritional review of several different brands of medium-sized strawberry banana smoothies labeled as "green" or "healthy" showed an average of 49 grams of sugar. Many even have added sugar or juice concentrates.
Given that the rest of the world consumes less than 30 grams in total sugar a day, this is a bad snack. While not recommending it, we would be better off snacking on Peanut M&M's; these boast 14 grams per serving.
Okay, so now what about Veggie Straws, granola, and yogurts? Side by side, Veggie Straws are no healthier than Doritos and neither provide the body with anything but... you guessed it... more empty calories. Store-bought granolas and yogurts are notoriously low in nutritional value and full of added ingredients.
The only real way to lose weight, add muscle, and improve our health is to eat more whole foods and avoid processed packaged goods as much as possible.
How to Get Started With Whole Foods
Try to consume 80 percent or greater of your calories through whole foods.
When choosing packaged items look for those that have the lowest numbers of ingredients.
Avoid anything that has sugar, artificial sugar, vital wheat gluten, hydrogenated oils, sodium nitrates, MSG's, or BHT in the first 4 ingredients.
Try to eat 100 percent whole foods for 1 day this week and take note of your body's response and calories consumed. It's actually fairly difficult to overeat when we cut all the empty calories.
Over time, if you can make the switch off processed and packaged, you'll notice big changes in energy, fitness, weight, muscle, mental clarity, and overall health.
So the next time you're tempted to reach for that shiny package on the shelf, ask yourself this: "If we aren't supposed to feed animals our food because it will make them sick, then why in the hell are we eating it?"
Don't fight those misleading labels at the grocery store alone! At MyFitness Suites, we offer so much more than group classes and gym sessions. Check out a consultation with a registered dietitian nutritionist. If you'd like to jump-start your best body with a personal training program and nutrition consult, we are here to get you started!