Trust is an interesting emotion. If you feel someone or something has earned your trust, they are golden. You will never doubt them. But once they lose your trust, it is nearly impossible to earn it back. Understanding this principle, many corporations desire to build trust and a loyal consumer base. Especially in the health food industry. Many corporations are practically salivating to earn the trust of health conscious consumers.
They rush to create products which are labeled USDA Organic, certified non-GMO, vegan, all-natural, or gluten-free. The certifications and labels produce a strong incentive for the consumer to buy these products. Because of trust. But should we trust a product just because it sits on a shelf in a health food store?
What Is Really In The Most Popular Health Food Products?
I put the labels of several of the most popular health food products to the test. There were a few guidelines I used to ensure an equal outcome.
First, the products had to be a known “health food”.
Second, they had to carry at least one certification on the label signifying its health food compliance. Like a green and white, circle stamp with “USDA Organic” somewhere on the product.
Lastly, it has to be a popular product most people have heard of, or even have on their pantry shelf.
Product #1: Energy Bar
The first product tested was a popular energy bar. The product’s graphic illustrates a lone rock climber dangling precariously by one hand off of a treacherous-looking boulder. This energy bar must be amazingly healthy if you can scale a rock after eating it, right?
The flavor of this bar is White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Sounds yummy. To satisfy my testing guidelines, it carries two certifications: Rainforest Alliance Certified, and Non-GMO. Sounds good so far. Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts.
The total fat is seven grams. Not bad. Research has proven the essential need for fat in our diets. As long as it’s healthy fats.
The sodium is labeled at 220 mg. This isn’t too outrageous. The American Heart Association recommends an ideal limit of salt intake to 1,500 mg daily. This bar gives you 9% of your daily value.
Most people eat these bars to satisfy hunger pangs. And since consuming protein is an effective way to silence hunger, it seems protein would play a predominant role in the nutrient value of this bar. Not so.
The protein is a mere 9 grams. Sounds like someone would have to eat a couple of these to get full.
Lastly, I checked out the total carbohydrates. Since there are a lot of people who have declared carbohydrates as the “Boogeyman” and avoid them whenever possible, this nutrient value should be very interesting.
The total carbohydrate is an insane 42 grams! Paired with 21 grams of sugar, this bar is incredibly high in carbs and sugars. And one look at the ingredient list will tell the story. There are three different types of sweeteners: brown rice syrup, cane syrup, and dried cane syrup. This bar is nothing more than a “health food” candy bar.
And if you have an allergy to soy, avoid this bar. It is loaded with five different soy products. It is clear this energy bar should not be labeled as healthy. Or consumed by any health conscious individual.
Product #2: Soup
The next product under the microscope is a boxed soup. It comes in a paper box to avoid the chemicals leached from an aluminum can, so it receives a brownie point.
The red pepper and tomato soup is boxed in an eight ounce serving size, which is good if portion control is important.
To satisfy the testing guidelines, the label carries a “USDA Organic” certification, along with a label placed prominently on the back which states it is: low fat, gluten free, vegetarian, and kosher dairy.
The calories per serving is 110. This is pretty good. And for those who count calories, this probably is a huge selling point.
The protein count is 5 g, which is skimpy. Don’t expect to have your hunger satisfied with just one box. An alternate protein source will need to be consumed with your meal or snack.
The total carbohydrates are 16g, and sugar is 12g of this total.
Honestly, carb count isn’t horrible. Since it is a tomato based soup, the sugar was necessary to mellow the acidic overtones. In all actuality, the sugars could have been much higher if the manufacturers would have not restrained themselves. It seems as if they added only the bare minimum to effect the overall taste. So for that, I give them kudos.
So far, this product has not been a trainwreck like the energy bar. You might be wondering why I have even chosen to highlight this product. The next nutrition fact will explain it all.
The sodium is a whopping 720mg.
This is 30% of your daily allowance! If you were hungry and ate two servings of these boxed soups in one meal, you would have consumed two thirds of the maximum salt allowed in a healthy adult diet. This is ridiculous.
Basically, this soup is healthy in every other way, except for those who worry about their heart. And since the leading cause of death in America is heart disease, this soup should be avoided. And it should definitely not be considered “healthy”.
Product #3: Almond Milk
Almond milk is the darling of the lactose intolerant and vegans.
Splashing into the marketplace a little over a decade ago, this nut milk has won many consumers over by their promise of a healthier diet.
Understandably, given the well documented atrocities practiced by modern dairies, any sort of nut milk is a welcome alternative. For our purposes today, I will be testing the nutrient values and ingredients of almond milk as it is the nut milk most widely consumed.
Ironically, the brand of almond milk I have chosen to discuss is produced by the same manufacturer as the boxed soup. I wonder how well they will perform with their almond milk?
The label sports the “USDA Organic” certification, so it satisfies our guidelines.
