5 health food cons you need to know about

The VITL Nutrition Team / 3 May 2018

We love tips and tricks to getting our health on track, but not everyone is on our side! These 5 ‘food health cons’ might have slipped under the radar but you don't have to get caught out.


1. Agave syrup

A common sweetener found in a variety of health foods but one that is arguably worse than plain sugar. Here’s why …

When processed into the syrup you might find on most supermarket shelves, the high heats applied during manufacturing destroys any health benefits, leaving instead a fructose-based sweetener. High amounts of fructose in the diet has been associated with cardiovascular and cholesterol related diseases, alongside obesity and leptin resistance.

2. Popcorn 

Our favourite ‘guilt-free’ and ‘low-fat/low-carb’ snack alternative... Or so it would seem. 

Often you see packets marketed as “skinny”, “gluten-free”. But how often do you find yourself able to work your way through an entire share bag of popcorn?! 

Not only is corn (maize) one of the least nutrient-dense foods, it is also very high in carbohydrates, alongside only small amounts of fibre or protein to balance blood sugar. This means it has the potential to trigger cravings. Multiple popcorn products have lots of added sugars, salts and flavours; again not ideal if eaten in large quantities! 

3. Dried fruit and dried fruit bars

It can be deceptively inviting to eat a handful of dried apricots and think it is a healthy snack. However, dried fruits lose many nutrients (such as calcium and potassium in apricots) and their main ingredient, water during the drying process, leaving us with a high sugar snack. Good in small amounts, but as an everyday snack, it merely provides us with excess and unnecessary sugars.

4. Green juice 

Green juice is a great way to get your fill of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. But be on alert when you next pick up your favourite green juice. A truely healthy juice needs to consist of 80% vegetables. Unfortunately, many juices currently on the market are more than 90% fruit juice which inevitably results in a high sugar content, sometimes as much as a can of coke! So keep your eyes peeled. 

5. Gluten-free 

Sadly, gluten-free doesn’t always mean healthier. When manufacturers create your gluten-free product, they swap out a number of components which often leads to a loss of texture, structure, and sometimes taste from the product. Manufacturers make up for this by introducing additives and other nasties that we don’t want. So next time always read the ingredients label, if there’s ingredients you have never heard of or can’t pronounce, avoid avoid avoid!