Monday, September 9, 2013

Tip of the Week: Choose Healthier Alternatives

You've probably heard this before. Choose 100% whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Substitute non-fat plain greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Use whole wheat flour in your baked goods. Use non-hydrogenated margarine instead of butter. Oh yea, by the way, most companies removed hydrogenated fat from their margarine (by the way, the human body naturally has trans fat). 

And, then, you hear about already packaged foods. Which crackers should I choose? What if I want some chocolate? Which should I choose?

Well, here's an analysis of two kinds of Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. One is Justin's Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. The other is the Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. Here are the nutritional labels for both. 

Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

It's surprising how both of these are still pretty high in sugar. Even the "healthier" alternative has more saturated fat. Then again, the nutritional stats are pretty much equal. The organic brand does have a little less sugar, which is good. It has 5 grams less sugar. There is more cholesterol in the Reese's brand.

What most people are worried about here is the ingredients list. Are there preservatives? Are there ingredients that I can't even pronounce? Where did that come from? How did they make it? 

What I noticed is that Reese's has PGPR and TBHQ as preservatives. PGPR is Polyglycerol polyricinoleate. TBHQ is tert-Butylhydroquinone. Doing some research, it shows that TBHQ negatively affects the body. Apparently,  the FDA states that "the total antioxidant content of a food containing the additive will not exceed 0.02 percent of the oil or fat content of the food, including the essential (volatile) oil content of the food." (Click on the link for the source)

Tasting these two products, the Reese's was definitely sweeter. It was actually too sweet for my taste. I couldn't really taste the "dark chocolate" it claimed to have. The Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup did have the dark chocolate taste. It was more satisfying too. 

It's really up to you what you prefer. It's better to practice moderation. Eat this one in a while and eat that once in a while. But, if you prefer to eat more natural foods, make your own or try the Justin's brand.


  1. Interesting post, Helen! You're right in that there really isn't tooo much difference in the labels, but I guess it always feels better when we know that one brand has less foreign sounding ingredients. :) So everything in moderation sounds good!

    1. I like the taste of packaged foods (sometimes) but using less foreign sounding ingredients can be just as delicious! Everything in moderation is a good. You can't deprive yourself of things! =)


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