In an effort to “eat healthy” and lose weight, we as consumers, are very conscious of foods that appear healthier. Labels proclaim “sugar free” or “fat free” to grab the attention of people looking for a way to save calories. But which is better, no sugar or no fat?
Probably neither. Ideally, we want to cut back on unhealthy fats and reduce our sugar intake but packaged foods that promote claims of “sugar free” or “fat free” aren’t really providing a benefit. Calories might be lower but not necessarily. If you choose fat free peanut butter in an effort to cut back on fat, you’ll find it has the same number of calories, a little less fat, more sugar, less protein and a lot of fillers. BLEH!! The best choice here would be to choose a natural peanut (the kind where the oil comes to the top) without hydrogenated fat and no added sugar. You might notice a difference at first but you’ll probably find that you’re not as addicted to it and less likely to eat out of the jar!
Another temptation with low fat/low sugar claims is that we justify eating junk. “Low fat oreos, great! Bring it on and I’ll feel less guilty about my snack.” Have you told yourself that? Or maybe for you salt addicts, “Chips with no cholesterol, yes!! Less guilt while I sit and munch while watching a movie.”
Remind yourself that the goal isn’t just about weight loss. It’s about getting and staying healthy, feeling better and having more energy. Right?
It’s always best to cut back on processed foods, even if they are low sugar or low fat. It’s best to cut back on processed foods period! Stay out of those middle aisles! Instead choose foods that are naturally low sugar and lower in fat while selecting healthy fats. These would include fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, lean meat and fish, avocados, nuts, fatty fish and whole grains. Check the label for added preservatives, chemicals, salt and sugar.
The more foods you eat that grow in the ground, spoil when they aren’t refrigerated/frozen (meaning they don’t have preservatives in them) and aren’t packaged up are best! So don’t be tempted by the “free” claims because that doesn’t always mean it’s the best. If you need some ideas or direction in eating a healthy diet, contact me!
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