Reading Between the Lines of “Healthy” Food Labels


With a busy lifestyle, we often try to cut corners when it comes to fitting in a fast meal or a snack. Glancing at marketing labels, such as “30% less fat” or “no added sugar” is supposed to be helpful – but is it?

  • Cooking oils

Which are the healthiest cooking oils? Most industrial seed oils (vegetable, soybean and corn) can be extremely high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats which can lead to modern chronic degenerative diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Better to cook with coconut oil or ghee and use extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil for dressings.

  • Nuts

Avoid nuts that are roasted in seed oils. Instead, choose raw nuts (often found in the cooking section of supermarkets, rather than amongst the snacks). Alternatively, if you prefer the taste of roasted nuts, soak raw organic nuts then roast them at a medium temperature for up to 20 minutes – high temperatures can damage the nutritional value by oxidation, generating bad fats.

  • Low-fat

For over 50 years, we’ve been advised to avoid fat yet we are the most obese generation in history! Some fats are good and we need them for our brains, immune systems and cell function. If a food is “low-fat”, check what else they did to it. Often it becomes high in something else, such as sugar or starch.

Bad fats are typically found in factory farmed animal fats, partially hydrogenated fats and highly processed oils; good fats are found in avocados, coconut oil, eggs, wild caught fish and grass fed beef.

  • Sugar-free

So what did they use instead? Sometimes the substitutes are worse. Natural honey is a better sweetener than sugar or fructose but rarely found in processed snack foods. “Diet” drinks that use artificial sweeteners are linked to chronic disease and, despite being marketed as one calorie, can actually make you gain weight.

A study in the USA found that drinking one or two cans of diet soda every week can increase the risk of diabetes by 33% and drinking the equivalent of a pint of diet soda a week can increase the risk by 66%!

So which is best? Diet or regular soda? As a daily drink, neither. It’s like asking if it’s better to be stranded at sea or in the middle of a desert! There are many alternatives but for a real health kick, try infusing water with lemon, lime, berries or beetroot.

We’ve just made this easier for you! A range of OVIO Wellness soft drinks is now available, blending a range of flavours with olive leaf for natural goodness. There are three organic healthy infusions to try:

  • Cucumber & Juniper
  • Lemon & Mint
  • Spiced Peach

These refreshing healthy olive leaf infused drinks are organic, low calorie and have no added sugar or nasty preservatives.

  • Summary

Read the list of ingredients for yourself. Where possible, make your own food using organic ingredients and eat fresh fruits and raw vegetables every day!

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