RAW DEALS?

HFG drills be­low the hype sur­round­ing ‘sugar-free’ raw treats.

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

From ve­gan brown­ies to ”sugar-free” bliss balls, which of to­day's raw treats ac­tu­ally live up to the hype

Ve­gan brown­ies, bliss balls and raw caramel slices have moved out of ve­gan cafes and onto su­per­mar­ket shelves. The im­pres­sion is they’re lower in sugar and health­ier than other pack­aged snacks — but that’s not al­ways the case. Find out if you’re get­ting a raw deal. Check in­gre­di­ents Raw snacks are of­ten made by blend­ing dried fruit with nuts. Dates, cashews and al­monds are fre­quently the stars, but co­conut, seeds, oats, syrups and oils some­times make the cut too. You might also no­tice pro­tein pow­ders, sugar al­co­hols or other sneaky names for sugar (see list be­low), and other un­fa­mil­iar in­gre­di­ents — usu­ally a good sign to put it back on the shelf. The rule is sim­ple: if you can’t pro­nounce it, don’t eat it! Search for sugar Raw treats can still be high in sugar, even when they claim to be sugar free. Sugar ap­pears in a va­ri­ety of dis­guises — more than 40, in fact! Rice malt syrup, maple syrup and co­conut sugar are rou­tinely used in raw desserts, and de­spite be­ing la­belled ‘nat­u­ral’ or ‘or­ganic’, they’re still sugar.

Even raw treats sweet­ened with dried fruit, such as dates, end up be­ing kilo­joule-dense, and can have up to 60 per cent sugar con­tent. For this rea­son it’s a good idea to ap­proach raw treats just as you would any other treat — to be en­joyed in mod­er­a­tion. Watch the fat Some well­ness gu­rus have pro­moted co­conut oil as a clean al­ter­na­tive to but­ter. Un­for­tu­nately there is lim­ited sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to support its rise as a

‘su­per­food’. Co­conut oil is high in sat­u­rated fat (and kilo­joules), and sat fat should be lim­ited to help keep your heart healthy. So, stick to nuts and ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil as a healthy source of fat in your raw treats. Be por­tion wise Can a slice of raw cheese­cake have the same num­ber of kilo­joules as a Mars Bar? Yes, it can! Get­ting too many kilo­joules from a pa­leo choco­late brownie or a slice of but­ter cake can both lead to un­wanted weight gain. Treats have a place in a healthy, bal­anced diet, but whether they’re raw or baked, stick to small por­tions. Ig­nore clever mar­ket­ing claims Stud­ies show that health buzz­words like ‘gluten free’, ‘pa­leo’ and ‘or­ganic’ make us as­sume that a food is healthy. It’s called the ‘health halo’ ef­fect. How­ever, the in­gre­di­ents list and the nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion on the back of the pack is a more re­li­able guide to how healthy any pack­aged food ac­tu­ally is. Don your apron If you like to get cre­ative in the kitchen, make your own raw treats at home, so you can con­trol ex­actly what goes into them. All you need is a food pro­ces­sor — and healthy­foodguide.com.au — for tasty recipes.

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