Most of us, when trying to lose weight, turn to "diet foods" such as diet soda, low-fat and/or sugar-free snacks and lower calorie versions of our favorite foods. There is certainly no shortage of these types of food items on the store shelves, and marketing departments would lead us to believe that they are the solution to our weight problem.
However, while the consumption of diet foods has increased steadily over the years, so has the prevalence of obesity in the United States. Despite what we consider to be our best efforts to eat healthfully, our waistlines continue to grow. Recent research has linked diet foods to weight gain. The theory behind this link is that when we perceive the calorie or fat content of a food item to be lower, we are less conscious of how much we are eating and are more likely to overeat.
It is important to remember that sugar-free and fat-free foods are not calorie free and often times these foods are not as satisfying as the real thing so we eat more. Even low-fat and low-sugar foods can lead to weight gain if you exceed your recommended daily calories. Weight control is a delicate balance of calories in versus calories out, no matter whether you are eating a low-fat or full-fat food item.
I'm not suggesting that you stop eating diet versions of your favorite snack foods if you find them satisfying, but it is important to consider them in your overall caloric intake. You should always be aware of how much you are eating. If you sit down with a bag of potato chips and eat directly from the bag you will probably consume more calories than you realize, even if they are baked, because you aren't likely to keep track of how many chips you've eaten.
Try to pay attention to how much you are eating, no matter what kind of food it is. Portion control is a vital tool for weight management. If you know how much you've eaten than it is very easy to calculate how many calories you've eaten and how many more calories you can have for the day.
Published On: August 10, 2007