Did you know a smoothie bowl can have as much sugar and calories as several glazed doughnuts? That a crunchy topping of Granola averages a whopping 597 calories? Or that agave nectar contains 80-90 per cent more fructose than white sugar?
With Australia’s current health food craze, it’s difficult to know which foods are actually good for you. The bittersweet truth is that many health foods contain just as much, or more, calories and sugars than traditional foods.
“Even though the health snack food aisle has grown dramatically in the past year, don’t be fooled by labels such as ‘organic,’ ‘all natural’ or ‘no added sugar.’
“Many health foods are jam-packed with honey or artificial sweeteners that give them just as much, or more, calories and sugars than traditional foods” says nutritionist and F45 Training 8-Week Challenge Director, Lyn Green.
Here, we’ve put together 4 foods to skip at Sunday brunch or the next time you head to the supermarket.
With an average of 597 calories, 28 grams of fat, and 24 grams of sugar, many granola packs sold at your local supermarket are loaded with so much sugar that it isn't much different to eating chocolate cake with frosting (which on average contains 26 grams of sugar). Rather, try substituting your granola with buckinis, a fruit seed containing activated buckwheat, which is a rich source of protein, essential minerals and B vitamins. This is the perfect way of adding crunch into your smoothie, cereal or porridge without increasing sugar your levels.
Agave nectar is known to be a healthier alternative due to its low glycemic index and is commonly used as a substitute for honey or sugar. In truth, agave contains 60 calories per tablespoon, and at least 80-90 percent more fructose than white sugar. Although fructose can be naturally found in fruit and vegetables, excess consumption of this sugar can cause insulin resistance which leads to obesity and raises LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Juicing extracts all the fibre, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that whole foods contain. The sugar 'fructose' which is naturally found in fruits will raise your glucose levels more after digestion with the removal of fibre. Fibre is a carbohydrate that is not broken down by the body and absorbed, therefore, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer and reduces blood glucose levels. Rather than a juice, a smoothie is a better way to retain all the nutrients in your fruits and vegetables.
The insta-worthy bowls you get at your local cafe can contain fruit juices, purees and sweetened yoghurt, causing them to have as much as 490 calories and 67 grams of sugar. When consumed with a balance of fresh fruit and veggies, smoothie bowls can be a great source of nutrition. By adding a hit of protein into the bowl, you can significantly reduce the spike of glucose in the blood. This leads to reduced levels of the hormone 'insulin' which is known as the fat storing hormone.
Want a better alternative? Try this smoothie bowl, often used in week 1 of F45’s 8-Week Challenge Program:
Green Dream Bowl
Containing 345 calories, 11.7g fat, 39.6g of carbohydrates and 18.8g protein.
- 130g chopped banana, frozen
- 125ml unsweetened coconut milk
- 15g vanilla plant-based protein powder (all natural, no added sugar)
- 1 large handful baby spinach leaves
- 1 tsp. greens powder (no specific brand, however, it must be all natural with no added sugar)
- 5g LSA meal (linseed, sunflower and almond mix)
- 5g maple syrup
- 1/2 cup ice
- 5g desiccated coconut
- 2 tbsp. buckinis
- 5g almond flakes
- 1 tbsp. cacao nibs
- Add the banana, coconut milk, protein powder, baby spinach leaves, greens powder, LSA meal, maple syrup and ice in a blender
- Blend until a smooth consistency is formed. Pour the smoothie bowl into a bowl
- Sprinkle the desiccated coconut, buckinis, almond flakes and cacao nibs over the top