Supermarket shelves are lined with countless low-fat products, but consumers should be wary and read their labels carefully. Many of those low-fat treats are highly processed and filled with added sugars to compensate for the removal of fat. According to an article on Healthline.com, a cup of low-fat yogurt has 47 grams of sugar, much more than similar-sized servings of ice cream and most sodas.1 Additionally, topping a salad with sugar-laden, fat-free dressing will spike blood sugar and ultimately increase hunger levels faster, meaning you’ll probably end up eating just as much (or more) than you would have eaten had you picked a less processed, balanced meal.2
One study measured a handful of regular foods, as well as their corresponding low-fat and fat free versions, to see how sugar content varied. Of the four categories that were tested— dairy; meats, fish, and poultry; baked goods; and fats, oils, and salad dressings—all four had higher average sugar contents than their regular counterparts.3 If you follow a low-fat diet, skip the processed low-fat foods and be sure to fill your plate with naturally low-fat, minimally processed foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Minimize oil intake by steaming, boiling, or oven roasting your foods instead of pan frying or sauteeing with oil.
1. Spritzler F, RD, CDE. Healthline. 10 Low-fat foods that are actually bad for you. 27 June 2016. https://www. healthline.com/nutrition/10-unhealthy-low-fat-foods. Accessed 1 May 2018.
2. Migala J. Health (site). 9 low fat foods you shouldn’t eat. 15 Jan 2015. http://www.health.com/food/9-low-fat- foods-you-shouldn-t-eat. Accessed 1 May 2018.
3. Nguyen PK, Lin S, Heidenreich P. A systematic comparison of sugar content in low-fat vs. regular versions of food. Nutr Diabetes. 2016 Jan;6(1):3193. Accessed 1 May 2018. NHR