This is something that comes up every year, in fact this is something that both myself and a lot of other coaches in the fitness industry often get frustrated over. LOW FAT FOODS.
Now, I’m not talking about your standard one ingredient fruit and veg low fat foods, those are the good ones and we will keep them out of this. We are looking at those foods that you see all over the supermarket shouting out 0% FAT, FAT FREE, DIET, LOSE FAT, SLIMMER YOU and all these sorts of things. What is the big problem with fat? I’m talking dietary fat. We need fat to live, to survive and to prosper. In short, fat regulates our hormonal system meaning that the body is primed to be healthy, primed to actually live day to day, and primed to burn body fat! Fat is used as a fuel and can help with the neurological signalling to the brain, meaning that you are more alert and able to think and function better. Do you still think that fat is a bad thing?
Having just discussed the reasons why we need fat in our diet, lets now take a look at these “low fat” foods…. The thing I ask myself is why have these companies taken vital fat out of our daily foods? The answer, is marketing! It is common knowledge that low fat sells, but what isn’t advertised is what these diet foods do to our health in the long run.
If we take a look at a typical ingredient list of a fat free strawberry yogurt, marketed to be amazingly healthy you will notice that they have replaced fat with some unhealthy ingredients:
Yogurt, Strawberry 12% (ONLY 12% STRAWBERRY!?!), Fructose Syrup (SUGAR!), Gelatine, Modified Maize Starch, Colour: Anthocyanins, Stabilisers: Pectin, Guar Gum, Flavourings, Sweeteners: Aspartame, Acesulfame K, Acidity Regulators: Citric Acid, Calcium Malates.
One thing that stands out is the actual amount of ingredients in this so called healthy food and all these fake, artificial items that have been put in to disguise the fact that they have taken away the fat and need to actually make it taste nice. Ever wondered why we as a nation are so addicted to sugar? There is so much of it in our foods that we don’t even realise and this is the most frustrating thing for myself and many other health professionals.
Now there are some items that are labelled diet but are really good for your goals and do have your best interests at heart. One product I recommend too my clients and also use myself is Performance Diet whey. Performance Diet Whey has ingredients added which boost your body composition progress. These ingredients are glutamine which will help your recovery, digestion and enable you to keep hold of your hard earned muscle whilst dieting. CLA a fatty acid which has been shown to help you drop fat and also keep your blood sugar levels in check meaning less cravings. Also included is green tea extract and as you have no doubt heard before that green tea is a powerful anti-oxidant known for fat loss boosting effects, along side raspberry ketones and acai berry which are two big items that have come up in the past few years for their fat loss boosting effects.
So, the take home message? Check your ingredients, is the product you are using really good for your physique goals or is it just filled with unnatural ingredients which could put your hard work in jeopardy?
Stay healthy, stay strong and keep progressing forward one step at a time.