The “health halo” is a relatively new term for me, but I’m extremely familiar with the concept. If you aren’t aware of the health halo (health halo effect), it simply means that foods are perceived to be better for you based on their label or brand and are therefore consumed in excess. But what we have to keep in mind is that food is food and calories are calories. Too much of anything can be harmful to our health.
When I find a new healthy food that I like, I tend to have a lot of it--justifying it because it's "healthy." Some other health halo trigger words for me are "baked", "organic" and "low fat." But I have to remember that the label doesn’t give me license to have more than the recommended serving size. Eating too much food or consuming too many calories is an unhealthy choice--even if those calories come from a good source.
Please do not misunderstand my message; I am not saying that healthier options and labels are not important. I read labels every day and I am grateful for food options such as baked, organic and low fat!
A perfect example is my new favorite snack, Barbara's Bakery BAKED Cheese Puffs White Cheddar. The cheese puffs are all -natural, baked and do not have artificial ingredients. The serving size is one ounce with ten grams of fat per serving and 200 mg of sodium. Now, if we look at the same nutrition facts from a well-known national brand White Cheddar Puff snack, the serving size is the same, the fat is at nine grams and the sodium is 290 mg. The stats are very similar.
Now it is snack time, so which cheesy puff do I select? Easy--Barbara’s Bakery! But I’m only going to have the recommended portion. I certainly wouldn’t feel good about eating half of a bag of the cheddar puffs with the cheetah on the bag in one sitting, so why would I be okay eating half a bag of Barbara's Bakery BAKED Cheese Puffs White Cheddar in one sitting?
Do yourself a favor, avoid the pitfalls of the health halo—read the whole label and watch your portions!