Beware New Year’s Advertising

New Year Healthy Options 2

I was looking through the newspaper flyers the other day, when I came across some “healthy deals” that were being promoted at just the time of year when many people resolve to be healthier. When I had a closer look at the offerings however, I got really angry! Here’s why: the “healthy” deals were not very healthy at all. Retailers are trying to appeal to those of us who want to get healthy or stay healthy, and unfortunately it’s really easy to fall for their ads.

Let’s have a closer look at the offerings, through the eyes of a health coach…

Exhibit A:

Titled “Healthier Options”, this flyer advertisement is offering you mostly a bunch of sugar.

PC Blue Menu Ganola: A 2/3 cup serving packs in 17g of sugar. That’s about 4 1/4 teaspoons in the cereal alone. And it’s got 40g of carbs. If you have a look at Mark Sisson’s Carbohydrate Curve, you’ll see that you’re already in trouble with this breakfast.

Smart Ones Entrées: Although these Weight Watchers meals are pretty high in protein, they’re also pretty high in carbs and low in fat. That means you’ll be hungry soon after you eat them. And they’re highly processed foods – not optimal for your health.

Quaker Rice Cakes: Yes, they’re gluten-free but that’s about all these carb cakes have going for them. No fat, 1g of protein, and that’s about it. Might as well eat some air: it’s free, and tastes about the same!

PC Blue Menu Celeb Margarine: You’ve seen the Internet meme where the ants eat the butter but leave the margarine that’s on the same plate, right? Ants are icky but smart. Don’t eat the almost-plastic chemical goop called margarine.

PC or Blue Menu Smoothie Bars: Here’s the ingredient list of the Mango flavour… lots of processed chemical crap: Milk, modified milk ingredients, sugar, mango ripple (sugar, water, fructose, mango purée, modified corn starch, concentrated lemon juice, natural flavour, pectin, sorbic acid), mango base (mango purée, sugar, water, concentrated lemon juice, natural flavour, natural colour, pectin), glucose solids, carob bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan, active bacterial cultures. Not to mention, they’re full of sugar and devoid of much fat and protein. These are dessert bars for sure.

Yoplait Creamy or Source Yogurt: These yogurts are so processed and full of sugar that they don’t belong in a healthy person’s diet. If you’re into dairy, look for FULL FAT Greek yogurt that has no sugar or flavours added. You can add your own berries and maybe a touch of honey.

Catelli Healthy Harvest Smart or Bistro Pasta: Processed gluten and carbs in a box. Cheap food leads to cheap health.

Loose Bulk Natural Almonds: YAY! We have a winner! This actually IS a healthy option.

Kellogg’s Special K Morning Shakes: Each little flask of this stuff contains about 4.5 teaspoons of sugar. It boasts having 1/3 of your daily serving of vitamins and minerals, but they’ve been synthetically added – which means they’re low quality and not very absorbable.

Exhibit B:

This “Smart Buys for Active Lifestyles” page is much the same: more sugar!

Healthy Choice or VH Steamers frozen entrées: Sort of the same idea as the frozen dinners in Exhibit A. Highly processed, minimal nutrition. Not very filling.

Aquafina Plus enhanced water: This is water made by Pepsi. That should be enough to turn you off it, but in case it’s not, you should know that this stuff is bottled sugar water with cheap synthetic vitamins added in. Those vitamins aren’t even really well absorbed by your body in this form so you’d be better off drinking water from the tap.

Special K Breakfast Shakes: See Exhibit A above

Vector cereal: Alright, I know how delicious this stuff is when you’re used to a processed diet. And their healthy marketing is well done. But the product itself is far from a healthy choice! There are a whopping 54g of carbohydrates when served with their recommended skim milk. And keep in mind the serving size on the box is probably much less than the serving size in your morning bowl. Almost no protein and almost no fat. All the vitamins and minerals are synthetically added.

Activia Yogurt: Almost the same as the yogurt in Exhibit A. And if any of you are eating this stuff for the probiotics or “healthy gut bacteria”, you’d be much better off with a probiotic supplement or full-fat Greek yogurt.

Special K Fruit Crisps or Kashi bars: Packed with sugar, these bars will spike your blood sugar and make you feel hungry within the hour. Not a good option for breakfast or snacking.

Sorry for the super-long comeback post. I guess not blogging for over a year left me with lots to say! But I hope you can see that it’s not worth buying some of the “healthy deals” that are advertised, particularly just around the new year. Real food that has no packaging is still your best option.

On a completely different note, my cute baby is in a photo contest. If you want some good karma, click “Like” on his photo below!! Voting ends January 7th at 8:00 pm Central. (And if you can’t see the photo, it means you’re not logged in to Facebook. Log in first, then refresh this page to see it).

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  1. Posted January 6, 2014 at 09:09 | Permalink

    Nat! So good to see you back up and blogging away! You’ve given me hope that I too can get back to it again. This is a great post, its so easy to get sucked in to the ‘healthy’ labels.

    Cutets baby photo ever.

  2. Posted January 6, 2014 at 09:11 | Permalink

    Nat – So good to see you back up and blogging! You’ve given me hope that I too will be able to get back into the groove. Great post – its far too easy to get sucked in to the ‘healthy’ labels.

    Cutest baby photo ever!
    Jacqui recently posted..Back to School….yet again!

    • Natalie
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 10:03 | Permalink

      Thanks Jacqui :-)

  3. Posted January 11, 2014 at 20:16 | Permalink

    I have fallen victim to this myself. It says “healthy” on it and i think it must be better than the ones that dont say healthy. I suspect those protein bars i buy are nothing more than candy bars. I think cleaning this stuff up will help me get my six pack showing.
    Aaron Acosta recently posted..3 Things you can do to start losing weight right NOW.

    • Natalie
      Posted January 13, 2014 at 09:52 | Permalink

      Aaron, sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, those protein bars are often candy bars with amped up protein content! Check out the number of grams of sugar listed, and divide by 4 for a rough estimate of the number of teaspoons of sugar per serving.

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