Even if a label says it’s healthy, calls it a “health shake,” and claims it will make all your dreams come true, you should always double-check the ingredients and nutrition of any so-called health shake.
If any of these ingredients appear in the ingredients list, put the shake down and walk away.
Here are 5 ingredients that should NEVER be in your health shake, and how marketing can make it difficult to determine how healthy a shake really is.
Like most food packaging, many health shakes have confusion labels. You’ll find false or exaggerated claims on the front of a package. Unless it’s a strict health claim, it’s not well regulated.
As the consumer, it’s up to you to investigate beyond these claims.
To start, follow my #1 rule for food packaging:
Ignore everything you read on the front side of the packaging. It’s marketing. Some marketing is truthful. Some isn’t.
Then, go to the ingredients list. Although there is still some ambiguity here, with ingredients like “natural flavors,” etc., it’s still a better gauge than product packaging claims. You’ll get a good idea of what’s in the food or shake.
Decide: Are you okay with everything that’s in it? If so, move on to the nutrition label.
If you want to stay in the Keto Zone, pay special attention to total carbs and fiber to calculate the net carbs. Pay extra special attention to the portion size listed at the top of the label. And, beware of these 5 ingredients:
Omega-6 oils actually work against omega-3 oils. Omega-6 oils are associated with declines in metabolic health, cardiovascular health, and increased inflammation (1, 2, 3).
In fact, one aim of a great diet is to get your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio as low as possible. The average American diet is at about a 20:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. An optimal ratio is considered 4:1. Anything below 10:1 is a good goal in modern times.
Why is it so hard to get to optimal levels?
High omega-6 oils, like soybean oils, are literally everywhere in the food supply. Take a look in your cupboard, it’s there.
When you look at your health shake, look for:
Good Oils for Health Shakes:
Sugary liquids are the epitome of insulin-disturbing, health-wrecking foods. These sugars travel through the digestive tract very quickly, are 100% absorbed, and spike blood sugar.
It is the exact opposite of what you want on a healthy Keto Zone diet.
In fact, many of them will be liquid sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup, or cane sugar syrup. Don’t be fooled. It’s all added sugar.
High sugar intake is linked to poor health, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and more. It’s associated with brain aging, and may even be linked to degenerative diseases (4).
Walk away from high-sugar “health” shakes.
You may also see syrups and sweeteners that seem “healthy.”
Agave may seem healthier than other sugars, but it’s not. In fact, it is a liquid sweetener, high in fructose. Fructose is metabolized in the liver, turns into triglycerides and fat, and breaks down collagen and elastin.
And while real maple and honey have some positive health attributes, they contain too many carbohydrates for a Keto Zone Diet.
If you use sugar substitutes, make sure they are natural ones like sugar alcohols: erythritol, xylitol, and others is safe, and do not seem to affect gut bacteria (7).
Any good health shake should allow your gut “rest” and healing, along with good-bacteria proliferation.
Food dyes are not benign and have no place in a “health” shake.
Several studies have found that food dyes exacerbate hyperactivity in sensitive children (8). While you may be an adult, this finding confirms that food dyes make their way into our systems and can affect our bodies.
What’s more, Red 3 is a dye that was banned in the 1990s, and then had the ban retracted. Lab studies have shown tumor concerns with Red 3, and may people anecdotal report intolerances for it (9, 10).
Always check your ingredients list, whether looking at a candy bar or “health” shake. If choosing a Keto Zone Shake, you can skip it. Just kidding! Still, check those ingredients. You’ll find only health-benefiting ones, and you’ll never find any of these 5 ingredients that should NEVER be in your health shake! Go ahead, take a look.