Health Foods vs. Normal Foods

Health foods have taken the market by a storm at the moment. One glance round a wellness festival reveals endless brands selling energy bars, healthy snacks, "clean" meals and protein supplements. It is undeniable that paying attention to what you eat and investing in your health is popular at the moment, and as such, the availability for these health foods has increased. No longer confined to little, hippy health shops, these products are available in most supermarkets.

While many of these products can be amazing additions to our diet, it is important to remember that just because a product is labelled with health or nutrition claims, it does not always make it better than the standard alternative. Many of these products actually have more calories, more sugar or more fat than their counterparts, so actually may not always be the better choice for you. 

1. Cereal Bars: 9nine Bar vs. Waitrose Nutty Cereal Bar

9nine bars are a popular energy bar that are full of seeds and claim to be a healthier alternative to snacking that are packed with fibre and are gluten-free and vegan. Meanwhile the Waitrose nutty cereal bars are a simple, standard bar that don't make many sweeping nutrition claims. 

Calories: 221 kcal vs 145 kcal

Fat: 16g vs 7.8g

Sugar: 8.4g vs 5.5g

Fibre: 3.7g vs 2g

Protein: 6.6g vs 7.9g

The Waitrose bar wins in pretty much every category here, it has less calories, less sugar, less fat and more protein. The 9nine bar does have slightly more fibre and it is filled with seeds which are nutritional powerhouses, but the nuts in the Waitrose bar also provide lots of vitamins and minerals and make it a great snacking choice.

2. Yoghurt: CoYo Coconut Yoghurt vs. Nush Almond Yoghurt

Coconut yoghurt is increasingly popular at the moment, particularly as a dairy-free alternative. It has a lovely coconut flavour and many different varieties are being released by the day. What many people do not realise is that it is actually much higher in fat than normal yoghurt or even other dairy alternatives such as almond yoghurt.

Calories: 183 kcal vs 116 kcal

Fat: 19g vs 9.5g 

Saturated Fat: 17g vs 0.8g 

Sugar: 0.5g vs 1g 

Protein: 3g vs 2.8g

The big comparison here is the fat content, not only does the coconut yoghurt have almost double the total fat content, most of that fat is saturated. The almond yoghurt has next to no saturated fat, making a much more heart-healthy choice.

3. Lunch: Pret Italian Chicken Salad vs. Chipotle Mozzarella Baguette 

Pret is an amazing on-the-go option for breakfast and lunch and it has a wide variety of choices to please everyone. When trying to be healthy, most people would think to reach for a salad, but salads aren't actually always the best choice. They can be loaded with dressing and toppings which tip the scales to make them worse than a standard sandwich.

Calories: 636 kcal vs 422 kcal

Fat: 53g vs 11g 

Saturated Fat: 6.1g vs 4.2g

Sugar: 9g vs 8.3g

Fibre: 5g vs 5.8g 

Protein: 25g vs 17.7g 

This is possibly the most surprising comparison of them all, this cheesy baguette wins here on almost every single front. Lower in calories, fat and sugar and higher in fibre. Of course it is important to remember that all the veggies in that salad provide a lot of great vitamins and minerals, but it just goes to show that a big baguette can be a healthy choice too.

These are just a few example comparisons, but there are many more just like this in almost any shop. This isn't to say that all health food products are terrible for you, they aren't. Many of them are full of great ingredients and offer many other benefits, but just because other foods aren't labelled as health foods, it doesn't mean that they can't be healthy for you too. 

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