Low Fat Food

Most people think that foods labeled "low fat" help with weight loss. But in reality, the main thing that low-fat foods shrink is inhibition. Here’s what really happens when people are faced with the low-fat label:

1. Calorie blindness: Most people ate 28% more M&M’s when they were labeled "low fat," not "regular." Overweight people consumed nearly 50% more calories.

2. Portion distortion: People believed that an appropriate serving size for low-fat food was 25% larger than the full-fat version.

3. Guilt evaporation: When people saw low-fat labels on usually fatty granola, the guilt factor went away, so they ate it up. (Guilt isn’t always bad; it can help control your appetite.)

Simply knowing the right way to read a food label can help you make smart choices and maintain a healthy weight:
  • Check the serving size. Portion-size games mean you must read that part of the label.
  • Look at all the other information. Some convenience foods (which you really shouldn’t be eating) are labeled according to the “as packaged” calories and don’t include additional ingredients required to prepare the dish.
  • Follow the rule of 5s. If a food has a saturated or trans fat, a simple sugar, a syrup, or any grain that isn’t 100% whole grain in the first five ingredients, throw it out. Remember that anything in parentheses on the ingredients list doesn’t count as an additional item -- it just refers to the item before it.
If you really want to lose weight, stick with the original low-fat foods: fruit and vegetables.