The truth about fat and sugar-free foods

The truth about fat and sugar-free foods

Fat- and sugar-free foods have become increasingly popular as many people turn to them for help achieving their weight loss goals. But it’s important to be aware of what fat and sugar free truly means.

As Jodi Upchurch, a registered dietitian at Advocate Eureka Hospital in Eureka, Ill., notes, “Foods that are fat or sugar free simply have less than 0.5 grams per serving. The issue then, is that people will eat more than the recommended serving by consuming more fat or sugar than they realize.”

Some of the most popular fat-free items include yogurt, mayo, salad dressings and even milk.

Traditional and new technologies provide flavorful, satisfying foods that are reduced in fat or contain no fat, such as salad and cooking oils, cheeses, ice cream, bakery products and salty snacks and crackers.

So, what do you need to know?

“All foods can be included in your diet, but only in moderation,” says Upchurch. Fats have twice as many calories per bite when compared to proteins and carbohydrates, so if weight loss is your goal, then opt for foods that are lower in fat and exercise portion control with all foods. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 30% of your diet comes from fat, the majority of which should come from things such as cooking oils, nuts, avocados and fish.

“A healthy diet should be based on the outer aisles of the grocery store,” recommends Upchurch.

This means when in doubt, choose fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.

Are you trying to lose weight? Take a free, quick online assessment to learn more about your ideal weight by clicking here.

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  1. I have found that fat free foods often have more sugar and sugar free foods often have more fat.

  2. I’m less concerned with a trivial amount of fat (honestly, at less than 0.5 grams per serving, even if you ate 10 servings it would only be 5 grams of fat or sugar) and more concerned with the amount of chemical GARBAGE they put in these items. Fat doesn’t make you fat and 5 grams of sugar is just over a teaspoon. Chemicals that you can’t metabolize or make use of that sit in your cells and increase your chemical burden are a MUCH larger issue. Stop eating fake food = problem solved.

  3. Helen, I have also seen this in some cases. You are already a savvy consumer reading those food labels!

  4. T, I certainly do not disagree with you. However, for someone following a therapeutic diet for heart disease or diabetes, even these “trivial” amounts could make a difference in their disease management.
    Filling your shopping cart from the outer aisles of the grocery store will help you minimize the artificial ingredients in your food.
    Most importantly, remember that food is meant to be enjoyed and moderation is the key.

  5. T, totally agree! These fat free/sugar free foods shouldn’t exist. People just need to maintain portion control. The key to maintaining a healthy weight/healthy diet is calories in calories out….

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.