Just because a packaged food boasts a "reduced fat" label doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. Here is the hard truth, are you ready?.............
The truth is that choosing packaged foods labeled as "reduced fat" or "low fat" foods are not the best alternative to truly following a healthy balanced diet. While picking up the “reduced fat” food from the shelf instead of the full-fat alternative may seem like the best thing to do, it could actually be the fiend that is blocking your road to weight loss success. Why is this? Well, your first clue should be the fact that we’re talking about a packaged food. This means it has preservatives, is sky-high in sodium, and probably doesn’t have much to offer in way of nourishment, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, but rather loaded with empty calories, like simple sugars and saturated fat. Any time you are trying to decide between foods, you should always opt for fresh foods, like fruits or vegetables, which are high in nutrients and vitamins.
The phrase "reduced fat" does not in any way guarantee that it is also "low fat". It simply means that in most cases the original food has been reduced down to a lesser amount of fat, making the new “reduced fat” product just that … ”reduced,” but not necessarily healthy. Think about this: if the original food had 25 grams of fat per serving, and now the “reduced fat” version has only 20 grams of fat per serving, is it a healthy snack? Absolutely not! Always look over to the nutrition facts label on the side panel. If there are more than about 6 grams of fat per serving in the food, it’s a high-fat food and would probably be better off on the shelf than in your belly.
What’s more, even packaged foods that are truly low in fat (i.e. less than 6 grams per serving) may still be hiding something. You see, to make a food product a success, it has to taste good. Fat lends fabulous taste to foods, so how do food manufacturers put the taste back in after removing the fat? Sugar! Look at the label of your favorite snack and compare it to its low-fat version. You will see that although the fat content has decreased, refined sugars, and often calories, are most likely increased. And, as you should know, refined sugar foods can send blood sugars on a rollercoaster ride that can make you tired, grumpy and fat.
Finally, in addition to the downfalls listed above, there’s an even sneakier underlying problem with foods that claim to be “reduced fat” or even “low fat.” They can give you a false sense of security, because you’re associating “reduced-fat” with “healthy.” This can have the opposite effect of leading you to consume more of that food, since you feel less guilt about eating it, which really means that you’re eating more calories overall. This can become really frustrating if you’re trying to lose weight, since you can’t figure out how weight gain is possible when you’re eating so “healthy.”
The key? If you truly want to eat a balanced diet to improve your health and keep your waistline slim, stick with fresh produce, lean meats, light dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. Limit fatty foods, and leave all of the packaged food products on the shelf.
For other tips and advice direct your fitness/nutrition based questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.