The Problem With Low Fat Foods – It’s making Us Fat!

Remember when you were a child going to the supermarket with your mum to buy the groceries? – it was all so easy back then.  No agonising over what type of milk to buy, as there was only full cream or skim milk:  now there’s low-fat, no-fat, lite, soy, rice, Zymil etc…(I sound like the woman on the milk commercial).  That’s just the tip of the iceberg – most food manufacturers’ now make a full-fat, low-fat and / or low-salt version of their most popular selling products, in an attempt to cater for all aspects of the market.  The problem is that there has been an explosion in the amount of low-fat foods on the supermarket shelves, and statistics show they are popular amongst consumers YET we are still getting fatter.  How can that be? 

While low-fat, no-fat or 99 per cent fat-free food may have a lowered fat content, they tend to have a lot of sugar which is effectively ‘conning’ consumers into thinking they are making healthier choices when buying products that make these claims. 

In fact, often low-fat foods have the same calorie content as their full-fat equivalent.  This is because the manufacturers take the fat out but then add flavour which has a high sugar content.  The result is a low-fat, high sugar product which people feel ‘safe’ purchasing because they are buying the ‘healthiest’ choice.  In fact, sometimes we may positively binge on all these sweet tasty low-fat calories, while we reassure ourselves that it’s quite alright to eat this treat because it’s fat-free.  Does that sound familiar? 

Lately, this issue has been a focus of discussion for many nutrition experts.  American author of best-selling book ‘Food Rules’, Michael Pollan, says that since Americans started making low-fat foods they had been consuming up to 500 extra calories (2100 kilojoules) a day.  A 200-gram tub of low-fat yoghurt can contain more than 30 grams of sugar – which is around six teaspoons!

It is really important for us – the consumer – to educate ourself on reading nutritional panels of foods and take into account the overall energy and sugar contents rather than just the fat content.  Don’t believe the marketing ‘guff’ on the front of the foods – turn to the nutritional panel and get a much more accurate picture of the contents. 

Of course, the sure fire way to not be ‘conned’ by food labelling is to buy fresh produce over processed foods.  If you include a lot of fresh, non-processed goods in your diet like fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and whole grains, then you know exactly what you are eating (while not increasing the profits of large, multi-national food manufacturing companies!) 

The Natural Way’s Healthy Living is a vital part of our weight loss programme.  Healthy Living is a really a ‘lifestyle education’ package, where each client personally ‘coached’ by their weight loss consultant in weight maintenance.  An important component of Healthy Living is the ‘Food is Your Friend’ section, where considerable time is spent de-bunking food ‘myths’ and clients are taught how to read nutritional information labels correctly. 

Healthy Living is your handbook to all the skills needed in order to maintain your weight successfully once you reach your goal. 

If you would like to find out more about our holistic approach at The Natural Way, please phone your nearest clinic on 1300 SLIMMER (7546637) 

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