I see A LOT of so-called nutritious, light, healthy, you-name-it labels on food that is anything but that. This is where you need to learn to read labels and be an ingredient detective. When an item is labeled “Fat Free” you can bet it’s going to be high in sugar/carbs. Manufacturers make up for the fat free with more corn syrup and other masked sugars and empty calories. Good examples are Fat Free Ice Creams. Avoid them like the plague. You think you’re eating healthy, but you’re actually sabotaging all your hard work (remember, high carbs ruin your fat loss goals more than anything else). Another ploy manufacturers use when they take away the fat is to increase the salt and flavor enhancers. These artificial ingredients wreak havoc on your gut and other organs in the long run. This may come as bad news, but if you want to make your health and eating nutritious food a priority, you’re going to have to spend some time preparing it at home. (If you haven’t already done so, please see the article from T-Nation that I posted about easy food prep. It will help you a lot. I’ve also posted some great recipes myself. Please check them out in the footer menu on the website)
So you may be thinking, “That’s okay. I can do the sugar free candy”. Not so fast. If you do your ingredient detective work, you will see that most of the time the artificial sweeteners being used are xylitol, sorbitol or some other sugar alcohol. When your body is hit with any kind of alcohol, sugar alcohols included, all other digestive and metabolic activity gets shunted until the alcohol can be excreted. That means all the other calories you just ingested with or prior to your treat are more than likely going to be stored as fat because your body is using all of its resources to breakdown and get rid of the [sugar] alcohol you just consumed in that so-called healthy, guilt free candy or ice cream you just ate. One note, low carb protein bars are okay to have. It’s definitely better than eating a high carb (high sugar) meal replacement/protein bar only to read that there are 50+ carbs in the bar. Kind of ruins or puts a dents in your hard work.
One more thing to watch for is “No Sugar Added”. That means there’s plenty sugar already in the product, usually milk sugar or some other variety. Again, watch the wording. Manufacturers are very careful and crafty. They want you to buy their product and assume it’s good for you.
Does that mean you can’t have fat free ice cream or sugar free candy. No, you can, but do so armed with the knowledge of how your body processes those “Light”, “Healthy”, “Natural” items and make adjustments so you don’t ruin all your hard work and effort. In fact, if you’re going to have ice cream or candy, just have the real thing and be done. I think you do yourself more harm than good eating these so-called healthy desserts because you probably end up having 2 servings instead of one because it supposedly good for you according to the manufacturer. One more thing, just because you found a healthy recipe online does not mean much. If it’s full of bananas and flour, I don’t care if you made it yourself, it’s going to be HIGH IN CARBOHYDRATES. Remember, when you consume a fair amount of simple carbs, your body (unless it’s in a carb deficit) is going to store that as fat, GUAR-AN-TEED.
So now I bet you’re sitting there reading this thinking, “Great, I can’t enjoy anything! This sucks!” Not so fast. There are better alternatives that are nutritious and taste pretty darn yummy too! I will provide a few options at the bottom of the article, but the biggest thing I want you to take away from this article is DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING you’ve been told about nutrition. Just because a grocery item touts the labels “healthy”, “light”, “all natural”, does not mean it’s actually good for you. I’ve been doing this a long, long time and I’ve done this homework to save you frustration and confusion. Just trust me. Be suspect. Look at the carbs. Don’t trust food manufacturers to do you a favor.
So for some alternatives. As you know, I like Quest Bars and Yeah One bars. They are delicious for sure and nice on-the-go snack or small meal when you’re in a hurry or a pinch. Just make sure whatever bar you choose that the carbs are below 25 grams and total calories not more than 300. If you want to make your own high protein low carb dessert, I have found that Organic Greek Yogurt mixed with your favorite protein powder and a squeeze or two of Stevia sweetener makes a DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS and FILLING treat. There are a multitude of sugar free drink flavors, including for coffee, that make awesome yogurt flavors. Another option is preparing old fashioned oats or steel cuts oats and then adding your favorite protein powder mix and sweetener. Very filling and packed full of nutrition.
These are just a couple of ideas, but hopefully they will give a starting point to create your own favorite snack or treat that’s leaps and bounds above some ready-made crap you can get off the shelf that’s really not healthy or nutritious at all.