The health store shelves today, are full of fat-free goodies. Check-out the following guidelines to know what these nutrition claims really mean.
Just walking down the super-market will make you think of this important question!
The health store shelves today, are full of fat-free goodies. And without even giving it a thought we stack our shopping carts with these “healthy” food options.
We consider fat-free or low-fat foods to be guilt-free and gorge on them mindlessly.
Since two to three decades there has been a surge in low-fat alternatives of our normal food. This is due to increased awareness among the masses with respect to health and nutrition.
As people became more calorie-conscious, the number of low-fat products increased. It was also proven that a low saturated fat diet is the key to a healthy heart.
So all the folks looking to bring down their cholesterol levels turned to low-fat products. However, low-fat foods are not magical pills.
Food Labels: Fat-Free Or Guilt Free?
There are various terms used to indicate presence of less or no fat in a food product. Understanding the meaning of these terms is important.
- Fat-Free: Foods with less than 0.5g fat per serving.
- Low-Fat: Foods with 3g or less fat per serving.
- Reduced Fat: Foods with 25% less fat than the regular versions of these foods.
- Light: Foods with either 50% less fat or 1/3 fewer calories.
For instance, if you choose low-fat nut butters instead of the regular butter spreads; you need to read this carefully.
Low-Fat Foods Can Make You Fatter!
Fat is commonly seen in bad light because most of us think that fats in our diet are responsible for large bellies and increasing waist-line.
It is important to understand that our body needs healthy fats. It is not just any kind of fat that leads to clinical manifestations. It is the wrong kind of fat i.e. saturated fats that need to be limited in our diets.
Full fat products can actually be better than its low-fat or fat-free counterparts. Usually if a product is labelled as low-fat, it is bound to have hidden chemicals that would do more harm than good.
Technically it would have less grams of fat, but fat also adds flavor and texture to the food. So to enhance the flavor of these processed foods some nasty ingredients including high fructose corn syrup, modified starches, sugars, glutamates, gums, etc. are added.
These ingredients interact with your hormones and make losing weight even more difficult.
Weight gain is more commonly seen due to long-term consumption of low-fat products. Low-fat products are made by simply substituting fat with sugar. Also the addition of fat-like chemicals leads to intestinal disturbances like bloating, diarrhea, etc.
And remember, most oftenly low-fat products are just another marketing gimmick which the consumers fall prey to.
So before you buy any of those processed, low-fat foods, read the ingredients and nutritional information mentioned on the label.
If the product has ingredients that you cannot pronounce, think twice before buying it!