I mean, companies won’t stop with gimmicks because gimmicks make money, but let’s just point out the most obvious ones.
First, coconut sugar is just sugar.
It’s not magically healthy just because it has the word “coconut” in it. If it’s the first or second ingredient, consider that product equivalent to a Snickers bar. Seriously.
Second, in anything other than small and infrequent amounts, sugar is poison. Yes, poison.
Don’t dance around it, don’t pretend because you worked out really hard two days ago (or even two hours ago) that it’s OK to eat a slice of pie or a donut or a cookie because you think you'll burn it off.
You won’t. You’ll store it as fat, it’ll cause your body to freak out with various digestive stresses, and you’ll become just a tiny bit sicker.
No, your eight minute ultra super death hard double secret workout doesn’t negate that.
Unless you are putting in serious work (as in, more than 140 minutes per week of exercise), you’re still in Normal-Land. Normal workouts will not balance out when stacked up against an abnormal diet. Sugar is abnormal. It’s a treat, not an hourly requirement.
Just limit your sugar intake. One Treat per day is fine. Eating dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (plus all those in-between snacks) will make you unhealthy. If you’re getting more than (about) 10 grams of sugar per meal, you’re eating dessert.
Third, when it comes to food products, don’t believe for an instant that the person in the advertising picture lives on or even uses the product. To get that lean, ripped, 8 pack ab look takes lots of work, discipline, and genetics.
It’s not magic and it’s not easy. Shoveling down a “healthy” energy bar loaded with sugar will not turn you into an endurance athlete, it’ll just add fat to your ass as your body works overtime to convert all that sugar to storable energy.
Fourth, “Real food”, “Natural”, and “Healthy” are all unregulated words in food-marketing-land. Nobody checks on those, and anybody can use them.
YOU need to decide what’s healthy for you. YOU need to decide whether or not you’ll buy into the bullshit or look for actual labels that matter, or better yet, at the base ingredients that make a difference.
Fifth, “gluten free” is NOT a guarantee of health. In fact, for most companies it’s a license to hide the fact that they’re loading their product with sugar just to addict your taste buds to what they sell.
Buying something just because it’s gluten free and expecting it to be healthy is like buying a freshly painted car and expecting it to be a Mercedes Benz. You need to look beyond the paint.
Sixth and finally, read the ingredients.
Look, different diets work for different people. Some people handle gluten just fine, some people break out in hives. Some folks can eat meat, or fish, or dairy without any problems, and some people will go to the hospital for slurping an eighth of an oyster (ah, the tragedy.)
We are all different, what we share is a brain that can read the ingredients and understand their impact.
If you see 30 ingredients in a product, 20 of which are difficult to pronounce, 4 of which are sugar in its various forms (coconut sugar, evaporated cane juice, blackstrap molasses, muscovado etc), and 6 of which sound healthy, know that you’re looking at a bullshit product.
If you see less than 10 ingredients and you can pronounce all of them, you’re on the right track.
Bottom line? YOU are responsible for your health. There is a billion dollar industry trying to capitalize on healthy eating right now. The majority of the industry (and the vast majority of investor-backed food companies) uses sneaky and powerful gimmicks to transform your desire for health into money in their pockets.
Don’t fall for the gimmicks. Track down the companies that care, and spend your money on those things that actually support your health.
Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!
Too much reading...
How about dessert?
I always enjoy your posts, but this one I have to share. Thanks Nick! Keep writing.
Great article Nik. I think you are spot on, I tell my friend and wife all the time Coconut Sugar is Sugar. It says so right in the name.