With more and more shoppers looking to make healthier dietary choices, leading food brands are increasingly focusing their marketing on the health benefits of their products. But how wholesome are these “health foods” really? How much of it is fact and how much is just PR? We take a look at the unhealthiest “health foods” you’ll encounter in your typical shopping routine – and offer you some healthy alternatives, which you can find at your favourite online organic shop.


Fruit Juices

They may seem like a healthier choice than soda, but commercial fruit juices are actually highly processed; and many of them are loaded with artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. Nearly all the nutritional value of the original fruit is lost. Opting for truly natural and organic juice brands will do your body a much bigger favour than sipping on ordinary supermarket fruit juice.

The Healthier Alternative:

 Delizum Organic Carrot & Orange Juice

Delizum Organic Carrot & Orange Juice

Totally Wild Aloe Juices

Totally Wild Aloe Juices


Sports Drinks

The average energy drink is filled with things your body really doesn’t need, like artificial colours and flavours, sodium and high-fructose corn syrup. Coconut water is known as “nature’s energy drink”, because it’s loaded with electrolytes and potassium; the perfect alternative to sugary, chemical-laden sports drinks.

The Healthier Alternative:

CoCos-Pure Coconut Water

CoCos-Pure Coconut Water

Scheckter’s Organic Energy Drink

Scheckter’s Organic Energy Drink


Energy Bars

Filled with nasties like high-fructose corn syrup, added sugar, saturated fats and synthetic vitamins, ordinary energy bars are closer to junk food than health food. Rather opt for natural snacks that give you a sustained energy boost.

The Healthier Alternative:

Trek Wholefood Energy Bars

Trek Wholefood Energy Bars

McNabs Feel Good Bars

McNabs Feel Good Bars


Margarine

The process of hydrogenation (turning liquid vegetable oils into a solid) leaves margarine loaded with trans fats. These unhealthy fats are linked to all sorts of maladies, such as heart disease, elevated cholesterol and hormonal imbalances. Instead of picking up that imitation butter spread at the grocery store, try using ghee – real grass-fed butter with the milk solids removed – or coconut oil, the vegan-friendly option.

The Healthier Alternative:

Earth Products Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Earth Products Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Lemcke Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Lemcke Organic Virgin Coconut Oil


Did You Know? Eating a healthy snack before you go shopping will actually influence you to make healthier buying choices! Read more about this interesting consumer study here.


Fat-Free & Low-Fat Foods

First of all, “fat-free” does not mean “calorie-free”! These foods might be low in actual fat content, but they are typically high in artificial sweeteners and added sodium to improve the flavour. Plus these foods tend not to be very filling, and typically lead to you consuming more calories than you normally would – or should. Choose your indulgences wisely, with the occasional sweet or savoury snack made from real, natural ingredients.

Caring Candies Sugar-Free Sweets

Caring Candies Sugar-Free Sweets

Fudge-It Vanilla Chickpea Fudge

Fudge-It Vanilla Chickpea Fudge


Dried Fruits

Store-bought, mass-produced dried fruits are high in added sucrose (table sugar), to compensate for the flavour changes caused by the fruit’s natural fructose breaking down. Many companies also add sulfur dioxide, to prevent the fruit from browning. This sulfite can easily affect those with allergies or breathing difficulties. For a safer alternative, choose sulphite-free, no sugar added dried fruits; or invest in a dehydrator to make your own tasty dried fruit snacks at home.

Tierhoek Organic Dried Apricots (Sulphite Free)

Tierhoek Organic Dried Apricots (Sulphite Free)

Ezidri Snackmaker Dehydrator

Ezidri Snackmaker Dehydrator


We hope this has opened your eyes to the unexpected nasties that might be lurking in your shopping trolley – and given you some really tasty wholesome options as well!