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More than meets the eye

Fruit juices with more sugar than fizzy drinks? Cereal bars that are less healthy than chocolate? Surely these can’t be true…

Behind the tempting packing and seductive advertising, there is often more to our food than meets the eye. With so many processed products claiming to be healthy and natural, do we always know what we are buying?

Fat free and low fat

Removing fat from food changes the taste and texture. Sugar or salt is often added to improve flavour, and starch or other additives as thickening agents. Watch out for fat free yoghurts and salad dressings, or reduced fat ingredients and ready meals, they are often loaded with unhealthy replacements.

Fruit juices and smoothies

Large amounts of fruit are reduced into a liquid form, resulting in high quantities of concentrated sugars, and very little of the healthy dietary fibre we need. Some healthy looking smoothies have been found to contain as much sugar as fizzy drinks. 

Breakfast cereals and bars

Cereals and cereal bars promote the healthy benefits of their whole grains, dried fruits and nuts. But they often contain high levels of unhealthy sugars on the cereal grains and clusters. Whole grains may only be added in small quantities compared to refined ones. Dried fruits, nuts and seeds are natural and healthy but should be consumed in moderation, as they are high in sugar and oils.

Natural and organic

Tempting words, but they don’t always mean something is healthy. A product can be natural, and produced using organic methods, but it can still contain unhealthy levels of sugars, fats and additives.

It is easy to be confused by manufacturer’s claims. Do your research and understand how food labels can be misleading. You will soon become a smart shopper and know how to identify those hidden ingredients.

It might be the most important thing you do today.

Other pages that may interest you

Community Hour interview on Unity 101

Listen to the podcast discussing the warning signs of pre-diabetes and the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme


Exercise star

The Diabetes Prevention Programme recommends that regular exercise with a healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.


Buy healthy, shop smart

Your plan should include economical, healthy meals and snacks that you enjoy eating.