The next time you’re in the supermarket and you see a product that has packaging boasting about how healthy it is, think twice about buying it. Here’s our 60-second guide to seeing past empty food claims.
Why should I be wary?
Many food manufacturers are going out of their way to convince you that their products are healthy. That seems odd, doesn’t it? Why should you need to be persuaded that something is good for you? You don’t see apples or carrots with claims on them, do you? That’s because claims are often there to cover up nutritional shortcomings.
What should I look out for?
Reduced fat is a good example (driven largely by the demonisation of saturated fat). Many ‘low fat’ or ‘reduced fat’ alternatives having been pumped full of artificial preservatives and sweeteners, rendering them arguably worse for you than their full fat predecessors! They’ve got to make them taste nice somehow, right? Fizzy soft drinks are another example, with ‘reduced calorie’ and ‘zero’ options of popular drinks being no better for you than the real deal. They’re still loaded with sweeteners and other nasties that consumed regularly are likely to compromise your health.
What can I do about it?
The reality is that the further something moves away from its natural state the less beneficial it is likely to be. You would probably do well to stay away from anything that has been ‘made’ and base most of your diet on things that have been reared and grown naturally – foods from our green list>>
Another approach is not to eat too many foods that have labels on them in the first place. A good tip here is to stick to buying your food from independent shops and/or stick to foods in the outside aisles of the supermarkets.