The truth about fat and sugar-free foods

As Jodi Upchurch, a registered dietitian at Advocate Eureka Hospital in Eureka, Ill., notes, “Foods that are fat- or sugar-free simply simply have less than 0.5 grams per serving. The issue then, is that people will eat more than the recommended serving by consuming more fat or sugar than they realize.”

Fat- and sugar-free foods have become increasingly popular as many people turn to them for help achieving their weight loss goals. But it’s important to be aware of what fat- and sugar- free truly means.

Some of the most popular fat-free items include yogurt, mayo, salad dressings and even milk.

Traditional and new technologies provide flavorful, satisfying foods that are reduced in fat or contain no fat, such as salad and cooking oils, cheeses, ice cream, bakery products and salty snacks and crackers.

Risks associated with nonnutritive sweeteners have been widely debated, but scientific evidence does not support the concerns. The good thing about sugar substitutes is that the Food & Drug Administration have regulated these items very strictly.

So, what do you need to know?

“All foods can be included in your diet, but only in moderation,” says Upchurch. Fats have twice as many calories per bite when compared to proteins and carbohydrates, so if weight loss is your goal, then opt for foods that are lower in fat and exercise portion control with all foods. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 30 percent of your diet comes from fat, the majority of which should come from things such as cooking oils, nuts, avocados and fish.

“A healthy diet should be based on the outer aisles of the grocery store,” recommends Upchurch. This means when in doubt, choose fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.

Are you trying to lose weight? Take a free, quick online assessment to learn more about your ideal weight by clicking here.

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