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.
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):
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:
- The idea that fat-free is a buzz word for marketing of a product that is not healthy.
- 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?