Maybe Fat Free Foods Are Making You Fat

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • You're overweight and all you hear is:

    • Cut the sugar
    • Cut the salt
    • Cut the portions
    • Cut the calories
    • Cut the number of times you eat and snack
    • Cut the treats and desserts
    • Cut the fat

    Hold on a minute....Yes, nutritionists like me want you to consider all these measures as ways to modify your eating habits, so that if you do need to lose weight, it begins to happen healthfully. But there's been a recent movement among some health gurus and expert foodies to substitute fake ingredients to mimic fat, without all the calories and saturated fat or trans fat that sometimes accompanies full fat ingredients. Many of the recipes they offer suggest this ongoing swap in lieu of wholesome foods in their natural state.  I for one have never been in favor of this swap out as an absolute and ongoing way to deal with dieting. I am a firm believer in small occasional full fat treats (not when it comes to trans fat as an ingredient, but certainly with saturated fat) because we all need special decadent treat moments. The problem arises when your daily diet  includes many food choices that all have lots of white sugar and saturated fat and salt. Our bodies were not meant to consume a lot of highly processed foods, and treats in particular need to be special food moments.

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    In order to circumvent those basic healthier rules, food companies and certain so-called food gurus, have tried to create parallel fat free versions of all types of foods. The net result, according to a new study, is that the body senses these "fat substitutes" which are typically chemical, fake ingredients, and wonders, "Where are the calories that typically accompany these creamy tastes?" The body feels confused and according to this one theory, sends out hunger signals so that you eat more food, in an effort to find the missing calories. There may even be internal, chemical changes because of the body's confusion and the development of more circulating fatty acids and the formation of more fatty tissue. Currently the studies that discovered these findings were performed on rats, so experts can't be sure that's exactly what's going on in people.

     

    It does make you stop and consider that "going fake" as in fake fats and fake sugar, may make some people crave the real deal, or even upset certain chemical balances, causing a slower metabolic rate or other "fat preserving" efforts physiologically in the body. It's one thing to use less oil or to choose healthier oils and use them sparingly. It's a whole other approach to constantly try and make fat free versions of high fat foods. In some instances, like substituting applesauce or apple butter for most of the oil in a brownie recipe, it's a lovely and healthy alternative. But in the case of choosing a chemical-based whipped topping in lieu of real cream, in order to eat lots of it quite often, it may be a poor choice. You shouldn't be eating a lot of "fake creams" in general. If you crave it that often, there are other ongoing issues, maybe a food relationship gone awry.

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    We have become accustomed to high fat, high sugar, high salt foods and snacks. It is really hard to shift your tastes after a consistent diet filled with these foods. According to this research, occasionally deciding to swap out the fat for a substitute is OK, but deciding to fill your diet with chemicals that mimic the taste of fat may ultimately have you gaining instead of losing weight.

Published On: December 09, 2011