Sneaky Snacks

Posted on: April 30th, 2012 by paul

Whether you have a sweet tooth or a salty one, it is hard to walk into a gas station, corner store, or kiosk at the airport and leave with only the items you intended on purchasing.

Crafty advertisers grab our attention and motivate us to buy items that we perceive to be healthy. However, just because there is a lone steer grazing in an open pasture does not mean that the milk chocolate bar you’re about to consume is pure. The fact of the matter is that manufacturers have a team of advertisers and psychologists who think up healthy-sounding names and ‘natural’ looking packaging that trick our minds into thinking that what we’re about to consume is in fact healthy, when most of the time, it is not.

An example of a deceptive snack food is the Sweet and Salty Nature Valley Granola Bar. Each 53 gram bar has 250 calories and 13 grams of fat. This granola bar, claiming to be ‘wholesome and delicious’, has similar nutritional value as that a ‘Mars’ candy bar. Mars bars (56 grams per bar) weigh in at 260 calories and 10 grams of fat. that’s LESS fat content than the ‘healthy’ Nature Valley Granola bar!

On the salty side of the snack bar, we are told that nuts up our protein intake and are a healthy alternative to a salty snack. Chose wisely because one 50 gram bag of Planter’s Salted Peanuts are higher in calories and fat that 50 grams of Lay’s Potato Chips. Planter’s salted peanuts come in at 290 calories and 25 grams of fat, while a 50 gram bag of Lay’s Potato Chips come in at 220 calories and 20 grams of fat.

If you’re waiting for your flight at the airport, or hankering for a snack from your hotel room’s mini fridge, take a quick look at the sugar content of your granola bar before you buy it. Get the one with the least amount of sugar to avoid a blood sugar spike and subsequent increase in appetite and loss in energy.  Another important note to keep in mind, nuts ARE a healthy alternative and even curb your appetite (due to a high protein content), just be sure to choose raw nuts to avoid high sodium and fat intake.

Remember, don’t be fooled by clever advertising and pretty packaging. Take a moment to read what you are purchasing before you deceptively consume more than you intended.


Gillian Johnson, BA, CSCS, PN

Gillian Johnson is the blogger and editor for, Canada’s source for last minute vacations from Calgary, flights, and cruises.


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