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Wednesday 6 July 2016

10 “Low-Fat” Foods That Are Actually Bad For You

This article is by Franziska Spritzler who has a BSc in nutrition and dietetics. She is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with expertise in carbohydrate-restricted diets for diabetes and weight management.

"10 “Low-Fat” Foods That Are Actually Bad For You:
Many people associate the term “low-fat” with health or healthy foods.
Some nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are naturally low in fat.
However, processed low-fat foods often contain a lot of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

Here are 10 low-fat foods that are bad for you:

1. Low-Fat Sweetened Breakfast Cereal

In some ways, breakfast cereal appears to be a healthy way to start your day.

For example, it’s low in fat and fortified with vitamins and minerals. The packaging also lists health claims such as “contains whole grains.”

However, most cereals are loaded with sugar. In the ingredients section, sugar is usually the second or third item listed, meaning it’s present in large amounts.

Bottom Line: Low-fat, sweetened breakfast cereals are high in sugar, including “healthy” varieties such as granola.

2. Low-Fat Flavored Coffee Drinks

Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink.

It contains antioxidants that protect heart health and is associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Coffee also contains caffeine, which can improve mental and physical performance while increasing metabolic rate.

On the other hand, the high sugar content of flavored low-fat coffee drinks can negatively affect health.

Bottom Line: Adding sugar to coffee transforms a healthy beverage into one that may lead to weight gain and disease.

3. Low-Fat Flavored Yogurt

Yogurt has a long-standing reputation as a healthy food.

Studies show that plain yogurt may help with weight loss and improve body composition, in part by increasing levels of the fullness hormones GLP-1 and PYY.

However, low-fat, sugar-sweetened yogurt contains too much sugar to qualify as a nutritious choice.

In fact, many types of low-fat and non-fat yogurt are as high in sugar as desserts.

Bottom Line: Plain yogurt made from whole milk is healthy, but sweetened low-fat yogurt can be as high in sugar as desserts.

4. Low-Fat Salad Dressing

Salad dressing enhances the flavor of raw vegetables and may improve a salad’s nutritional value.

Traditional salad dressings are high in fat, which helps your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

In addition, fat helps you absorb antioxidants from foods such as leafy greens, carrots and tomatoes.

In contrast, low-fat and fat-free salad dressings don’t contribute any health benefits to your meal.

Most of them also contain sugar and preservatives.

Bottom Line: Low-fat and fat-free salad dressings contain sugar and additives but lack the benefits of healthy fats like olive oil.

5. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a delicious and popular food.

Studies suggest that peanuts and peanut butter may have benefits for appetite control, body weight, blood sugar and heart health.

It’s high in mono-unsaturated fat, including oleic acid, which may be responsible for many of the benefits.

However, note that natural peanut butter contains only peanuts and perhaps salt.

By contrast, reduced-fat peanut butter contains sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

Bottom Line: Reduced-fat peanut butter contains sugars and processed oils yet provides the same number of calories as natural peanut butter, which is much healthier.

6. Low-Fat Muffins

Low-fat muffins may seem like a healthier option than other baked goods, but they’re really not any better.

A small, 71-gram, low-fat blueberry muffin contains 19 grams of sugar. This is 42% of the calorie content.

However, this is a much smaller muffin than you’d find in a coffee shop or convenience store.

Bottom Line: Low-fat muffins are high in sugar and have a high glycemic index that may lead to hunger, overeating and weight gain.

7. Low-Fat Frozen Yogurt

Low-fat or non-fat frozen yogurt is considered a healthier choice than ice cream because it’s much lower in fat.

However, it contains just as much sugar as ice cream, if not more.

Bottom Line: Frozen yogurt contains as much or more sugar than ice cream, and it’s typically consumed in larger quantities.

8. Low-Fat Cookies

Low-fat cookies aren’t any healthier than other cookies. They’re also not as tasty.

In addition, low-fat cookies are typically made with refined flour, which is unhealthy.

Bottom Line: Low-fat and fat-free cookies aren’t any healthier than regular cookies. They’re very high in sugar and also taste worse.

9. Low-Fat Cereal Bars

Low-fat cereal bars are marketed as a healthy on-the-go snack for busy people.

In reality, they’re loaded with sugar and contain very little protein, a nutrient that promotes fullness.

One popular low-fat, strawberry-flavored cereal bar contains 13 grams of sugar but only 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein

Bottom Line: Low-fat cereal bars are high in sugar but low in fiber and protein. In addition, they contain far more sugar than fruit.

10. Low-Fat Sandwich Spreads
Low-fat spreads such as margarine aren’t a smart choice.

Even though they have less fat than original spreads such as butter, they still contain highly processed vegetable oils that can be harmful to health.

Bottom Line: Low-fat margarine and spreads are highly processed. They are made with unhealthy vegetable oils and often contain trans fats.

Take Home Message

Low-fat foods may seem healthy, but they’re often loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. These can lead to excessive hunger, weight gain and disease.

For optimal health, it’s best to consume unprocessed, whole foods. This includes foods that are naturally low in fat, as well as foods that naturally contain healthy fats."

Franziska's full article with all information / research links is here

... we try and bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy.

Please note, not all may be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan


Gypsy Heart said...

I've read similar articles in the past but this is very succinct. Thanks so much for sharing! I feel that buying from a farmer's market and being very cautious buying from any other source is vital to our health.

Have a blessed day!

Carla from The River said...

LOVE this post. I appreciate it so. I honestly wish people would understand this, so much processed foods and so unhealthy. During the holiday I was trying to explain this to deaf ears. ;-( I get so frustrated.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Many packaged foods are deceiving, aren't they? I use My Fitness Pal and can't believe how early in the day I sometimes get the sugar warning. I like to bake from scratch and try to stick to whole foods but we go out for lunch often and that's my downfall.

Kezzie said...

Very helpful Jan! I knew a lot of these anyway but a lot of people DON'T and it is good to be reminded!

happyone said...

Interesting, thanks for the tips. I'd rather have the 'regular' food and just not eat a lot of it.

Revrunner said...

Dang! There goes the Chobani.

Adam said...

I read something written by Bill Gates today that Warren Buffet (who is pretty darn old now) eats like a six year old. For example, he stayed over his house/mansion one night and the next morning he had oreos for breakfast. Very unreal

Galina L. said...

May be low-fat dressing contains less soybean oil, which is a plus. We don't use it at home, but given a choice, I would buy a lowfat version, but add to it a lot of olive oil.