Sometimes we think we’re making a healthy food swap and then we find out our fix isn’t any better for us, and sometimes it’s actually worse. But today food companies are trying to find healthier alternatives and use more natural products. Here are a few food swaps that weren’t actually upgrades and the newer, better options.
The original - sugar. We love the sweet stuff, but it basically has no nutritional value and most Americans eat way too much of it, leading to a raised risk for heart disease and obesity.
The Replacement - Artificial sweeteners. Sugar substitutes like aspartame and saccharin are intensely sweet, but research shows they might not satisfy your brain because it’s expecting calories that don’t come, so you end up eating more
The New Fix - Mushrooms. There’s a biotech company called MycoTechnology that created a process to make low-sugar chocolate with mushroom extract. Apparently, it works with your tongue’s taste receptor sites, keeping you from tasting all the bitterness in cacao beans, so the chocolate doesn’t need as much added sugar to taste good.
The Original - Artificial dyes. They make all kinds of foods look prettier, but a study back in 2007 suggested synthetic colors could make kids more hyperactive, so consumers have become more cautious.
The Replacement: Cochineal. Manufacturers have used cochineal, a red dye made from crushed up bugs, in things like yogurt and drinks, but it’s not vegetarian and can cause allergies
.The new fix - fruits, veggies, and spices. Some food companies are using carrots, red cabbage, beets, and grapes to color cereals and candy. And Kraft started using the spices annatto, turmeric, and paprika to color its mac and cheese. Way better than the chemicals or crushed bugs.
The Original - Beef, pork, and lamb. Protein is good for losing weight and building muscle, but certain cancers are linked to a hard-core carnivore diet.
The replacement - Soy Protein Isolate. Soybeans and tofu are healthy sources of fiber, minerals, and complex carbs, but the way they have to be processed to make soy isolate protein powder - the stuff in a lot of those meatless veggie burgers and hot dogs - strips a lot of the nutrients.
The new fix - Jackfruit. This spiky fruit has a “meaty taste and texture” and takes on the flavor of whatever you cook with it. Brands like Jackfruit Company and Upton’s Naturals make a prepared meat substitute with it and some people love it in curries and BBQ.