Which is best for weight loss: ‘lite’, ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat free’?

Lite, low-fat, fat free - Which is best for weight loss? - Women's Health & Fitness

None. They may seem like free passes to the food fair, but don’t be fooled by the dearth of calories. In another twist of ‘that doesn’t make sense’, those ‘lite’ and ‘diet’ foods could cause kilo creep, says accredited practising dietitian Jenny Craig and Medical Advisory Board member Karen Inge.

Lite and Low fat

“Low fat does not necessarily mean it’s good for your waistline. Many low-fat products are actually high in sugar, which can make them high in kilojoules…the high sugar levels of these foods outweigh the benefits of them being low fat,” she says.

Nutritionist and WH&F writer Amanda Powell (healthyyumyum.com.au) warns that the missing fat from low-fat or fat-free foods is often compensated for with sugar, which not only pulls the on-lever for the blood sugar rollercoaster, it promotes a tidal wave of insulin that inhibits fat burning and may promote storage of food as flab.


‘Sugar-free’ and ‘zero calorie’ products are similarly sneaky. To keep calorie counts seductively low, fat and regular sugar are usually replaced with artificial sweeteners, which have been shown to promote overeating by confusing the body and giving it a taste for ultra-sweet treats. A 2008 study found that rats fed a diet of yoghurt mixed with artificial sweetener saccharin actually gained more weight than rats given the same amount of yoghurt mixed with glucose. What’s more, dominant artificial sweetener aspartame has been labelled a neurotoxin by some health professionals.

Next: Find out your ideal weight, browse healthy recipes and choose an eating plan.

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