Nutrition myths: Fat-free’s dirty little secret
‘Fashionable Nutrition Myths' is a series of articles devoted to debunking some of the bad science that is currently being propagated in the world of diet, nutrition and weight loss ...
Fat-free’s dirty little secret
The labels on the supermarket shelves scream at you as you walk by. They all seem to be labelled for your benefit, proclaiming things like 'GMO-free', 'low-carb' and 'sugar-free'.
These labelling practices are there to help SALES, not you. They are often TECHNICALLY true, but actually, represent a subtle bending of the truth, or are just a misleading representation of the bigger picture.
Possibly the marketing claim that hurts dieters the most is 'fat-free'
So many foods carry this label. Yoghurt, milk, cheese, sweets, and others all letting you know that the contents are free of any fat. So what's wrong with that? Let's look at two examples to find out.
Fat-free milk is the same as cocoa-free chocolate.
Milk naturally contains fat. Taking it out makes the milk unstable. So what do they do? Replace the fat with chemicals, that's what. So on a dairy label, 'fat-free' means 'contains weird chemicals'.
Marshmallows are fat-free because there is no fat in there, to begin with!
They are made almost entirely from sugar and gelatin. Neither of these is a fat, hence the fat-free claim. But that’s like saying 'purple-free' on a tin of white paint. It's an obvious and not very helpful statement... right?
Beware of misleading labels.
Dieters see the 'fat-free' label and eat the whole bag of marshmallows thinking they're healthy. But they have actually just eaten a whole bunch of sugar that is likely to be stored as fat anyway.
The issue here is not whether fat is good or bad for you
The issue is that you need to decide what you want to eat and don't be fooled by marketing hype.
Understand your food, read your labels, and most importantly realise that you shouldn't be eating too many foods that need labels anyway. You don't need a 'fat-free' sticker on broccoli to know it is good for you, not so?