While doing a killer full body HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) this morning, I was listening to another episode of the Fit2fat2fit podcast. This time, the person being interviewed was Jeff Scot Philips. He is the author of the book, Big Fat Food Fraud: Confessions of a Health-Food Hustler. I haven’t read his book, but the message of the podcast got me all fired up. I just knew that today’s post needed to be a warning to be cautious of diet food products out there!
Did you know that marketers look for the healthy buzz words of the day, and plant those onto our food products as a way to draw in more customers and make more money? We are hearing and seeing diet buzz words like these everywhere: keto, gluten free, dairy free, omega 3’s, protein, grass-fed, electrolytes, soy free, sugar free.
These approaches can be legit nutritional needs for some people. People with Celiac disease have gluten allergies, and need to avoid gluten in food. Those who have dairy allergies and sensitivities need to have a dairy free diet. Those with type 2 diabetes, are morbidly obese, or are fighting cancer and other diseases might need to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle. Some people are disposed to soy allergies or sensitivities and need to avoid products containing soy. We all benefit from watching our sugar intake, getting enough protein, omega 3’s, and electrolytes.
Many people dabble in the keto approach, or choose to live a gluten free lifestyle to help with weight loss or just to be healthier.
But, as Jeff Scot Philips reveals, the food marketers suck in buyers by placing these buzz words onto their product packaging. Sometimes what you see is what you’re actually getting. But often, these companies deceive people into thinking they are getting a healthier product. Some of these products have ingredients on the nutrition label that are counterproductive. We might not be getting gluten, but we’re getting an over abundance of sugar. We might not be getting sugar, but we are getting a mix of artificial sweeteners that really might not be doing us any favors.
I took a little field trip through the grocery store, after my workout this morning. I wanted to lay eyes on these sneaky marketing ploys, for myself.
Check these out:
While this fruit juice is loaded with beneficial nutrients, one of the added protein sources comes from soy protein isolate which can have negative effects for some people.
This is a better hot dog option, for sure. Grass-fed, no added nitrates, but at the end of the day, it’s still a hot dog. Also, it contains celery powder which is a natural nitrate.
Keto bread! Awesome! But two of the ingredients on the list, modified wheat starch and soybean oil, can lead to increased risk of stroke, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and fatty liver!
A dairy free protein bar! Perfect for a dairy free diet! But wait, palm oil is on the list of fats which aren’t heart healthy. Also, does anyone even know what “natural flavors means?”
A Soy free, vegan mayonnaise option! But wait, ingredient #1 – Safflower oil, is one of the highest inflammation causing vegetable oils out there!
A dairy free cheese option! But hold on, are you sure you want to be eating modified food starch? Very little nutritional value comes from this cheese alternative!
Gluten Free Oreos! They might not have gluten in them, but you’re getting 1/4 of your daily value’s sugar recommendations.
Yessssss! Gluten free brownies! But look, ingredient #1: sugar! And 20% of your recommended daily value. Better not eat more than one serving!
So what are you supposed to do?
Now I completely get that there are circumstances which call for these types of food substitutions. Someone with a gluten allergy is absolutely allowed to eat a gluten free birthday cake!
But that doesn’t mean that these foods are automatically healthy for you! If it is a habit to throw these type of diet foods into the cart on a regular basis, I urge you to be cautious. Look at the ingredient labels. Are you staying within the recommended daily allowance for the macronutrients and micronutrients nutrition label? Do you know and understand what everything is on the list of ingredients? In most cases, you are substituting one thing for another, but are you really trading for something better?
If your goal is weight loss, processed foods (even diet friendly ones) aren’t your quickest route. Your best bet will always be to eat real food from unprocessed food sources. If you need to live a gluten free, keto lifestyle, vegan, dairy free, etc lifestyle, make your own meals, treats, snack bars, etc. The internet is swimming with great recipes. In fact, you will find a bunch here in the weekly meal plans! Wherever you decide to get them, trust me, you’re body will thank you!
Okay. Rant over! Talk to you soon!
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