I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately about what is ‘healthy’ and what is not, just to gain an insight into different perspectives. I was quite surprised at the difference in opinion when it came to ‘reduced fat’ products, so I decided to do some research of my own. I personally am not a big fan of food labelled with ‘reduced fat’ but I decided to investigate whether I was justified in this perception.
Reduced fat vs Low Fat
Foods which contain the term “low fat” have to meet certain legal criteria in order to be able to utilise that label. Labels that contain terms such as “reduced fat” do not have to meet such criteria. This can of course become misleading but it is still legal, so of course companies will continue to boost their products and prey on consumers who are seeking so called healthy products.
Realistically by opting for a ‘reduced fat’ product the consumer is obviously hoping to avail of a product that is in fact reduced in fat. This is unfortunately not always the case. Just because a product contains this label, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the healthier option. Below is a guideline for checking the nutritional labels on products.
The reduced fat option simply equates to the product containing less fat than the original. If the original is still high in fat than a product that claims to be 20% – 30% less fat is still realistically going to be fattening. For example: a tub of ice-cream or a jar of mayo which claims to be 25% less fat, is still actually fattening. I seen this ad which actually proves the point perfectly.
It is also really important to note that ‘low fat’ and ‘reduced fat’ options may not actually be low in sugar, salt and calories. It does not automatically make them healthy. In many cases they can contain more sugar and salt in order to compensate.
I think we have become a fat obsessed generation and we are constantly looking for a quick fix. A healthy, balanced diet cannot (unfortunately) be obtained via any quick fixes. I’m the first to admit that I still eat chocolate, pizza and all that lovely, fattening food. However I think that is necessary in order to keep balance. I think recognising this is crucial to weightloss and maintaining your weight. I personally would rather know I am eating something fattening and enjoy it and plan the rest of my meals / snacks accordingly as opposed to fooling myself into thinking I’m eating something healthy when I’m honestly not.
Think Good Fat not Reduced Fat
We need to think ‘good fat’ not ‘reduced fat’ and that is what will make a difference to our success. It is recommended that our diets consist of 30% of fat according to the American Heart Association. For so long we have been told to cut out fat and opt for reduced fat options, but that’s not necessarily ideal. Good fat; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, can benefit your body and are great for lowering cholesterol. These can be found in food such as tuna, salmon and olive oils. Instead of thinking reduced fat, consider the type of fat you’re consuming.
This post is not intended to tell people not to eat ‘reduced fat’ foods, it’s primarily focused on ensuring people are not fooled by fancy labels that will play on their emotions. It is pointless to think we are eating healthy when we are not. No benefits will be gained or results achieved. It is important to know what is in our food and be able to differentiate between genuinely healthy food and those who just have clever marketing teams.
As I said I would rather eat a bar of chocolate and enjoy it then eat something that has hidden fat and calories and think I am being healthy. Just some food for thought 🙂
Until Next Time My Loves