Supermarket shelves are full of so-called "diet foods". We can easily find low-fat cereals, cookies, milk, ice cream, almost anything you can imagine. Food manufacturers take a food, reformulate it into a low-fat version, and market it as a "diet food." But do these foods help you lose weight or are you putting on weight?

Thirty or forty years ago, low-fat reformulated foods were almost unknown. Food was simpler then; derived from plants, fish, birds and animals. If someone from the past could walk through a modern grocery store, they would be amazed at the incredible variety of "food" in the store. Unfortunately, they wouldn't recognize many of the products as food (and maybe we shouldn't either).

That has changed Well, many things, some good, some not so good. First, the food science industry has improved in food preservation and packaging, so we can spend less time searching, preparing, and eating food. Arguably this is a very good thing, as not many families can have someone at home all day who has the primary responsibility for making sure that all family members are well fed. In this busy world of daily work, we increasingly need something quick and easily accessible to eat. We now have plenty of foods to choose from that we can eat on the go - fast, easy, and not too expensive, whether it's at the grocery store or at a nearby restaurant.

Diet foods: low in fat, low in calories, or low in carbohydrates

Diet foods can be low in fat, low in calories, or low in carbohydrates. In general, however, when a food is advertised as a dietary food, it is low in fat or low in calories. Finding good low-carb foods is a little more difficult, although some are available at most grocery stores. When the Atkins diet was all the rage, low carb options began to emerge, but now low carb options are harder to find, and some stores have completely phased out their low carb shelves.

So what's wrong with the particular low fat diet? Added sugar. When you remove fat from a food, you also remove a lot of flavor. To compensate for that loss of flavor, sugar is added.

To qualify for a reduced fat label, a product must contain 25% less fat than the original. That's not much, and when you add fat-replacing sugar, your diet will likely be sabotaged. What's worse than the calories in that food is that the sugar will make you feel hungrier, due to the effect that sugar consumption has on your insulin level.

So the bottom line is that you cut 25% of the fat, but if you add more calories in the form of sugar, you probably want to eat again soon. Check labels carefully to see if sugar has been added to low-fat foods,

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Diet foods: are they making you fat?