Sofiticated Exposé: Unhealthy ‘healthy’ Foods

Fat Free anything

The psychological effect is amazing, you think ‘Fat free?  It has to good for me‘. Fat free food is often laced with sugar and sweeteners to make it taste good. This means that in the long run, you could be potentially consuming more poor quality calories.

Olive oil

A great addition to salad and cooking meals, olive oil is often considered the healthy alternative to other types of cooking oils, whilst it is healthier, it is not without it’s own problems. Frying or cooking olive oil at high temperatures can be quite dangerous. When heated to smoke point olive oil releases harmful toxins.


It has healthy omega-3 fatty acids and it can be high in protein. The Japanese have a long life expectance and low obesity rate, sushi is their staple, so how can one possibly go wrong with sushi?

One mini sushi can at times have as much as 200 calories, few of us consume just one? More worryingly the rice content is disproportionately higher than the fish and veg. In essence it has a starch over load, which can mean it spikes insulin levels and then leaves one hungry shortly after, which long term amidst other factors can lead to weight gain.

‘Fruit’ Juice

Juice, consumed moderately can be beneficial to your health, but you must carefully select the right stuff. Many commercial juices are only partly fruit, with flavourings and sugars making up the content. Also some 100% juices are derived from concentrate not fresh. From-concentrate means the fruit is squeezed. The concentrated product is stored and at a later time (often following transportation) diluted with water, after which the substance is pasteurised and packaged. The process significantly reduces the vitamins and fibres in such juices.

NB: Most juices sold in Nigerian supermarkets are either concentrated or mixture of concentrate and flavourings. It is far better to make your own.


Often portrayed as healthy on the package, however in truth most mass-produced granola can be as bad as eating Millie’s cookies for breakfast. They contain a lot of unhealthy calories in a very small serving. A fistful of granola can exceed 500 calories of unwanted sugar and fat. A great alternative is a homemade version, this way you know exactly what it is that goes in your body. Here’s a recipe to help you.


A lot of big brands can have as much sugar as a can of coke. For example, a serving of Dannon Blueberry Fruit on the Bottom has more calories (140) and just as much sugar as 8.oz of a can of Coke. A great alternative is Greek Yoghurt (or in Nigeria Wara or Soy Wara), blend in 25g of strawberry and banana to jazz up plain taste or simply chop it in (in the case of Wara).


Often pushed as a quick way to lose weight, load up on vitamins and minerals and ‘cleanse’. Unfortunately what they forget to tell you is much of the weight shed will be water weight and in fact many fruits are loaded with simple sugars and carbs. If care is not taken it is possible to put on more fat during a juicing period. Effective juicing should be for a controlled, short period and the juices  should be loaded with vegetables and small portions of fruit like apples, lemons and blueberries which are high in antioxidants.

Peanuts aka groundnut

Nuts are good for you, they contact essential good fats. However, peanuts are high in saturated fat. A handful of  peanuts can amount to as much as 600 calories, majority of which will be starch and fat. A better alternative is almonds which have more nutritious values and healthy fat, which also  must be consumed in moderation. Find out why here!


A snack pack, 42.5g of surpride raisins contain 120 calories, 30g of which is sugar. An alternative is buying fresh organically grown grapes and freezing them to snack on moderately.

Diet Frizzy Drinks

These are worse than the real deal, they are often laced with sweeteners and flavourings to help achieve tastes akin to the non-diet drinks. It’s better to wean your self of them but if your addiction is severe, buy some sparkling water and infuse it fruits. Try lemons and a touch of sweetener.

Flavoured Water

These are usually laced with sugar, sweeteners and artificial colourings.
A 750 cl bottle of Volvic Touch of Fruit Strawberry flavour has 36.3 grams of sugar. That’s 9 cubes of sugar.

Make your own instead, get some water and infuse it with fruits, if you have a sweet tooth add a touch of sweetener. This way you know what it is exactly you’re consuming and you can do so with your eyes wide open.

Banana Chips

Lots of people  throw these bad boys in with their cereal; they taste divine with weetabix.

However they are bad news! They are made by deep-frying mostly, and when they are not they are coated in sugar to caramelise them and make them crunchy. A small portion of 100 grams can contain as much as 10g of saturated fat. In perspective that can be 1/3 of one’s recommended daily consumption of fat.

Energy/breakfast bars

These are often seen as an easy but healthy way to gain energy rapidly, they are, but they can be as high as 500 calories per bar; you’re better off munching on a bonafide chocolate bar.

They are small and will often leave you hungry shortly after; meaning you consume more calories than you need in the long run.

Trial mix – dry fruit and nuts = Health freak? Well no.

Trial mix are often full of dried fruit dusted in refined sugars and nuts high is fat. A handful can be as much as 600 calories, refined.


People often confuse wholegrain with multi grain. Multi grains are often refined and so have less fibre and vitamins than whole grain. Read the labels! Manufacturers change the colour of food e.g. bread to make it look healthier than it really is.

So what can I eat?  We are not suggesting that you do not eat the foods above, instead we want you to know, if you choose to consume them, the truth about them. If you are interested in healthy food and snack options, explore a plethora of options here.



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