Misconception: Light, Fat Free, Reduced….

With the diet season upon us, for New Years Resolutions… I want to give one BIG piece of advice to any of my readers looking to better their health for 2018.

New Years always bring about resolutions and fresh beginnings and the most common one is to aim for better health. Everyone jumps into gyms and fitness centers and cuts back in their intake. Did you know most new years resolutions don’t stick? According to Business Insider, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

When we focus on intake, the biggest piece of advice I would give is:

STAY AWAY FROM PACKAGED ITEMS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WITH LIGHT, FAT, FREE, & OTHER HEALTH CLAIMS.

When any of my clients, family, or friends ask me for nutrition advice it’s always the same story: Foods without labels are typically your best options. 

Challenge: What food group has the most foods without labels?

You guessed it: Fresh Produce

Any-who, back to the topic at hand. Avoiding items with health claims can help you to ensure you are getting items as natural as possible. Keep in mind, when manufacturers create these items when they take something out, i.e. fat, they typically have to add something else back in to replica the flavor. Typically light foods have the fat removed from the product. Too keep the flavor profile the same or enhance the flavor, commonly sugar (natural or artificial) is added back in.

Additionally, my least favorite label of them all:No sugar added

Most people try to eliminate sugar and commonly reach for items that say No sugar added. No sugar added does not mean sugar free. This label is often slapped on items that naturally contain sugar. But foods, including fruit, milk, cereals, and vegetables naturally contain sugar. So although these products may not have added sugar they still may contain natural sugars. And no sugar added products still may contain added ingredients like maltodextrin, a carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates—which can be simple sugars or more complex starches—raise blood sugar, and no sugar added doesn’t mean a product is calorie- or carbohydrate-free.

Also, in order the meet requirements for nutrition labels some manufacturers will lower the serving size of an item to meet the nutritional needs for the label. For example, let’s say Product A had 12g of fat for a 4 cookie serving size. In order to get the Low Fat label, items have to have <9g 0f fat per serving. In order to achieve this, without changing the product, I will change the serving size to 2 cookie for 6g of fat. See how these companies can be confusing you. This item is marketed as a newer healthy item, when in actuality its the same product as before.

Moral of the story: Focus on eating items mostly without labels, and when eating items with labels, purchase the item in its’ most natural state with no health claims.

 

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