The "Healthy" Alternatives You Should Avoid

Updated: May 24, 2019

It’s known that following a healthy diet makes Type 1 diabetes control a lot easier. Foods that are lower in saturated fats, carbs and sugar are naturally easier to correctly dose insulin for. That’s not to say you shouldn’t treat yourself! (Donuts are my weakness.) However, how many times have you deprived yourself of a food you want, to get a less-satisfying version because it's marketed as "healthy"? After doing a little research, I've realised that many of these "healthy" alternatives are actually no better for sugar level control and no better for following a healthy diet.

Vegetable Crisps VS Normal Crisps

I don’t blame anyone for thinking that “veggie” crisps are a healthier choice than the original potato crisp. The veggie crisp brands seem to have the best marketing out there! Just look at how one describes their product:

“With 0 grams of trans-fats and cholesterol, you can enjoy these chips at anytime with a clean conscious.”

That would have anyone sold- except that Doritos also have 0g of trans fats and cholesterol. In fact, most other crisps have neither one gram of trans fats nor one gram of cholesterol. Not only this, but if you have a quick glance at the nutritional value at the back you’ll find that more often than not, the calories, fats and carbs are all equal to those that are in a much tastier bag of potato crisps.

If you really want a low-fat alternative to your average pack of crisps, I’d recommend going for a ‘popped’ or ‘baked’ version rather than fried. I personally love Snack a Jack’s. If it’s carbs you’re more concerned about, then I’d recommend these Shrewd Food Keto Crisps.

Tonic Water VS Soft Drinks

People often think that they’re on a healthy path if they chose a vodka tonic over a vodka with a soft drink mixer. This is because they confusing tonic water with soda water/sparkling water- and shouldn’t be! Tonic water has 83 calories and 21.5 grams of sugar, which is almost as many calories and sugar as a regular coke. On the other hand, soda/sparkling water has none of either. Always opt for this option or a slimline tonic if available- it makes a very big difference!

Rice VS Pasta

Another common misconception is that rice is a healthy man’s pasta. White rice is no better for you than white pasta. They both have more or less the same nutritional value and are both refined carbohydrates because they've been stripped of their whole grain goodness. Refined grains cause sugar spikes after eating them so I’d always recommend going for the brown, full-grain version. This has a lot more fibre, meaning a low Glycemic Index and much better for sugar levels. Plus, you can get the brown, whole-grain version of pretty much anything these days, including loads of types of pasta! I love the Tinkyada brand's variations of brown rice pasta. You can click here to get a bundle of three types- penne, spiral and elbow! I also would definitely recommend their brown rice spaghetti, you can click here to stock up and get it in a bulk of 6 packets!

Yogurt VS Pot of Sugar

Obviously my creative flame burned out here and I couldn't think of a realistic comparison. However, the point I'm trying to get across is that the ‘healthy’, organic yogurt you know and love is not a great snack if you’re watching your sugar count. In fact, I used to eat the Activia vanilla yogurt if I was having a low blood sugar and didn’t fancy sweets as it has a whopping 13g of sugar in it! If you like yogurt as a snack I would recommend a Greek yogurt such as this Fage one and adding berries. This is significantly lower in sugar and much more filling due to its high protein count!

Chocolate Rice Cakes VS Actual Chocolate

I often hear of people reaching for chocolate rice cakes to satisfy their chocolate cravings when on some sort of diet. An average chocolate rice cake will have about 80 cals, 3-4g fat and 11g carbs. In comparison, a kinder bar has only 68 calories, 4g fat and 7.5g carbs. Neither are very nutritious or ‘healthy’, but I know which one would satisfy my chocolate cravings better. Everything is absolutely fine in moderation. So, if you want to treat yourself to a bar of chocolate- you should consider actually treating yourself to a bar of chocolate!

Dried Fruit VS Sweets

A bag of dried fruit can have the same amount of sugar as a bag of sweets- so not exactly an ideal snack for Type 1 diabetics. It's well known that fruit is high in sugar, but all of its fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants makes up for that. However, dried fruit is just fruit with nearly all of the water removed. This shrinks it, leaving a tiny, calorie and sugar dense version and making you need 10 times as much to be slightly satisfied (if even). For example, one cup of fresh cranberries has 4g of sugar and one cup of dried cranberries has a painful 70g! Maybe the correct portion of dried fruit could make a handy low blood sugar treatment, but to be honest I think that's all it's useful for.

Caesar Salads VS Sandwiches

Caesar Salads are a massive culprit for fooling people into thinking that they're being healthy. If it's in the salad section, it must be good- right? I know a lot of Type 1 Diabetics opt for low-carb options as they find it easier to dose insulin for. However, consider the Caesar Salad's creamy dressing, mass of cheese, fatty bacon and croutons- I know I certainly don't know how to carb count for that! Not to mention, these salads usually add up to about 1,000 calories and are loaded with fat. The straight-forward sandwich wins my vote on this one.

So, those are the "healthy alternatives" that, in my opinion, aren't worth your time or money! If you have any more additions that you feel should make the list, please let me know. Hope you enjoyed this post. X

*This post contains affiliate links meaning if sales are made as a result of this post I can make a little bit of commission. It does not affect the price of the item!

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