Fat-Free Products: Are They What You Want To Eat?

Fat Free!  Fat Free!  Fat Free!

All the commercials and advertisements are screaming FAT FREE.  I see it all over Instagram and Facebook and just about anywhere else you look but what is amazing to me is the lack of thought as to how a certain food is fat-free.  I take my biggest issues with products like mayo, yogurt and cheese but these aren’t the only ones.  Take a look at chips and cookies and those ‘diet’ boxes of ‘food’ with the label fat-free.  Dairy products just happen to be the ones that make me shake my head when they are labeled fat-free.

 Fat Free Products: Are They What You Want To Eat?

Fat Free? Not Naturally It Isn’t As Mayo Is Made From Eggs And Oils.

Do you know what is in mayo or yogurt?  In mayo there is oil and eggs……that’s it.  You know what is in oil and eggs?  FAT.  How about yogurt?  Ever read the ingredients list on yogurt that is not fat-free?  There is milk in yogurt so guess what there is FAT in milk and thus in yogurt.

So you want a fat-free mayo, or fat-free yogurt or funniest of all fat-free cheese?  Guess what you have to do to it?  You have to put it through a process that extracts fat and guess what gets to replace that fat?  SUGAR which will eventually make you fat if you don’t pay attention.

Yesterday I posted about how my body fat percentage has gone down quite a bit in the last three months and I did not do this buy eating foods labeled fat free.  I did this with a wise diet that supports my daily activities.  I also eat fat and while I am not sure if it is ‘a lot’ of fat I can tell you I am not on the fat free diet.  I eat eggs, avocados, nuts and coconut.  Eggs and nuts are consumed on a daily basis and they contain fat or what is considered to be a healthy fat.

I looked back at my daily food log for the past week and I average approximately 85g of fat per day and on the day with the long bike ride I consumed 146g of Fat.  For each gram of fat that I consume that is equivalent to 9 calories but even then the percentage of calories is (on average) no more than 35%.  Yes, 35% of my calories may come from fat on any given day and yet my body fat percentage is shrinking.  Why?  It’s because the only fat-free food I eat is a vegetable.

If you look at the box or can that says fat-free and you look at the ingredients list you will be shocked, or at least I hope you would be, by what is actually in that product.

Let’s take a look at a product I would have consumed quite a bit of as a kid and even as an adult.  Fig Newtons.  I love figs as they are a naturally sweet tasting fruit that contains fat.

Here is the ingredient list for Fig Netwons:

Ingredients: ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), FIGS PRESERVED WITH SULFUR DIOXIDE, CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, WHEY (FROM MILK), PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, SALT, BAKING SODA, CALCIUM LACTATE, MALIC ACID, SOY LECITHIN (EMULSIFIER), POTASSIUM SORBATE ADDED TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

Here is the ingredient list for Fat Free Fig Newtons (I have bolded the different ingredients):

 Fat Free Products: Are They What You Want To Eat?

Fat Free Fig Newtons That Has Fat? Confused? Me Too!

Ingredients: UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), FIGS, SUGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, GLYCERIN, WHEY (FROM MILK), SALT, SOY LECITHIN*, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), CALCIUM LACTATE, SODIUM BENZOATE AND SULFUR DIOXIDE ADDED TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, MALIC ACID, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CORNSTARCH. *ADDS A TRIVIAL AMOUNT OF FAT. CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK, SOY, SULFITES.

Honestly, I was getting so confused that I had to stop trying to figure it out.  What I highlighted in red is to point out how the same ingredients are being used in different amounts.  An ingredient list shows what is used the most at the start and the least at the end.  And did you notice that the soy lecithin comes with a disclaimer that it adds a trivial amount of fat to the fat-free list?  So not truly fat-free after all?

Dried Figs have 1g of Fat or 9 calories out of an approximate serving size of 371 calories.  The issue isn’t the fat but how the body treats the fat.  You see we are built to handle nature’s fat, such as what is in an actual fig.  We, however, are not built to handle fat from ingredients that were hatched in a lab.  There is a difference, and a major one at that.

If you are looking to lose weight then eat fat free, but eat fruits and vegetables and not the marketing trick being employed by ‘food’ manufacturer’s all over the world.  As a matter of fact take a look at this article regarding fat free cookies.  I stumbled across this while searching for the ingredients in a fat-free cookie.  This post is from the NY Times and it caught my eye for two reasons:

  1. The idea that fat-free is a buzz word for marketing of a product that is not healthy.
  2. There is not a discussion about how they are removing fat from products like Devil’s Food Cookies but instead how to incorporate cookies into a healthy diet.

I am not saying that you cannot indulge once in a while as you should but be smart about it.  Ignore the fat-free labels and instead make a cookie at home that has fat in it from nuts or coconut oil and that will fit into your healthy diet very well.  Not sure how to make a single cookie for yourself, well here is a recipe for you that is simple and quick and yields one cookie with fat.

Have You Tried The Fat Free Diets?  Results?

Do You Pay Attention To The Ingredients List On Fat Free Products?

