Behind the Labels

Behind the Labels

We don’t want every trip to the shops to turn into an investigation of food labels or to become to obsessive with what is actually in our food, however you do have to be very aware of some marketing and packaging tricks that can really hamper your progress and effect your nutrition.

Behind the Labels

Sugar and fat are always changing place and being branded as the “bad guy”. But the truth of the matter is that we do NEED both in our diets. Sugar (not all kinds though) can be very beneficial directly after training, and healthy fats are essential for proper hormonal function.

The thing that infuriates me, is when companies advertise a lack of one, like “0% Fat” or “low fat” on their labelling, just to disguise the fact that the products is then loaded with sugar. This is not only true of low fat products but also some apparent “protein” products. It actually baffles me to see some Personal Trainers out there promoting and advertising some of these products. Below is a prime example of the relatively newly launch “Protein Milk”. With large amounts of people becoming more and more fitness orientate and realising the need for good quality protein, this is an easy seller to those unaware of what is actually in the product. Which is advertised as you see on the left of this picture…. 25g of Protein and just 1% of Fat…. it must be healthy right???

But then you see the actual food label, and realise for every 5.1g of protein you are getting, you are also consuming 4.8g of fat. Basically there is as much sugar in this product, as there is protein…. but it’s not called Sugar Milk??!!

Another brilliant example from the dairy aisle of your local super market is yoghurt. I quite often include Greek Yoghurt in nutrition plans for myself and my clients, but I am ALWAYS very strict about which particular brands and types of yoghurt. My personal favourites are the plain variety (not the fruit flavoured) of Fage, Glenisk or lastly Liberte. All 3 of these contain roughly 10g of protein per 100g, and about 4g of carbs (from sugar). Not ideal having the sugar I know, but at least you are getting more than double the quantity of protein. Normally most people will be including yoghurt within their nutrition plan as a source of protein. The yoghurt below however is another prime example of a “low fat” yoghurt, hiding behind the fact that it is in fact loaded with sugar. This particular example contains far less protein per 100g compared to the brands I usually recommend, in fact it is just half the amount at 5g per 100g. But the real problem is the massive 6.9g of sugar. So with this product, probably included by most as a source of protein in their diet, they are in fact taking in far more sugar than protein.

Protein bars are another of the disguised, yet frequently recommended by some personal trainers, products that are simply loaded with carbs or sugars or both. But only advertise their protein content. Plenty bars advertise how many grams of protein they contain, but very few make you aware of the amount of carbs. Once again the produce below is advertise as a protein bar, and would therefore be included in a nutrition plan as a source of protein. However once you analyse that food label you come to the discovery that there is in fact far more carbohydrates in the bar than there is protein.

Again, as I said at the beginning, I am not one for obsessing over food, or becoming afraid to eat anything. Far too many people already suffer from eating problems, but it is my opinion that all this false advertising is contributing to these issues. Vast amounts of people believe they truly are eating healthily, but aren’t getting results because of all these hidden calories. This can lead to a lack of motivation, and consistency and eventually frustration, and a return to a regular everyday unhealthy diet and no training.

What I would suggest is be aware of what you are eating, and also the advantages of when to eat certain foods ahead of others. Again, neither sugar nor fats should ever be completely eliminated from a healthy nutrition plan in the long term. They should however be chosen wisely and managed and timed properly.

For help creating a healthy nutrition plan specific to you, your schedule and of course your health and fitness goals be sure to get in touch


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