Whether you’re trying to slim down or bulk up, you probably know that getting the right nutrients is vital to achieving your body goals. Our body needs fuel to perform optimally, and what we eat is just as important as how we exercise. If you asked 100 people if eating healthy is important, you’d likely get 100 yeses. However, if you asked 100 people what a healthy diet looks like, the responses would vary dramatically.
This is partially due to food marketing buzzwords. “Clean eating” and “all-natural” aren’t regulated and could mean completely different things depending on who you ask. When processed food claims to be healthy, we should start asking exactly what’s going in the product to avoid misinformation and confusion. In fact, 59 percent of consumers have difficulty understanding nutrition labels, according to a Nielsen survey.
So how can we decide what will be nourishing and what won’t? Real, whole, raw, and unprocessed foods — think kale, almonds, and bananas — are obvious. But when we venture out of the produce aisle or bulk section, lines become blurred. To help clear up the confusion, Kitchen Cabinet Kings guides us through some popular snacks and what they’re actually made of.
Granola: Seemingly healthy oats, seeds, nuts, and dried fruits are often times doused in sugar or corn syrup and unhealthy oils, upping the fat and calorie content.
Reduced fat peanut butter: When a company reduces fat in a product, it usually adds sugar and fillers like corn syrup to improve the texture or taste.
Microwave popcorn: When popped in a bad oil, drowned in butter, and heavily salted, popcorn can become a nutritional nightmare.
Veggie chips: Many veggie chip varieties contain corn or potato flour and the baking or frying process can destroy much of the vegetable’s vitamins and nutrients.
Soup on the go: Nearly all of the calories from Campbell’s Creamy Tomato Soup come from carbohydrates including corn syrup and wheat flour.
Yogurt: While some Greek yogurts pack probiotics and twice the protein of regular yogurt, they can have up to 20 grams of sugar, more than a glazed donut from Dunkin’ Donuts.
Trail mix: When coated with flavorings and mixed with candy, trail mix can cause a blood sugar spike and dip — not something that’s ideal for a hike or picnic.
Fruit smoothie: A medium smoothie from Jamba Juice can pack 98 grams of sugar, which is more than a Big Mac or a Coca-Cola. Stick to homemade smoothies without added sugars.
Beef jerky: Most beef jerky contains MSG, smoke flavoring, sugar, and 4 times the amount of sodium you’d find in a serving of chips.
Protein bars: While protein is necessary for healthy muscles, it’s better to get it from whole food instead of protein bars, which can be loaded with mystery ingredients like glycerin and maltitol.
Pretzels: Just 17 mini-pretzels contain 19 percent of your daily recommended limit of sodium.
Want to learn more about hidden ingredients? Check out the infographic below: