It's time to trade in the lightweight layers for something a little tougher...
If you want to cut down on calories and lead a healthy lifestyle, your first thought might be to swap your regular foods for a low-fat alternative.
But hold up!
Low-fat products might not be as healthy as they seem.
First things first, what does low-fat actually mean?
To be able to be classed as ‘low-fat’, foods must contain 3 grams of fat or less.
This is different to reduced fat, which means that the food contains 25% less fat than its full-fat counterpart and fat-free, which requires the food to contain less than 0.5 grams of fat.
All sounds good so far.
Surely if something is lower in fat it’s healthier, right?
Wrong. The truth is that something being low-fat does not necessarily mean that it is better for you.
Low-fat probably means high sugar
Ever wondered how your low-fat yoghurt alternative can contain less than 3 grams of fat and yet still taste pretty good? Well, when a food company takes out the fat, they have to replace it with something else.
More often than not, this replacement will be sugar and refined carbohydrates – two of the biggest causes of weight gain and insulin resistance, which contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.
This can also result in a spike in blood sugar levels, which makes it harder to control cravings and therefore means you’re more likely to go back for seconds (or thirds) of that low-fat biscuit.
Not great if you’re looking at cutting calories.
Check out some of our top tips on how to cut down on sugar here.
Fat is your friend
Fat has a bad rep, but the truth is it is an essential part of all of our diets.
Not only is fat essential when it comes to maintaining healthy blood vessels, but it is also vital in ensuring our hormones and nervous systems are working correctly.
If you’re not getting enough fat in your diet, therefore, although you might think that it is a healthier option, you could actually be missing out on a lot more than calories.
What’s the take away?
Long story short, low-fat foods aren’t bad necessarily. Just as with anything else, in moderation they’re fine.
However, they might not be as healthy as they seem.
To make sure you’re giving your body what it needs, you might be better off opting for unprocessed, whole foods that are naturally low in fat or contain healthy fats.
Do you go for low-fat products over their full-fat counterparts? Let us know in the comments below.