Diet- Marketing Traps
Low fat diets and calorie restricted diets have become increasingly popular over the last decade.
With the increase of these new diets, we have seen an increase in the number of products offering ‘low calorie’ ‘low fat’ or ‘zero fat’ alternatives.
At first glance this may appear to be a great thing ‘I get to drink my favourite fizzy drink without ingesting loads of sugar’, however,what people don’t realise is that what has either replaced the fat in their low fat alternative is sugar (which will be turned into fat by the body) or what has been replaced by the sugar in their low calorie alternative are artificial sweeteners that have potentially very harmful side effects when ingested.
The marketing regulation of these products is also very limited, where a product might call itself ‘low calorie’ it only needs to have lower calories than the original product, but there is not set level as to how much lower it needs to be, so it could just be 1 calorie lower than the original product and then re label itself as a ‘low calorie’ alternative. It is always important to check the label.
Companies add sweeteners to their products to either replace the fat removed from the product or to just make their product more desirable. Many sweeteners have been found to be mildly addictive. Whilst reading the label is a good way of choosing healthy foods, you need to be aware of the other names used for sugars and sweetners. Look out for;
inverted sugar syrup,
high fructose corn starch,
mannitol, xylitol, sorbitol,
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) or E621 – is another flavour enhancer to be wary of. It has been linked to obesity due to its effects on the hypothalamus resulting in an increase in appetite.
Be wary of any product with- yeast extract, hydrolysed protein, whey protein isolate, soy protein isolate and carrageenan. As these can cause the same effects as MSG on the body,
Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial Sweeteners are everywhere now in this ever growing low calorie culture. Everyone wants to eat what they love, guilt free. The problem is you cant simply take the sugar out of your favourite dessert and expect it to taste nice. It still needs to taste sweet so that people will still want to buy it. This is where artificial sweeteners come into play, they add the sweet taste without all the calories. What’s the problem then that sounds great ? Experts have categorised all major sweetners used in the food industry as ‘excitotoxins’ that stimulate the sensory area of the brain triggering cravings and appetite. With an increase in appetite caused by many artificial sweeteners you may actually end up eating the same if not more calories in the day, therefore not actually creating the calorific deficit required to loose weight.
Artificial sweeteners also pose a greater risk to your health than just increasing your cravings.
Health problems associated from ingestion of Artificial Sweeteners include:
- high blood pressure
- aching muscles and dizziness
- shrinking of the thymus gland
- enlargement of liver and kidneys
- decreased red blood cell count
Specific artificial sweeteners to avoid-
- Aspartame (E951)
- Sucralose (E955)
- Acesulfame K (E950)
- Saccharin (E954)
Diet- Marketing Traps