Oh, look! 100 calorie snack packs of brownies, perfectly healthy.
Oh, look! Reduced fat chocolate chip cookies. These can't be too bad for me.
Oh, look! This peanut butter is 3 dollars cheaper than that one, but both are created equal.
Oh, look! This bag of popcorn is only 50 calories!
You have probably found yourself fitting into some version of the above scenarios. Most of us have because the companies who package food products try to sell you with what you see on the box.
Let's dig a little deeper.
Those precious 100 calorie snacks, as low in calories they may seem, are not any healthier than their full calorie counterparts. Why? Because they are still processed foods, just packaged as a smaller serving.
So if you want to snack, but limit your portions - then these are right up your alley. If you want a healthier option to consume all together, you will have to pass on the processed goods.
Due to the lack of FDA guidelines, any company can make their food seem like a healthy alternative.
Those reduced fat cookies may seem like a better alternative, but many times companies will add in other ingredients - such as sugar - usually to make up for the decrease in flavor caused by decreasing the amount of fat used.
It is possible that these sugar free options may be the lesser of 2 evils, but without proper knowledge of what to look for, they can be just as many calories and equally as unhealthy for you compared to the full sugar options.
Two products, such as peanut butter may look exactly the same. So, why would I spend more money on one versus the other. Sometimes, the cheaper option may be the better option, sometimes it may not be. It all comes down to how many ingredients are on the ingredients list.
Rule of thumb: The smaller the number of ingredients, the better the option. And if you can't pronounce it, it's probably not something you want to be consuming.
Finally, when you see calorie contents that are very low, there are times when you may be tricked into believing they are less calories in the package than there truly is.
HOW CAN THEY JUST LIE TO US LIKE THIS?
But really, they aren't lying. You just overlooked the facts.
Sometimes the box may say 1 serving equates to X calories, X amount of sugar, and X amount of fat etc...
Then say if you eat this many it counts as 2 servings. So in retrospect you have to double all of those numbers. So [delete: So] Don't get caught off guard and thoroughly read your labels first!
Stay tuned! In two weeks I will delve deeper into how to read nutrition facts labels that will help provide you the tools to make smarter decisions with your food choices.
Questions, comments or concerns? Leave them in the comments below.
Move Well, Stay Strong.