9 Low-Fat Foods to Avoid
Low-fat sounds logical if you want to lose fat. So how is it that our country.. and the world, if fatter today than 20 years ago?
Yet it’s still a common misconception that “low-fat” labelled foods will make you lose weight.We’ve spent so many years… more than an entire generation, avoiding fats, so it’s hard to rethink this. However, now we know that they are not even always better for you. We know that companies remove fat to make low-fat foods. But what do they use to replace this fat? Sugar, salt and additives! In fact, a low-fat product can have up to 40% more sugar than the normal version.
How is that any better for you then? It’s not. Health Magazine reveals 9 low-fat foods you should not eat:
1. Turkey bacon
Surprising, right? Turkey bacon is lower in fat and calories than regular bacon—but not by much. One popular brand’s turkey bacon contains 35 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving, while center cut bacon (the leanest type of pork bacon) has 60 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. Both are processed meat products that are high in sodium and nitrites, which are linked to heart problems.
2. Low-fat baked goods
Low-fat bakery items like muffins and pastries aren’t any better for you than the full-fat varieties. A packaged low-fat blueberry muffin from one popular brand, for instance, packs 280 calories—that’s less than the regular muffin with 370 calories. But the low-fat one has more sugar (36 versus 29 grams), and just like the regular version, contains high fructose corn syrup.
You should eat salad, but noshing on a fat-free salad coated with fat-free dressing will leave you super hungry in an hour. Food manufacturers add sugar or artificial sweetener to fat-free salad dressings to make them taste good, which can lead to blood sugar spikes that drive appetite. Another bonus of fat: it helps your body absorb beta-carotene and lycopene (both powerful antioxidants found in tomatoes, carrots, and red peppers).
4. Reduced-fat peanut butter
Get this: two tablespoons of regular peanut butter contain 210 calories. The same amount of the reduced fat version? About 200 calories. “When companies reduce fat, they add more sugar like corn syrup and additives to improve the taste and texture,” says Beth Warren, RD, author of Living a Real Life with Real Food.
5. Egg substitutes
You can buy egg subs in cartons in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, and they’re often used in omelets at hotel buffets. They’re made from egg whites, stabilizers like guar gum, and colorings to give them that egg-y feel and taste for fewer calories and no fat. The problem is, the yolk—which has five grams of fat—is where all the good stuff is. The yolk contains choline, an essential nutrient that helps make a neurotransmitter involved in muscle function and memory, as well as immune-boosting vitamins A and D.
6. Low-fat potato chips
Take a look at the label on reduced-fat potato chips: one serving is 140 calories; the regular chips have 160 calories (and less sodium). The risk is thinking the reduced fat version is a healthier chip alternative and eating more than you would have otherwise. In fact, a Cornell study shows that we serve ourselves 25% more when foods are labeled low-fat compared to those without the label.
7. Low-fat granola
Though oats and dried fruit sound healthy, most types of granola—”low fat” or not—sneak in sugar with names like brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice, says New York City registered dietitian Melissa Litwak. In fact, a serving of granola (just half to two-thirds of a cup) can have 17 grams of sugar. The super sweet start to your day will leave you with a blood sugar crash that has you reaching for snacks long before lunch.
8. Low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
“So many of my clients eat frozen yogurt daily because they think they need a treat and feel like it’s guilt-free,” says Harris-Pincus. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with fro-yo, but it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that you can eat a large portion and pile it high with high-calorie candies. Besides, frozen yogurt contains 17 grams of sugar per half-cup serving—same as ice cream.
9. Fat-free yogurt
Fat-free yogurt often contains artificial colors, added flavors and stabilizers, and more sugar to make it more palatable and eye-pleasing. What’s more, your body also needs some fat to absorb the vitamin D, and the added fat helps keep you satisfied.
Don’t fall into the low-fat trap!
It is easy to get influenced by the media and marketing campaigns around us, so it’s important to pause, think and question everything we hear. Especially when the evidence is in and we are not less fat today as a civilization that we were 30 years ago.
A general rule of thumb: if it comes in a package with multiple ingredients, chances are it’s not going to be as good for you as natural foods, shopped from the perimeter of the store. And don’t be afraid of nutrient rich higher fat foods. They provide more nutrition and are more filling, leading to less snacking on nutrient empty foods.
“I lost 5 lbs just by increasing healthy fats such as avocados and coconut oil and cutting out all sugar.” LeAura Alderson, founder, MyTrainerFitness.com
Similarly, diet drinks are proven to be most unhealthy, and something you rarely see slim people drinking. That sums it all up, doesn’t it?