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AboutKerry McLeod, PSHFC (Practitioner in the Science of Healthy Food Choices), is eBrandAid.com’s chief “Brand Doctor.” Kerry became a professional label reader and expert brand selector after making the major transformation from chocolate-chomping, junk-food junkie to author, Sports Nutrition Certified Instructor, wife and mother.
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It’s the Catch-22 of dieting. In a desperate attempt to lose weight, you stock your cupboards with low-fat packaged foods. Weeks later your scale is telling you that you’ve GAINED a few pounds. So, you go out and buy even more low-fat foods and the weight gain cycle continues.
A good rule to live and diet by: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! After reading today’s Label Lesson, you’ll want to apply this rule to most packaged foods that are labeled low-fat or even fat-free.
The Food Sleuths here at eBrandAid.com are taking a bite out of this “low-fat” scam. Read on for the details.
The lower-fat versions of packaged foods like cookies, cakes and crackers often sound like healthier alternatives. It turns out that food manufacturers frequently compensate for the lack of fat by adding in more sugar, salt, and thickeners. Sure it boosts flavor and adds texture, but it’s a ploy that merely substitutes one or more junk ingredients for another.
It really bites, but low-fat varieties usually hit you with about the same number of calories.
Case in point:
Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies - Regular vs. Reduced Fat
Decoding the Fine Print
Serving Size: 33g, 160 cals, total fat 8g (sat. fat 2.5g), sodium 110mg, sugar 11g, protein 2g
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Semisweet Chocolate Chips (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin - An Emulsifier), Sugar, Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda, Ammonium Phosphate), Salt, Whey (From Milk), Natural And Artificial Flavor, Caramel Color.
Serving Size: 32g, 140 cals, total fat 5g (sat. fat 2g), sodium 150, sugar 11g, protein 2g
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