Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Truth About "Light" and "Sugarfree" Items

                                               Well here goes the good old media again!
      While the number of overweight and obese Americans continues to rise so do the numbers of "Fat Free" "Light" and "Sugar Free" items. When looking for "healthier" food options there are many different routes people take; however, a common one is to try to switch your regular food items to the "Light" or "Fat/Sugar Free" options. This is where the media and marketing people fool us! What many people don't know is that both fat and sugar are used in many food products to aid in a couple different things, but mainly shelf life and most of all taste. If a food company takes one of those items out of the recipe then the food is going to decrease dramaically in the areas listed above. As a result of this they tend to add more of the other item. For example, many fat free cookies contain nearly twice the amount of sugar as regular cookies, and same goes the other way, many sugar free cookies have almost twice the fat as a regular cookie. So instead of helping people lose weight, many of these items are actually contributing to weight gain and all the chronic diseases that go along with it. Bottom line, NEVER TRUST THE FRONT OF THE PACKAGE! Always read the nutrition label on the back and compare different items before choosing one.

Fun Fact: Did you know food companies can list anything on their box as long as it is a true fact? For example: on a Cheerios box it may say "You can lower your cholesterol in 30 days!". Well yes this is true. Almost anyone can lower their cholesterol in 30 days; however, it is not because you are eating Cheerios! Cholesterol only comes from animal products. This is a good fact to remember when looking at foods that use the marketing phrase "low cholesterol" or "cholesterol free". If you go to a store and find items that say the things listed above, most likely they aren't even animal products so DUH they don't contain cholesterol! This is just a marketing tool to sucker us buyers into purchasing products. Even if we don't realize it, our minds see the words "free" and "low" on food labels and immediately think "healthier". Don't let them get you! Read the nutrition labels!

Source: Samin Moham, Cottage Hospital RD

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