Organic, low-fat, low-sugar, no-sugar, all-natural… you can hardly walk down a supermarket aisle without seeing item after item emblazoned with these claims. With so many misleading claims out there, I know it can be difficult to determine if some of the staples of your diet really are as good for you as the label leads you to believe. Of course I don’t actually expect you to throw all of these items out but with all of the confusing marketing jargon I thought it would be great to shine the light on seven of the worst offenders.
Orange juice (or any fruit juice for that matter)
I know what you’re thinking. “But it’s just fruit!” Yep, but a lot of it. Have you seen how much juice one orange makes? Not a lot! You need at least 2-3 oranges to make one cup of orange juice. Whilst the sugar in fruit is natural sugar, eating (or drinking) too much fruit means you might be overdoing it on the sugar and carb front. The recommended fruit intake is 1-2 pieces per day and I definitely recommend that these be in the solid form.
Despite the clever packaging and label design, many yoghurts are nothing more than a dessert in disguise. In fact, there are many yoghurts where one serve has the same amount of sugar as a slurpee. Always go for full-fat greek yoghurt instead.
Tomato and BBQ Sauce
There’s nothing quite like some tomato and BBQ sauce when you’re having a good ol’ fashioned Aussie barbie. I bet you didn’t know that some of your favourite condiments are actually jam-packed with sugar and preservatives. The good news is, lots of these condiments are now being made by the major brands with no added sugar and salt. They’re also super easy to make at home if you feel like dusting off the apron. Don’t get me wrong though – I love the old school tomato and barbecue sauces as much as the next guy, just be mindful of the ingredients.
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Thanks to clever marketing, far too many people believe that they need to follow up their workout with a high-sugar, artificially coloured and flavoured sports drink in order to ‘re-hydrate’. Some sports drinks even contain as much sugar as a can of coke. The reality is, unless you’re an endurance athlete or highly active and therefore need to rapidly replace fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes, you probably don’t need them. Even if you do fall into the athlete/active category, there are better options out there that are artificial ingredient-free. The greatest sports drink is and always will be good old fashioned h20.
If you have anything in your fridge/pantry that has “diet” on the label – chuck it out. Diet products are usually jam-packed with additives and sweeteners. So whilst they may be lower calorie, they’re going to wreak havoc on your insides and have no nutritional benefits.
Margarine is highly processed and full of vegetable oils and other unnecessary additives. Opt for grass-fed butter instead.
When we think of a seriously healthy meal, chances are we think of a salad. A great way to pack in some greens, grains and a protein – salads can be an absolute powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. Unfortunately, you might be undoing all your good work without even noticing. Store bought salad dressings are often loaded with artificial ingredients and unnecessary sugars, turning your bowl of goodness into a calorie bomb. It’s really easy to make your own dressing, in fact my favourite only has three ingredients: olive oil, balsamic and some lemon for zest.
Sam Wood is the founder of online training and nutrition program 28 by Sam Wood and Australia’s largest personal training gym ‘The Woodshed’.
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