Now is the time of year when you are being bombarded with messages to get fit and healthy. But 99% of the products being advertised are rubbish and some will even make you more unhealthy.
Unfortunately the European directive for what you can and can’t ‘claim’ in advertising is very loose. In theory you can make a chocolate cake and call it healthy, high in fibre, low fat, good for your hair, skin and nails, low in salt, high in vitamins, etc.
Here are a few ads/products to be wary of: (they are mainly aimed at women as most guys tend not to follow diets, guys generally try to lose weight in the gym, unfortunately without proper nutrition this usually ends up in disappointment.
1. Special K.
I saw a programme a while back where they examined the ‘claims’ of cereals. And the asked one volunteer to try out the drop a dress size challenge for 2 weeks. the drop a dress size challenge tells you to eat a bowl for breakfast and one for lunch and then have a proper dinner for 2 weeks.
After the 2 weeks was up the man (yes he was male, so in theory he should have lost more weight due to the bigger reduction in calories) reported that he felt terrible, he got mood swings, couldn’t function during the day and even started to get headaches. Then when they weighed him he had only lost a few pounds.
The problem with this is that the weight he lost would have been primarily muscle and so his metabolism would have slowed down. When this happens from any starvation type diet you will put all the weight back on in a matter of days. That’s because when you eat ‘normally’ again you are now burning fewer calories than before so you will end up fatter than when you started. If you have ever tried these diets you will know what I’m takling about. it’s the clasic Yo Yo diet syndrome!
2. Muller Light.
This ad shows women ripping up the diet diets and choosing Muller light instead. So basically the message we get is Muller light will help us lose weight and we don’t need to do anything else. Yeah, right!
Here’s a quote from their website:
“Forget fad diets. With simple balanced choices you can eat happily ever after with fat free Müllerlight yogurt. It’s full of dairy goodness, real fruit and is a natural source of dairy calcium.”
Yogurt, Water, Fructose, Orange Juice from Concentrate (0.5%), Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Powder, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Butter, Sugar, Modified Maize Starch, Gelatine, Stabilisers: Pectins, Guar Gum; Flavourings, Acidity Regulators: Citric Acid, Sodium Citrates, Calcium Citrates; Sweeteners: Aspartame, Acesulfame K; Colour: Carotenes. Dark Chocolate Sprinkles 0.5%.
The problem with muller light is that even though some of them are fat free they contain a huge amount of sugar. I’ve highlighted all the sugar/sugar containing ingredients/sugar substitues in red. The problem with eating all this sugar is that it will leave you feeling hungry. Sugar basically stimulates hunger. You get a quick hit of energy and then bam you’re hungry again.
3. Danone Activia
Aparently this year is the year of TLC (tummy loving care) which I am quite happy to promote, just not how Danone is doing it. Their claim:
What makes Activia so very different is its unique probiotic culture, Bifidius ActiRegularis, more commonly know as ‘good bacteria’. Activia works alongside the good bacteria in your gut to help support your digestive health by improving your digestive transit.
The only thing unique about this is the name Bifidius ActiRegularis, there are billions of good bacteria that occur in nature and within our digestive tract. The problem arises when we eat foods that destroy the good bacteria leaving the harmful/bad bacteria room to take over.
Danone know this and so spend a ton of advertising on persuading you that their yogurt is better than any other. Granted they do have a natural yogurt with out the sugars that their fruit range have, but there is nothing unique about it.
Haveing one pot of yogurt won’t help if you are still eating the foods that destroy your good bacteria. (BTW this goes for all the good/friendly bacteria dairy products)
I use Glenisk natural yogurt because its organic and tastes better than any other. It’s full of good bacteria to help your digestive system just like all natural yogurts. But I also supplement with a high quality probiotic capsule that contains a very high concentration of good bacteria far more than any yogurt can contain.