Food + Recipes, IBS

The sweet truth behind our ‘healthy’ snacks

In my pursuit of health and after learning more about the impact of sugar on the body, I began to get into the habit of reading the labels of everything I ate. Many of the snacks I used to purchase that I thought were healthy alternatives, were actually more sugar-dense than chocolate and other treats! Here are some of the shockers I found, alongside a known unhealthy alternative for reference:

1. Innocent Bubbles Sparkling Apple and Berry Drink

20g sugar per can
21.6g sugar per bar

When I was sick and pregnant, fizzy drinks were a life-saver. After previously thinking sugary drinks should be banned, I had to eat my words as they were one of the few things keeping me going. When I started to feel a bit better, I moved from full-fat coke to Innocent drinks, as they went down well and tasted great. After drinking half a can and scanning the back, I noticed that drink alone contained 66% of the recommended daily allowance for adults. I poured the remaining drink down the sink.

2. Trek Protein Flapjack – Cocoa Oat Protein Bar

14g sugar per bar
13.7g sugar per bar

Another one of my go-to favourites I assumed to be a healthy alternative. Although it advertises as 100% natural ingredients, it includes rice syrup, sugar and raw cane sugar. Perhaps these are technically counted as natural – but I find that a bit misleading. A Trek protein flapjack will make up 47% of your recommended daily sugar allowance.

3. Naked Green Machine 450ml Smoothie

53g sugar per bottle
54kg sugar per 500ml bottle

A rather shocking revelation, it does explain why I was never able to finish a full bottle in one sitting. It’s also no surprise that they intentionally do not list the sugar RDA percentage on the bottle, as it would be 176%… probably enough to put most people off.

4. Nakd Peanut Chocolish Fruit & Nut Cereal Bar (35g)

16.1g sugar per bar
13.2g sugar per bar

That is a lot of sugar for such a tiny bar (it fits in the palm of my hand). One of these bars will set you back 54% of your sugar RDA.

5. Deliciously Ella Salted Almond Caramel Cups

10.6g sugar per packet

10g sugar per bar

Deliciously Ella has some fantastic recipes, very innovative and great for consuming large quantities of nutrients. So it was surprising to taste how rich her snack products were, mostly due to the date syrup, coconut sugar and maple syrup. A packet of these will put you back 35% of your sugar RDA.

6. Purdey’s Rejuvenate Multivitamin Fruit Drink

20.8g sugar per bottle
18g sugar per 500ml

With all the added vitamins and benefits listed on the bottle, I thought Purdey’s drinks were a good go-to when I needed an energy high. I soon learnt that the energy high was not due to the vitamins, but the sugar content that provides 69% of your recommended daily sugar allowance. Lucozade, which advertises itself as an ‘Orange Flavour Isotonic Drink with Sugars and Sweeteners’ contains less!

7. Eat Natural Fruit & Nut Bar Almond & Apricot with a Yoghurt Coating 50g

15.6g sugar per bar
18.7g sugar per bag

I remember Eat Natural being one of the first ‘health’ bars on the market. At that time I thought I was doing a good thing for my body snacking on one of these. Unfortunately, the reality is that they’re over 50% of your sugar RDA – so probably best to stick with an apple next time.

8. The Primal Pantry Cocoa Brownie High Protein Bar 55g

22g sugar per bar
23.2g Krispy Kreme chocolate sprinkle donut

These are dense bars that I struggle to finish in one sitting. Not particularly sweet in taste, you would assume the sugar level is reasonable low, unfortunately this is not the case. This makes up 73% of your recommended sugar RDA, not far off a Krispy Kreme donut!

Although these comparisons can be shocking, there is a huge caveat here that sugar isn’t everything. Where some of these treats can be sweet, they are healthier in terms of less additives, preservatives and other nasties we shouldn’t really be eating. That said, if you are opting for a low sugar diet, it’s probably best to stay clear or be mindful of your consumption.

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