Low-Fat, Processed Foods Are No Good For Us - Here's Why

How Low Fat Makes You Grow Fat

Why evidence is mounting that a ‘low-fat’ diet is no good for us

One of the most important pieces of advice we have for anyone interested in maintaining a good diet and healthy lifestyle is to keep your food shopping to the perimeter of your local supermarket.  Do this and you will find yourself buying foods that are largely natural in their origin and which are therefore free of the additives and refined sugars we most want to avoid.

But what if you can’t resist it?  What if the siren call of the centre aisles proves irresistible?  Well, then.  Tread carefully, dear friend.  Think before you buy, and don’t make the fatal assumption that simply because a product dresses itself as ‘low-fat’, it must be good for you.  All too often, the opposite is true.

Even though they are marketed as a healthy eating option, a large proportion of the low-fat foods we find on the shelves of our supermarket are little better for us (and in many cases worse) than the full fat option next to it.  This is not only because animal fats may have been replaced with hydrogenated fats (which increase levels of dangerous trans-fats in our food) but because low fat foods will almost certainly include increased amounts of sugar.

Why? The answer has to do with taste. When low-fat foods first began to hit our supermarket aisles, manufacturers were faced with one, overriding problem: the low-fat food options, saturated in hydrogenated fats, were essentially tasteless! If low-fat foods were to become popular, this was a problem that had to be overcome. The easy answer was to increase the sugar content in these foods.

Several recent surveys, conducted in the UK, have highlighted the full extent of this problem. One study, released by Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ team, found that low fat foods contain an average 20% more sugar than their full fat equivalents and that they can increase the risk of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and even depression!

This remarkable finding is supported by research conducted by The Daily Telegraph in the UK, which studied 100 popular low or nonfat grocery items found in major supermarkets.  Their findings were shocking, to say the least.  Not only did dozens of these items contain at least two teaspoons of sugar in a single serving, but one in four products contained more than three teaspoons!

Clearly, such high levels of sugar should be avoided, especially considering the World Health Organisation’s recommendation that we should consume as little as 25 grams (six teaspoons) of sugar per day.  With many sugars occurring naturally in our foods (and especially in the fruit we eat) highly refined and processed foods, packed with additional sugar, are something we might want to steer clear of.

So, next time you find yourself stuck in the centre aisles of your supermarket and that easy-to-cook, low-fat meal option begins to sing its siren song?  Take the time, at least, to read the ingredients label.  Check how much sugar is in the product.  It’s highly likely you’ll find yourself hastily returning it to the shelf.

This blog post was written for educational purposes only. It is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure. For individual health concerns, The Organic Skin Co. recommends that you consult with a relevant health professional.