ANYWHERE in the UK supermarket shelves are now stocked with an increasing range of ‘healthy’ alternatives.
From high-protein snacks to nut milks, as a nation we’re obsessed with trending foods that promise to improve our bodies from the inside out.
But while these substitutes are often touted as being better for us, is that really the case?
Not always, according to Dr. Raja Mohan of weight management app LEAN.
Many of these foods are loaded with additional ingredients like salt and artificial sweeteners to retain flavor while keeping calories low, he told The Sun.
Here are some examples of foods that may appear healthier but are actually not that much better for you.
1. Agave Nectar
Agave is often marketed as a healthier — and often more natural — substitute for table sugar.
It has a consistency similar to honey, but is slightly thinner and comes from the agave plant.
Despite its “natural” label, agave nectar is heavily processed, warned Dr. Raja.
“It may contain more fructose (that’s sugar) than any other common sweetener, including high fructose corn syrup,” he added.
Too much fructose, like too much added sugar, is not good for you.
Fructose is converted into glucose in the liver, which the body uses for energy.
However, if there is too much of it, the liver produces uric acid and fat.
This can therefore increase the risk of fatty liver disease, gout and heart disease Harvard Health.
2. Vegetable chips
If you’re trying to fit more veggies into your child’s diet by replacing some veggie chips with regular potato chips, think again.
dr Raja said this snack, while supposedly healthy, is junk food in disguise.
“While ‘vegetables’ makes it sound healthier, the reality is that these chips are often highly processed and high in unhealthy fat and sodium,” he explained.
Unfortunately, veggie chips will not be part of our five-a-day offerings anytime soon.
In fact, a 2017 study found that veggie chips may be even worse for us than potato chips and some candy bars.
Data provided by Wren Kitchens found that a 40g pack of vegetable chips contained more fat than the same serving of salted Pringles and nearly double that in a Mars bar.
3. Protein Bar
You can find all kinds of protein bars on store shelves these days.
From vegan to chocolate bars to sprinkle-covered bars, it seems like there’s no limit to what a protein bar can be.
Not only are the bars packed with protein, which is good for muscle building and even weight loss, but they taste great too.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
According to the medic, many protein bars are essentially “candy bars in disguise.”
He said, “They’re full of sugar and artificial ingredients.”
When shopping for a protein snack, be sure to check the ingredients list and look for a bar with minimal added sugar (less than 12g per serving).