Marketers are paid a lot of money to pray on our subconscious and desire to become healthier, this is the ‘Health Halo’ effect. The use of specific phrases and claims that cause us to have a certain impression of a product.
But these claims of ‘healthfulness’ often lead us to consuming more calories than necessary, as well as denting a hole in our wallets.
In my opinion there is a lot of misinformation within the nutrition industry, which more often than not leads to badly drawn conclusions and perceptions over the health information we are fed. This makes it so much more difficult for people such as myself when working with clients.
It’s a daily occurrence that I have to break down a lot of the nonsense that so many are lead to believe. I should start charging a separate price to demystify health information.
What do you think if you see a product that is highlighted as being ‘fat free’, you likely initially think that it has to be healthier.
Fat makes you fat after all?
No. Wrong. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Excess calories make you fat.
You know what’s contained in products that are ‘fat free’? Calories.
The same thing applies to products that are marketed as ‘gluten free’. They all contain calories.
Just because a food is gluten free does not mean that it is healthier. It just means that it is suitable to eat for someone who has celiac disease, or an intolerance to gluten itself. Also, more often than not, replacing gluten in foods actually results in a more calorie dense product.
That’s right. More calories.
It’s not exactly ideal if you are trying to lose weight.
Look at the example that I’ve used here comparing a plain Sainsbury’s Blueberry Muffin with a Blueberry Muffin from Sainsbury’s FreeFrom range of products.
The FreeFrom muffin may be ‘wheat free’ and ‘gluten free’ but it still contains:
• More calories.
• More carbohydrates.
• More fat.
• and less protein.
On top of that not only is it not ‘healthier’ as such, it is also twice as expensive!
The calorie difference here is certainly not significant. It just highlights that all these mixed messages that we are fed about certain foods being ‘healthier’ because they are fat free, gluten free, organic, paleo, sugar free, or have added protein, are not helpful in the slightest. They just pray on our sense of healthfulness.
None of this helps, especially if you are trying to lose weight. A muffin is still a muffin.
P.S I’m not saying muffins are healthy, but if you can fit them within your calorie allowance and it doesn’t disrupt your adherence to following a diet. Why not?!