Weight Loss Diet Myths Debunked

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • Did you know that you could be gaining weight by eating too many low calorie snacks?


    Many people only snack on fat free or reduced calorie snacks thinking this is the best way to lose weight. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular myths.



    #1 Myth: Reduced fat is “healthy!”


    This is not necessarily the case. Very often foods that carry a "low fat" label are actually high in sugar, and salt, as well as other ingredients. These extras are added to help improve the flavor and texture after the fat has been removed.


    Alternatively the food may have been very high in fat to begin with, and a 25% reduction in fat is enough to make the product “healthy.” In actual fact, it may be better to consume the regular version of some foods in a smaller portion, rather than the low fat option.

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    #2 Myth: "Low fat" is "low calorie"


    The terms "fat" and "calorie" can get confusing, and many people believe they are the same, however, this is not the case.


    In an attempt to make lower fat foods taste better, as mentioned above, manufacturers often add extra sugar, or other refined carbohydrates. The result is that many so-called low fat foods are higher in calories than regular foods.


    #3 Myth: "Zero fat" is good for you


    This is not necessarily true. The body does in fact need some fat sources to function properly. However, it is a good idea to limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet to protect your heart and prevent weight gain, but it’s not necessary to completely avoid fat.


    #4 Myth: You can eat an unlimited amount of "low fat" foods


    Low fat foods can have a place in a well balanced diet, but as with most things, moderation is the key!


    It’s a good idea to check out the nutritional food label, so that you’re aware of just how much fat or calories you’re consuming.


    Manufacturers often recommend smaller serving sizes on low fat food labels. If you consistently consume more than the suggested serving on the label, you may be just as well eating a normal, or smaller sized portion of the regular food.


    How to choose healthier snacks


    Opt for foods that don't contain too much fat, sugar, or salt, and look out for those that provide you with more calcium, fibre, vitamins and minerals.


    Take a look at food labels, and try to choose those containing:

    · Fat content up to 3 grams per 100 grams

    · Sugar content up to 2 grams per 100 grams

    · Sodium up to 0.1 grams per 100g



    When checking out the food label, examine the calorie and fat content per 100 grams, rather than per serving. This will give a more accurate picture, particularly if you normally eat more than the suggested serving size.


    Snack on whole foods


    Try to snack on whole, fresh foods whenever possible. This way you’ll benefit from the extra vitamins, minerals, and fibre etc, which you rarely get from more "synthetic" foods, such as crackers and chips.


    Healthy snacks include, fresh fruit, veggies, unsalted nuts, mixed seeds, air popped popcorn, and natural yoghurt.


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    What are your heart healthy snacks ideas?


    Melanie Thomassian is a dietitian and author of Dietriffic.com, an online resource for credible healthy eating tips for busy people.

Published On: April 09, 2008