Is it REALLY healthy? Appearances can be deceiving!

Sometimes we get really caught up in the hype of a new product or in thinking something is healthy just because the label makes us THINK SO.  If we really want to do the best things for our health, we have to really read labels and know what we are consuming.  Never assume something is good for us because it sounds good.

Here are some of the more common ones people miss:


Many people love to buy Greek yogurt- as they should.  This is a wonderful product that is super high in protein, has zero fat and is so incredibly versatile that we use it in EVERY Bariatric Breakthrough Challenge and show both a sweet and savory recipe.  LOVE THE STUFF!  The problem is that many people are buying flavored Greek yogurt like the honey, strawberry, or vanilla kind.  The healthiest way to go is t buy PLAIN.  Then flavor it yourself with things that do not contain sugar and the extra calories.

Here is a comparison for you…..

FAGE Plain Greek yogurt:

Single serving size which is 6oz

100 Calories

0 Fat

18 Protein

7 Sugar which is only naturally occurring lactose and no added sugar.

Now lets look at a flavored option:

Honey flavor single serve which is 5.3oz

170 Calories

0 Fat

13 Protein

29 Sugar

There is of course added sugar here.  The carbs jump from 7 in Plain to 18 in Honey flavored which tells me there are 11 grams of added sugar from the honey.

It is so easy to take the plain fat-free Greek yogurt and add some Splenda and cinnamon for a yummy sweet treat.  You can add so any thing to it for flavors.  I like adding Splenda and coconut extract or almond extract as well. Some people use sugar-free Jello crystals or Crystal Light drink mix.  The possibilities are endless!


I am constantly hearing health-conscious people touting the benefits of almond butter over peanut butter and how much better it is for you.  Here are the numbers:

 2 TBSP                  ALMOND BUTTER            vs                 PEANUT BUTTER

Calories –                               202                                                               180

Fat  grams                            19                                                                  15

Saturated Fat                       1.8                                                                  2

Protein grams                         5                                                                     7

So tell me again why that almond butter is such a great substitute for peanut butter?  If you really want peanut butter flavor without the added fat and calories- try PB2 from Bell Plantation.

Two tbsp of PB2 powdered peanut butter has 45 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.  It is so versatile.  You can mix it to the thickness you want and use it as traditional peanut butter or make other things from it like shakes or puddings.  i like to mix it a bit thin and put cubed apples in it for a yummy desert.  I have also made a Thai peanut sauce from it as well. There are endless possibilities to do with this product as well.  I love PB2!  It also comes in a chocolate flavor that is divine!


Most people think granola is this amazing health food and do not understand the fat and calories and serious carbs it can contain if you do not know the portion sizes.  in one cup of granola, most brands have an average of 375-550 calories.  Even Kellogg’s Low-Fat Granola with raisins has 348 calories in a cup.  Most contain 10-12 grams of fiber per cup as well.  A cup is really not as much as you think.  It is not that hard to consume a cup, even for a bariatric patient.

Instead of adding granola to my Greek yogurt- I like to use Original Fiber One.  In one cup there is only 120 calories and 28 grams of fiber.  I love the added crunch it gives without adding tons of calories.


Most smoothie shops advertise healthy, fit and trim, and other varieties that sounds great at first.  The problem arises when you actually look at the calories and contents of most smoothies.

Take for example Smoothie King who touts their Slim-N-Trim smoothies.  If you get the small one- 20 oz, and tell them to make it a skinny- you are consuming 275 calories, 49 grams of sugar, and 61 grams of carbs.  That comes out to 13.7 calories per oz.

That is the LOWEST numbers of any of their products.  I could go on and on with different brands, and most are just as offensive.

There is one smoothie shop that I will go to and order their Splenda smoothies.  Tropical Smoothie Cafe has several all-natural smoothies, and they are all 24 oz.  One of my faves is the Hawaiian Breeze.  This 24 oz smoothie has 210 calories when made with Splenda and 41 grams of sugar- all of which are from the fruit and not with added honey, and 50 grams of carbs.  The numbers are not only much lower than Smoothie King, but also for 4 oz more.   (They also taste a lot better.)

I also see people drinking bottled smoothies from the supermarket such as the Naked brand smoothies.  They look incredibly healthy.  A quick glance at the bottle of the Blue Machine variety looks pretty tasty and you see that it has 170 calories per serving. That would be a lot for me for just 16 oz of juice, but actually there are TWO SERVINGS in a 16oz bottle.  340 calories for a bottle of smoothie?  NO THANKS!

I did not find one flavor with under 220 calories for 16oz of juice.



Lots of people email me daily asking about coconut milk instead of Soy or Almond milk as a substitute for skim cow’s milk. Unless you buy a light version, it can contain 35 calories per tablespoon and 4 grams of fat.  Silk brand pure coconut milk in vanilla 90 calories in a cup and has sugar added to it as well and 5 grams of fat in a cup. I prefer skim milk personally.
almond milk is a much better choice or soy milk.  But beware of products that say “evaporated cane juice” in the ingredients which both Silk coconut and Silk Almond milk have added to them.  This is a fancy “natural-sounding” name for sugar.  Be sure to not only read sugar grams, but ingredients- especially on dairy products where we usually think the sugar grams we see are the lactose and not added sugar.

There are so many other foods that can be misleading.  Always just be mindful and pay attention to what you are putting into your body as well as the portion sizes.  One thing we try to really stress in our Fit and Flourishing Online Programs is the importance of being sure you are eating nutrient-dense foods and being sure to know portion sizes.

110 calories for a 1/4 cup of granola doesn’t look too bad until you actually measure that 1/4 cup!

All of the recipes we use in our programs are geared towards nutrient dense calories versus empty calories.  Things like simple carbs and alcohol really are empty calories that can add up quick!!!  With a little bit of research and preparation, you can avoid consuming lots of extra calories and adding lots of extra pounds!




About Erin Akey

I am a formerly morbidly obese wife, mother, Christian, author, speaker, water fitness instructor, nutritionist, anti-obesity advocate, and Emerald Ambassador with Plexus Worldwide. I am passionate about helping people fight the disease of obesity and also preventing and addressing obesity in children. I believe we have so many amazing tools available to treat this disease and we all need to take advantage of the ones we feel are right for us. I am also passionate about women taking the time to care for their needs. We live in a world where so many of us spend all of our time taking care of others that we neglect ourselves. I am all about making God the center of everything and letting His will take control of our lives and watching the beautiful blessings come from that release of power! Live, Laugh, and LOVE every day! Be grateful and be humble and watch the world around you change!
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