What dietitians really think of the health food aisle

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From ‘organic’ this, to ‘no-sugar’ that, you’d be forgiven for thinking your local supermarket health food aisle was a beacon of wholesome goodies. But in reality, those items splayed with health marketing buzz terms aren’t quite as healthful as they make out, according to dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan.

“Just because it’s in the healthy food aisle, doesn’t mean it’s a healthy food,” she tells Today.

The healthy eating expert stopped into an IGA supermarket to analyse just how good for us those so-called-healthy snacks really are.

“You think that everything in here is going to be healthy and it’s not necessarily — this is still packaged foods,” she says.

Picking up an Oat Slice, the nutritionist points out that the energy levels listed in the nutritional table is well above what’s recommended. “This is 1800 kilojoules in that single bar — that’s a huge amount… a snack should be around 750 kilojoules, so that’s well over double the amount.”

In comparison, the Go Natural Nut Bar, at half the size, is a more appropriate portion size and contains whole nuts.

As for ‘healthy’ veggie chips, how do they compare against the original potato chip?

“Whatever vegetable it’s made from, the bottom line is it’s still a treat food. It’s still an energy-dense food,” Dr McMillan explains.

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