 

 

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Comments

  1. lindsay says:

    fat-free, sugar-free, salt-free… you’ve got to be dumb(*) to think this crap is healthy! “-free” just means “filled with other crap you don’t need either”.

    (*) my own family members fall prey to this and i make fun of them too haha.
    lindsay recently posted..Pain in the Rear: A DiagnosisMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I say the same thing but the marketing is so persuasive and as a society we are fairly lazy so we just accept what is written instead of doing the research.

      I would love to help people understand and read labels so they can see what they are putting into their bodies.

  2. Jen says:

    I fell victim to this for years and I actually wasn’t a dumb(*) – I battled obesity for a good part of my life and believed the nutritionist, WW leaders, marketers, friends and family who told me I was fat because I ate too much fat – many told me to substitute with fat free products and I believed the hype. I sacrificed taste, constantly felt guilty, battled depression and felt shame because of my struggles. When I made a “good” “healthy” choice to have a small bowl of fat free ice cream when everyone else was enjoying birthday cake at a party or I dragged along my fat free cheese to a BBQ, I thought I was doing the ‘healthy’ thing, even though I was miserable. I was saving 10 grams of fat and 80 calories with that choice alone! Everyone would marvel, “wow you are being so good.” I know it sounds nuts now but I through and through believed this was healthy. I believed that the government wouldn’t allow foods to be made and called healthy if they weren’t. Hardy, had, had, har.

    And I did lose some weight on these products mainly thru the simple math of calories in and out – I never really kept it off because these fake foods aren’t foods you can live on. But then I would beat myself up for “slipping back.” See. The real mayo is making me fat. (Yes it might be – but now I’ll use salsa or avocado instead of real or fake mayo as example.)

    I am happy that I’ve evolved. I appreciate that I found running because that’s when food/fuel etc, really clicked for me. Many overweight people still cling on to thinking that if they eat fat free or artificial sweeteners it’s better for them. I see it everyday. It’s almost a brainwashing that happens. Go to any Weight Watcher meeting – everyone is bragging about how they saved points by switching to 0 calorie spray butter or using Splenda instead of sugar – and then they get a gold star for making “healthy changes.”
    Jen recently posted..The Ultimate Beginner’s Running Guide: The Key To Running Inspired reviewMy Profile

    • Jen says:

      PS: I’m not bagging on WW – I lost 100 pounds with them and they offer a “simply filling” program option that promotes “whole foods’ and that really helped me get healthy.
      Jen recently posted..The Ultimate Beginner’s Running Guide: The Key To Running Inspired reviewMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I know that the marketing is powerful and on top of that it is all around us. Lots of clutter to cut through to find a real solution.

      What clicked that made you say: I’m done with the yo-yo of ups and downs? How do we market that concept so people get educated as that is the key to getting healthier.

      Look at me and my body fat post. I would not have called myself unhealthy but I really was skinny fit/fat and have dropped 10 pounds from my frame in 3 months and feel stronger than ever and that is because I educated myself.

      It can’t be that it is just because I care and that those that struggle don’t.

  3. Jen says:

    I lost the majority of my weight with all those products and still used many when I first started running. As I got more into running, I got more into making whole food choices that supported me for fuel – I started to do my own ‘nutritional’ research. I began to learn that stuff in the yellow packets weren’t so innocent. I began questioning the chemicals and shunning the marketing. I began thinking, why did I quit smoking to omit those chemicals but was ingesting them in the forms of fake foods. It took a lot to undo the years of belief I had built. I saw a few key documentaries, I read a few amazing articles and books – I got super angry at how stupid/brain-washed I was. But it’s everywhere and it was easy to fall victim to!

    The knowledge is starting to get out there but I swear to you, hand to God, I believed all the BS when I thought:

    My light english muffin with eggbeaters and ff cheese was a healthy breakfast.

    My yoplait 99% ff yogurt with an apple was a good snack

    My deli select (50 calories 0 fat per serving) honey ham on my “light bread” with “light mayo” topped with tomato and lettuce, with a side of baked chips, a few grapes and a diet coke – was a good lunch.

    My ‘laughing cow cheese” with orange was a good snack.

    My sprayed with 0 calorie fake butter broccoli and sweet potato with a little piece of grilled chicken was a good dinner. (not a bad dinner if you lose the fake butter)

    And of course my Weight Watcher ice cream sandwich another good snack.

    That day came well within my “WW points” I had my five servings of fruits and veggies and my servings of “dairy” I was golden. My leader would celebrate this kind of day – and I’m telling you that women everywhere is having this exact day in the quest of ‘good health.’

    I don’t know how to change this. I recommend to friends they watch doc films like “Hungry For Change” or read articles like the recent one from The New Yorker. But it’s hard and it takes someone being really open to the information.
    Jen recently posted..The Ultimate Beginner’s Running Guide: The Key To Running Inspired reviewMy Profile

  4. Ashley Brown says:

    In my opinion, beside going for FAT free products, start eating organic food. Cut off junk and sweets from your diet. Start eating organic food and drink water as much you can. use almonds for required fats. I personally will not recommend such products.

  5. roll roof says:

    Can you tell us more about this? I’d like to find out more details.
    roll roof recently posted..roll roofMy Profile

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