Let me start by saying I am not the almighty healthy being. I eat a ton of processed foods, unhealthy foods, and massive amounts of cookie dough. With that being said though, I know those foods are bad for me. They aren’t trying to disguise themselves as foods that are good for me and I appreciate that.
The other day, my husband and I were grocery shopping and we noticed how many brands are marketing themselves as “diet food” or “healthy options” that are really neither of those things. We were both a little disturbed by the amount of people buying these products assuming they were making a healthy choice when in reality it was the opposite. So, hence, here’s a blog post about the topic. Enjoy…
I want to start hear because I recently heard of a study done on Subway that was absolutely shocking and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
Subway brands themselves as the “fresh” fast food. Using Jared and his massive weight loss as their marketing ploy, they lead you to believe they are healthier than other fast food restaurants and can help you lose weight. Check this out though…
A 6-inch Chicken and Bacon Ranch on Italian herbs and cheese bread with the recommended fixings has more calories, sodium, calories from fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sugar than a double cheeseburger from McDonalds’ dollar menu!
And on top of that, their ingredients are far from fresh. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tested chicken at five major fast-food restaurants, and Subway’s results showed two sandwiches contained only about half chicken DNA. (Wendy’s grilled chicken sandwich, for example, tested at 88.5% chicken DNA.) You can check out the details of the study here.
Now don’t get me wrong, you can find healthier options at Subway you just have to be smart about it (get wheat bread, skip the ranch, mayo, and other fattening sauces, don’t add chips and a cookie to your meal, etc.), but you can also find healthier options at most fast food places if you really try. My favorite is getting “protein style” (aka wrapped in lettuce) at In-N-Out with no spread.
Yogurt is a delicious healthy snack right? Well it can be. But let’s check out this typical yogurt purchase:
Notice the package says 25% less sugar – to get you to think this food is lower in sugar and a better option than….well any other snack (they are hoping), but in reality if you read the fine print they are comparing it to their own product! To put this into perspective, this yogurt has 18 grams of sugar, the American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day, and if you are trying to lose weight, even less than that is recommended. My recommendation – try Greek yogurt instead.
These bars have “thin” in the name! If that’s not marketing to a specific group I don’t know what is. However, 230 calories, 8 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbs, and only 1 gram of fiber are not “thin” numbers. I will give them credit that 20 grams of protein is pretty good, though. “Bars” are tricky because most of them have a ton of carbs and sugars so be careful. If I am going to have a protein bar I usually reach for a Quest bar – they are similar in calories and fat, but they have a ton of fiber which brings down the net carbs (net carbs is total carbs minus dietary fiber) and they are also high in protein.
We all remember when companies like SlimFast were all the rage. I’m not sure how popular they are now, but I wanted to shed light on their marketing skills as well. First of all, the name “SlimFast” implies you will be loosing weight quickly, but after a quick glance at their nutrition label that may not be the case. One bar is 200 calories (not terrible), 30 grams of carbs(!), and 11 grams of sugar! I won’t even get started on all the unhealthy ingredients that are in their products and the negative side effects that are known to come from them. You can read more about that here if you’re interested.
Nature Valley Protein Bars
These are marketed as a protein bar, yet they only have 10 grams of protein (only 17% of your daily protein intake according to even their own scale – generally if you are dieting you want even more protein than the average person). Nature Valley promotes themselves as being a company that provides real energy using real ingredients. Take a look at the ingredient list. The first few don’t seem so bad but if you continue down you’ll see sugar, corn syrup, and fructose. Not diet friendly ingredients.
These are just some of the many examples of how good marketing is tricking people into thinking they are buying diet-friendly or healthy foods when, in fact, they are full of sugar, carbs, and dangerous or unhealthy ingredients. I am in no way saying these brands are malicious; they are doing their job, and I get that. However, I want you to be aware of what you are eating! Before you jump to the conclusion that diets don’t work for you, or you can’t lose weight, consider the food choices you are making. Please, always check the nutrition labels, serving sizes, and ingredient list on all foods you are consuming. Don’t be fooled by some good marketing techniques, you’re better than that.