What's the sugar cost of "low fat"?

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It started with Snackwells. Now grocery aisles are crowded with packages of cookies and snacks boasting "Reduced Fat" and "Only 100 Calories". We could discuss a lot of issues concerning the marketing of these products, but since we're sugar stackers, we're going to stick to what we know.

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See our article on "Low Fat" Snacks

Why stack up the sugar in reduced fat foods? After all, they're not making any claims about reducing sugar. Well, we were curious. We wondered if low fat foods might contain added sugar to compensate for flavor lost with fat reduction. In the products we looked at, this wasn't the case, but we did make some interesting discoveries when comparing nutrition labels.

Most low fat products still contain quite a bit of sugar. No big surprise there. However, what did surprise us was some of the calorie counts. Products promoted as "sensible snacking" or calorie limited sometimes had calorie counts that weren't that far off from a serving of the real deal.

This may seem obvious, but many people may not think it through, equating low fat with "healthier" or "better" in general. We're just pointing out that a product with reduced fat content won't necessarily differ on all fronts. Low fat snacks usually contain about the same amount of sugar as the classic versions, as well as a comparable or sometimes greater amount of carbohydrates.

There are certainly legitimate reasons for limiting fat intake, and with snack foods, which often contain trans fats and hydrogenated oils, lower fat isn't a bad idea. On the other hand, if your primary goal is simply to reduce calories in your diet, you might want to compare labels before you toss those reduced fat cookies into your cart and see exactly what you're getting. 

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This page contains a single entry by SugarStacker published on May 6, 2009 1:03 PM.

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