Total calories are 35 per serving, with one serving equalling eight ounces. Since we are testing the unsweetened, original flavor, this is a marvelous number. Calorie counters can breath easy.
The total carbohydrates are only 2g, with sugars listed as zero grams. Of all the products tested thus far, this particular brand of milk has landed itself the number one spot for least amount of sugars and carbs.
Protein is 1g, which left me scratching my head. Isn’t this a nut milk? And isn’t a nut packed with protein? So where did it go? I am dumbfounded. If you are ingesting this almond milk for the protein, this brand is short changing you. Time to find a new brand with higher protein values.
The salt is 190 mg, so it is within an allowable range. Nothing scary to report here. Other than the negligible protein values, this product seems to pass the test, right? Wrong. Perusing the ingredient list, I finally found what I was looking for.
Carrageenan. Used as an emulsifier to keep the ingredients from settling out into layers, and also used as a thickener, carrageenan has been tagged by the natural foods sector as a harmful ingredient.
Since the 1960’s, researchers have linked carrageenan to gastrointestinal disease in lab animals. Ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, and lesions of the intestines have been widely documented.
In studies of the anti-inflammatory response of new pharmaceutical drugs, researchers would use carrageenan to induce a inflammatory response in their subjects.
Most disease has its root in inflammation. And since carrageenan causes inflammation in both humans and animals, it should be avoided at all cost. So if carrageenan should be avoided, then we should avoid this “healthy” product, too.
Product #4: Green Vegetable Smoothie (Prepackaged)
This next product is an offshoot of the juicing craze of the early to mid 2000s.
It’s a prepackaged, green veggie and fruit smoothie.
The label carries the non-GMO verification insignia, as well as a bubble indicating no preservatives added.
The calorie count weighs in at a decent 190 calories per serving, which is the entire fifteen ounce bottle. If you plan on drinking this smoothie, you shouldn’t have to adjust your daily caloric intake to accommodate this drink.
Sodium is 180 mg, which can be directly attributed to the naturally occuring sodium within the veggies. So no problems there.
The protein is valued at 4g. So if you’re looking to drink this to stave off hunger, keep looking. The protein count is negligible.
The real kicker is the total carbohydrates and sugars. They are an astounding 40g and 34g, respectively.
If you drink this smoothie, the low protein and high carbs/sugars will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride from hell.
Product #5: Salad Dressing
This last product is manufactured by a well known health food company. You can find it virtually anywhere.
The label of this salad dressing states it is certified “USDA Organic” as well as verified non-GMO.
Though it contains 11g of total fat, it still remains within a healthy range. The total carbs are negligible at 3g, as are the sugars at 2g.
For the most part, this salad dressing seems to pass the test. Until I read the ingredient list. The oil used in this salad dressing is canola oil.
Canola oil has been proven in numerous studies to cause kidney and liver problems, heart complications, hypertension, and strokes. Clearly this is an oil we can do without. And a salad dressing we can do without, too.
How do we Avoid these Products?
You might be wondering, “How do I avoid products such as these?” I offer this advice: only buy products at a health food store. But wait. Guess where I found these test subjects? Yep. You guessed it. In a health food store. A health food store which has been purchased by an internet giant.
They are too big to care about the products they carry. Too massive to worry if energy bars loaded with sugar or almond milk laced with carrageenan are products their customers should purchase, let alone consume.
So if you can’t trust the natural food market, or the big named products sporting healthy certifications on their label, who can you trust?
Is there even a business who gives a damn about the consumer?
I asked these questions, too. The test results caused me to wonder about the “healthy food” in my pantry. Would they pass the test? Probably not.
I needed products I could trust to feed my family. But who has the time to research every single product in the whole food marketplace? Who has the time to investigate services to ensure they’re receiving the best quality for their money? Was there anyone out there who could protect us from buying harmful “natural health” products?
What we need is someone to do the legwork for us. To probe the market and inspect the products for us. Is there anyone out there who would do this?
So I searched the internet..
And my search led me to Healthy-Finds.
Finally! A business who understands how difficult it can be to find a truly healthy product in an industry where billions of products are competing for your hard earned money. A business who has the natural health knowledge to scrutinize the products for us.
How it Works
Healthy Finds employs a group of wellness specialists who scout the internet for healthy products. When they discover a product or service, they put it through an intense inspection process.
Once a product passes their stringent guidelines, it is then placed on the Healthy Finds website. Members of the Healthy-Finds community receive special pricing and discounts on the fully vetted products, giving them the opportunity to try it out. They can buy the products anywhere, even at natural food stores which are subsidiaries of internet goliaths.
And if that’s not a sweet enough deal, Healthy Finds even offers their members a cash back option for trying new products.
Want to check them out? Head on over to Healthy-Finds.com to learn more.
And let them teach you how to trust your food again.
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