Four reasons “fat-free” isn’t good for you
When you’re at the grocery store and looking at product labels, you may think “low-fat,” “light,” “reduced-fat,” “non-fat” are going to be your healthier options, right? Not so fast! The low-fat type version may seem like the heathier version, but quite the opposite is true.
“Just because a product is labeled ‘fat-free’ or ‘lowfat’ doesn’t mean it’s healthier or even lower in calories,” says Jared Koch, a nutritionist in New York and the founder of Clean Plates. “In fact, most lowfat or fat-free foods will have sugar and chemicals to make up for the loss in taste, which renders them poor nutritional choices.”
Allow me to let you in on a little secret, people! If a processed food is advertised in a way to make it sound healthier, it probably is not. Marketing people are smart people. This is why they get paid the big bucks. Plain and simple, the more they sell, the more they make. This isn’t just a theory – you can go to college, to earn a degree in human behaviors and marketing research, to study why people buy certain things. Research/Focus groups are centered around finding what’s going to sell the best. The better they market, the more you buy, and the more money they make.
This may shock you, but your health is NOT a marketing company’s first priority!
Today, I am going to address the “fat-free” label deception. I want to unveil 4 reasons why eating fat-free, non-fat, light, and reduced-fat options are NOT healthy for you. Not only that, but I am going to show you how they are actually worse than full-fat products!
If you think that these:
are healthier than these:
…you have fallen prey into deceptive marketing, and we need to talk. 🙂
4 Reasons eating fat-free, non-fat, light, and reduced-fat options are NOT healthy:
1) Our bodies need healthy fat! Fat has gotten a bad reputation because most people don’t want a large belly, cottage cheese legs, or clogged arteries. I don’t blame them, however, most people don’t realize that it’s not just any kind of fat that leads to these conditions – It is the wrong kind of fat. Yes, there are different kinds of fat! Your body needs fat, but it needs the kind of fat that it can recognize and break down (healthy fats). Think about it… do you really think a fat-free cookie with 0 grams of fat, 120 calories, and made in a factory is actually healthier than an entire avocado with 240 calories, 22 grams of fat and came off of a live tree that God made? No way José. Those cookies are made with chemicals, sugar, and additives that your body does not recognize, while the avocado is made with beneficial health properties and fat your body can burn as energy and break down. It isn’t just fat that’s the bad guy in our diets; it’s anything that has lots of calories relative to its bulk (aka processed foods).
The American Heart Association claims that the path to good health is a low-fat diet. This may sound good, but I think their emphasis has led some people astray and made the misleading marketing problem worse. There are certain fats that are essential to every cell in your body, which is why they’re called “essential” fatty acids. Your body can’t manufacture essential fats, so they must be consumed in your diet. This kind of (healthy) fat is essential to help your body absorb certain vitamins and nutrients, keep your cell walls strong, protect your heart, and fight inflammation in your body.
2) You are better off to buy full-fat products over “lite”, “non-fat”, “reduced-fat” or “fat free”! More often than not, if a product is labeled with any of the above words, there will be “hidden” chemicals in the product that are more harmful than good. Yes, technically they do have less fat, but since fat gives food lots of flavor, food manufacturers have to add artificial ingredients and chemicals to make the food taste as good. Usually they will make up for the fat with solutions like bad salt (see the differences between good salt and bad salt here), high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch (GMO origins), free glutamates (MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavors), diglycerides (sugar), gums (guar and xanthan) and others. These chemicals mess with your bodies hormones and make losing weight much more difficult! If that’s not reason enough to just eat the regular versions, then just know that usually the “fat-free” products contain more calories and carbs than real foods. But hey, don’t take my word for it, go compare labels yourself and see the difference! Ice cream, cottage cheese, salad dressings, peanut butter, butter, cookies, etc… the list goes on. “Undesirable parts” (traditional fat) are synthetically removed, and replaced with substitutes that have harmful nutritional properties.
3) People gain more fat when they eat “low-fat” diets. “People are basically substituting sugar for fat,” says Marion Nestle, head of the New York University Department of Nutrition. “As people focused on eliminating fat, food marketers came up with fat-free substitutes. But the substitutes they provided were equally as fattening (sugar and chemicals).” Take for instance maltodextrin… Maltodextrin is a common ingredient in low-fat foods and is a “digestible carbohydrate made from rice, corn, or potato starch.” It’s a substance made from hydrolyzed corn starch (usually from genetically modified corn) and may include free glutamates (MSG). Now, it is not technically sugar, but within an hour of eating it, your body will recognize it as sugar and break it down accordingly! Also, some brands of fat-free food contain fat-mimicking chemicals that can cause intestinal cramps, gas, diarrhea, and contribute to weight gain. Doesn’t sound too great, does it? Talk about deception…
4) You are being deceived by “non-fat” “low-fat” marketing. Large companies want one thing – to sell their product. Therefore, the food industry will continue to market “fat-free” foods as healthy alternatives in hopes that their sales continue to increase. These large companies are not looking after your health as their main focus. They’re just happy about the sales increasing from people thinking they can eat twice as much as they did before and not worry about gaining weight. On a side note – and to prove that marketing is not for your health – just because a super-sweet cereal has a seal from the American Heart Association, doesn’t mean it is good for your heart; you can license that seal for a fee. Are you feeling lied to yet? It’s your responsibility to look after your health 🙂
Every year Americans gobble up more processed, low-fat foods, and every year they grow fatter. The low-fat fad must end now.
Large companies will ALWAYS try to market their processed junk food products to appear healthy to the average consumer! They are not concerned about your health as much as they are their bottom line and dollar. They will not spend money to market real fruits and vegetables, because there is not any money in marketing fresh produce. They can’t make it, so they can’t profit from it – make sense?
4 Steps to not be misled or deceived by marketing:
• Limit processed foods and increase whole unprocessed foods. (Common sense I know… so why don’t we do it more, then?) If you have to buy processed foods, stick with the fewest amount of ingredients (not the fewest grams of fat)!
• If it has ingredients you can’t pronounce, don’t buy it!
• If it has more than 5 ingredients, question it.
• If there are any chemicals involved, don’t buy it!
Always remember to drink your greens and stay fresh, people – your health is your responsibility! With so many ingredients being hidden into your food supply, it’s definitely necessary to supplement with pure nutrition you can trust. GREENS! Your health is worth $1.47/day, and you don’t have to worry about greens being advertised as “fat-free”! 😉