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Confessions Of A Personal Trainer...

I consider myself pretty educated. I have a master’s degree, several personal training certifications, and a nutrition certification. But, I have a confession to make. I believed the hype and I let the giant corporations deceive me. I fell for the marketing without investigating the claims. I let myself believe I was making a healthy choice when in reality I was sabotaging my weight loss efforts. Maybe you can relate...

The research is plenty on the benefits of coconut products. Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream and even coconut flour all provide us with healthy fats that have been shown to help us lose weight, boost our energy, help with our skin and hair, and even kill some bacteria. Because of the benefits, I try to add coconut products to my diet whenever I can. So when I discovered that Starbucks had coconut milk I raced my health-educated self down to my local barista to once again enjoy a latte that I had begrudgingly given up because of my dairy intolerance. What I failed to do was READ THE LABEL. I assumed, or wanted to believe, that it was real coconut milk. I know better. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL

Rarely if something is being marketed as part of the latest health craze is it truly what you believe it to be.

LABELS DON'T LIE. Here is what I found when I decided to find out what I was really drinking:

Ingredients: Water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors, sea salt, carrageenan, gellan gum, corn dextrin, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin d2.

Compare those ingredients to these...

Ingredients in most legit coconut milk: Coconut milk, water.

I let Starbucks dupe me. And I know better.

If we are going to make healthy choices, we need to be smarter than the marketing and wiser than the hype. We need to be label readers.

“The deceptive labeling of foods is big business. Hungry conglomerates are quick to spend big dollars -- we all know this -- to make their big scores, and they have no shame when it comes to victimizing people for profit. They get away with 'murder' literally, by taking advantage of all the loopholes available to them, written into the "fair labeling" laws by their lobbyists and complicit congressmen. Words like "natural", "organic", "healthy", "low fat", "low carbs", "antioxidant" have become, along with innumerable other acronyms or monikers, completely debased through cynical misuse. Like the bright colors and engaging animals used to trick children to beg for trashy products, these likely but misleading terms are being used to slip past our common sense and get us to put their package into our shopping basket and taking it home to poison our families" 1

So don’t fall for the hype. Turn the product over and read the label! Here are some tips for making sense of labels.

  • Don't believe the marketing on the front of the package. That bright, big, trigger word on the front of the package is there for one reason get you to buy it. The truth is in the label

  • Always read the label. Look for the following:"

  • List of ingredients. The fewer the ingredients the better

  • Fat. Be sure it is from healthy sources. Avoid trans fats which will be listed as partially hydrogenated fats

  • Words you can't pronounce. If your third grader can't pronounce an ingredient, don't eat it.

  • Sugar. Ideally keep below 10 grams. Avoid any products with added sugar. Know all the sugar synonyms. Here is a list of 30 words that just mean sugar!

  • Go for high fiber (4 grams or more) and low sodium.

  • If you can spare 10 minutes, watch this video on how the food industry tricks us into thinking something is healthy

Now if you will excuse me, I need to pour myself a cup of black coffee and spend some time reading the labels in my pantry.


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