BUSTED: Foods Labelled ‘Low Fat’ or ‘Reduced Fat’ Are Always A Healthy Choice

Foods kept in the stores are labelled to provide people with information on the nutrient content available in them. This helps the consumers to identify the healthier food options for them.

However, it is not sure whether these labels contain the correct information or not. The nutrient quantity on the label is usually not precise.

What are Healthy Fats and Bad Fats?

Even though the body needs both saturated and unsaturated fats, the diet should consist of mainly unsaturated fatty acids because they have found to be more effective in maintaining the weight of a person.

Unsaturated fats also contain the good cholesterol or the high density lipoprotein. This HDL is good for health because it reduces the risk of various heart related problems, some of them being the coronary heart disease and diabetes.

This is the reason why unsaturated fats are also knows as the ‘good fats’ and the saturated fats are considered as the ‘bad fats’.

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fats. The processed food considered to be low in fat may contain trans fats.

How is Low Fat Food produced?

To produce the low fat food, the oils present in the natural food items are processed to alter them.

Hydrogenation is a process used in food processing. It is used in converting the vegetable oils, which are a form of unsaturated fats into saturated fats or solid fats.

Are Fats Always Unhealthy?

Foods that contain natural saturated fats are not harmful to health even if taken in higher than the normal amount. They should be an important part of the diet. A diet which contains low-fat items does not allow people to consume these healthy fats.

Studies show that fats, if consumed in a proper way, can actually be good for health. Omega-3 fatty acids have been proved to be beneficial to the health of a person. It helps to prevent various health problems and can even cure some diseases.

Saturated fats have a number of health benefits. Replacing them with unsaturated fats to produce low-fat products has severe disadvantages. It ruins the vitamins present in the food item and may even lead to the formation of toxic compounds.

Mono-unsaturated fats are beneficial for health because it decreases the level of bad cholesterol and improves the metabolism of people suffering from diabetes.

The healthy fats are present in natural foods such as seeds, fish, nuts and olives along with other items. These should not be avoided.

What Adverse Effects Do Low Fat Food Have On Our Body?

Manufacturers usually replace the fat present in foods with wheat to convert them into low fat foods. This could pose a problem for people constituting a high population of the world.

This is because wheat contains gluten, which has been found to cause various types of reactions in individuals who consume these foods. This is known as gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy.

People tend to consume a larger portion size of the snacks which have ‘low fat’ on their labels as compared to the regular snacks. Since the mentioned fat content is not accurate, it interferes with people’s efforts to lose weight and further discourage them.

Food which is considered to be low in fat may contain a high amount of salt. This means that the sodium content in these foods may be much higher than their normal counterparts.

This can be harmful to health as the amount of any mineral above an optimum level can cause many health risks. It is suggested that people check the sodium content on labels before purchasing such food items.

Similar to this, the foods labelled ‘low fat’ may contain an increased amount of sugar. When the fat content is reduced, the taste is hampered.

Manufacturers add sugar in order to compensate for this lost flavour. Also, a high sugar level would mean that the calorie content has not been reduced.

A study compared the caloric content present in some snacks with the content mentioned on their labels. It was found that the amount of calories in the foods were higher than the amount mentioned. Even the energy levels were found to be increased in the food.

How To Avoid Low Fat Food In Diet?

A study was conducted to compare the effects of a high protein and low carbohydrate diet with a low fat diet.

It was found that the people who included high protein and low carbohydrate containing foods in their diet had a significant reduction in their Body Mass Index as compared to low fat diet. Also, they were found to have an improved metabolism along with loss of fat.

Instead of controlling the intake of fat in the diet, people should reduce the amount of carbohydrates consumed.

A diet consisting of fewer carbohydrates has been found to reduce the risk of health problems such as metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease along with other diseases.

Triglycerides are the stored in the body in the form of body fat. A high level of triglycerides can be bad for health as it may lead to many health problems. The low fat food contains a high amount of carbohydrates.

When this carbohydrate reached the body, the excess carbohydrate is turned into fat and is stored in the body in the form of triglycerides. It can also be found in the blood.

Triglycerides are unhealthy because they have been found to be linked with diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis (build up of fats on the walls of the arteries), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), obesity and other metabolic health problems.

Conclusion

The health claims on the label of foods mentioning the low amount of fat present in them has been found to contain almost the same amount of fat as the regular food items.

The reduced fat and calorie content was found to be very small and insignificant. This does not help people in losing or maintaining their weight.

Consumers are usually misled by food manufacturers. They bring these low fat foods to attract more health-conscious people. It’s just a way of advertising and marketing their products.

Here are some tips for a healthy diet without avoiding good fats:

  • Small portions of different types of food items should be included in the diet. This would allow all the nutrients to be present in the diet.
  • Healthy natural food such as fruits and vegetables should be consumed instead of chemically processed food.
  • The number of calories present in the low-fat food items should be counted. This is because these foods may contain a high amount of sugar and salt in place of fats.
  • The diet should consist of saturated fats or good fats rather than trans fats.
  • Low carbohydrate diet should be promoted as it is healthy and causes more weight loss than the low fat diet. Also, it has various health benefits.

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