Trying to walk the aisles of a grocery store without seeing products covered with health claims is pretty much impossible anymore. From "low fat" to "source of fiber" to the heart healthy check. Marketing is good. Very good. Unfortunately, many of these claims are only half true. One of my biggest issues is the heart check symbol. A quick look at the Heart and Stroke website shows a HUGE list of foods that have received this health symbol. Checking their nutrient requirements in which to receive the symbol looks extensive but let's take a closer look.
The first food listed is fruit juice. The requirements: No added Sugar, a Source of Vitamin C (50%) OR Vitamin A (25%) OR folate (25%) OR fiber (2g).
Sounds good, right? But let's put this in perspective, a quick look at one of the products
that has received this symbol shows that in 1 cup of this juice, you are getting 160 calories, 39 grams of sugar (!!!!!), NO fiber, NO protein, NO fat. You are essentially drinking a glass of sugar. There is more sugar in this one glass of juice than in a Snickers candy bar! In comparison a medium apple has only 71 calories, 19 grams of carbs (including 3.3 grams of fiber), and a whole lot more nutrients. In general, I don't recommend drinking juice. At all. Eat fruit, drink water. This is a perfect example of a half truth. It's true that this product doesn't contain unhealthy fats. But does that make it a healthy choice? Absolutely not.
Another great example is the appearance of every product containing olive oil these days. Olive oil is high in Omega-9 fats and has been shown to benefit heart health. In fact, 2 tbsp/day of raw olive oil has shown benefit in cardiovascular health! Many products have now added olive oil and slap a health check on their products. The problem is, the amount of olive oil in a lot of these products is only a very small percentage. For example, popular margarines only contain 8%. Out of the entire product. The rest is canola oil which hasn't shown the same health benefits. Not to mention the artificial flavour and colours added. Again, yes this product has some heart healthy oil in it, but is it a healthy product overall, no.
Some easy health points to remember:
Disclaimer: Naturopathic Doctors strive to provide individualized health care. The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing an ND for individualized health recommendations.
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