Diet & Nutrition

New Zealand’s 10 worst ‘health’ foods of 2020


From coconut yoghurt to oat slices and veggie chips, here are the 10 foods that aren’t as healthy as they seem.

Consumer NZ just released their Bad Taste awards– which got me thinking, what would take the cake in Australia?

To make the cut on this list, I scoured supermarket shelves for products that looked relatively healthy thanks to crafty marketing tricks, clever packaging and/or the use of unregulated buzz words, but weren’t so pleasing once I flipped to the nutrition information panel.

Buyer beware: here are 10 products that are certainly not as healthy as they seem.

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New Zealand’s 10 worst ‘health’ foods of 2020

Nakula Organic Coconut Milk Yoghurt with Probiotics Vanilla

Nutrition information per 100g:

  • 552kJ
  • 0.7g protein
  • 8.6g sat fat
  • 4.5g sugar

Organic! Coconut! Probiotics! It MUST be good for you, right? Well, not when it packs over a third of an adult’s recommended maximum daily intake of saturated fat.

Compared to dairy yoghurt, this coconut version also doesn’t offer much muscle-building protein or bone-strengthening calcium.

Gullon 99.5% Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nutrition information per 29g serve:

  • 574kJ
  • 1.7g protein
  • 1.7g sat fat
  • 0.1g sugar
  • 1.2g fibre

Let’s get one thing straight: cookies are still cookies, regardless of what it says on the packet. They should always be considered a treat food and not something you’d eat every day.

These ones in particular might be sugar free, but they’re jam-packed with additives and artificial sweeteners.

All Natural Bakery Oat Slice Almond & Apricot

Nutrition information per 100g bar:

  • 1796kJ
  • 7.2g protein
  • 12.4g sat fat
  • 52.2g carbs
  • 16.5g sugar
  • 189mg sodium

Just because something says it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. These healthy-looking bars contain as many kilojoules as a main meal, as well as stacks of saturated fat and added sugar thanks to the use of coconut, butter and honey.

Ajitas Vege Chips Chicken Style

Nutrition information per 20g serve:

  • 386kJ
  • 0.3g protein
  • 0.3g sat fat
  • 14.1g carbs
  • 240mg sodium

These babies have a worse nutrition profile than some of the mainstream chips you’d find outside of the health food aisle. They’re made with a tonne of refined ingredients and contain a hefty amount of sodium.

Healtheries No Added Sugar Milk Chocolate Smooth Centre

Nutrition information per 21g:

  • 462kJ
  • 1.2g protein
  • 5.9g sat fat
  • 1g sugar

With over 100 calories in a tiny little packet, this chocolate alternative is too good to be true. Although it doesn’t contain added sugar, it’s made with sweeteners and offers plenty of saturated fat to boot.

Macro Certified Organic Light & Golden Rice Malt Syrup

Nutrition information per 15g:

Everyone thinks it’s healthier – but did you know rice malt syrup is still counted as added sugar (read: the type you want to minimise)?

If you really wanted to cut down on added sugar, I’d suggested opting for fresh fruit and yoghurt for sweetness – not something out of a bottle or tin.

Made With Plants Meat Free Premium Mince

Nutrition information per 100g:

  • 1057kJ
  • 13.4g protein
  • 3.7g sat fat
  • 485mg sodium

Plant-based everything is all the rage, but these products can be packed with nasties like saturated fat and sodium, which aren’t good news for heart health.

This ‘mince’, for example, contains almost a quarter of your recommended maximum daily intake of sodium per 100 grams.

Saxa Natural Pink Himalayan Salt

Ahh… the pink salt debate. I know it’s pretty and it says ‘natural’ on the packaging, but it’s really not doing your health any favours. Just like the white stuff, pink salt still contains sodium, which should be minimised for good health.

Pana Organic Raspberry Dark

Nutrition information per 15g serve:

  • 384kJ
  • 0.7g protein
  • 4.8g sat fat
  • 4.3g sugar

Vegan + gluten free = serious health halo. The packaging on this chocolate goes as far as saying it’s ‘guilt free’, too, which is simply misleading.

If you were to eat the whole 45g packet, you’d be in for more than 50 per cent of an entire day’s recommended maximum saturated fat intake, on top of almost three teaspoons of sugar.

Woolworths Plantitude Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Frozen Desert

Nutrition information per 60g scoop:

  • 491kJ
  • 6.5g sat fat
  • 10.4g sugar

Are you starting to see the trend? This frozen confectionary is just another example of a plant-powered product packed with saturated fat and added sugar. It’s no better for you than your run of the mill vanilla ice cream.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.