We barely have the time to plan out meals these days. The pandemic and work from home have had quite an effect on our mental health as well. And, our food habit has seen the most massive result of this!
While I was working on an excel sheet last night, I grabbed a tub of ice cream. Once it met my cravings, I picked a granola bar. Time for some healthy snacking! It was more like compensating for the ice cream that I binged and ate a few minutes back.
The internet is always preaching how granola bars can be a good alternative to having other snacks. It is low in fat as well. And, we often see that processed low-fat foods are typically low in calories.
But, how good are these processed foods that we all are so habituated with? Are they as low in calories that they claim to be? Or is this just another marketing trick that we all have fallen for?
Table of Content
The Deadly Combination: Processed Low Fat and Low in Calories
Processed foods are our getaway to an easier life. Most of us pick cereal as our breakfast without giving much thought. It is written low fat on the packet. What more do we need, right? But, it is not that simple! It is rather the best combination to attract the buyers into an everlasting loop.
In recent years, low-fat processed foods have made their place on our plates. People also say that processed low-fat foods are typically low in calories. But, low fat does not necessarily mean good fat. We generally see four types of fats around us. They are –
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
- Unsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
Many of us fail to differentiate between these variants of fat. Unsaturated fats are typically known as good fats. And, saturated fats refer to bad fats. Doctors suggest taking more good fats like nuts, avocado, fish oil, etc. Food items like bacon, sausage, and cakes are piled with saturated fats. One must limit having these to stay healthy.
The two most hyped kinds of fats are saturated fat and unsaturated fats. We lay a few of their functions here for you-
Functions of unsaturated fat
Our body needs fuel to function. The food that we eat every day is the fuel in this case. Unsaturated fats are popular because of the wide range of benefits that it provides.
They reduce the risk of major diseases related to the heart. It has an important role in reducing cholesterol levels as well. Doctors suggest unsaturated fats because this helps in curing inflammation and immunity-related health problems. For a healthier life, it is best to include unsaturated fats in the diet.
Functions of saturated fat
The functions of saturated fats are exactly the opposite of unsaturated fats. This can raise the cholesterol level. Saturated fats can cause heart diseases by clogging arteries. Heart attack and strokes are often the deadliest results of having too much-saturated food.
It is best to eat as little saturated fat as possible. Most snack items that we fill our trolleys with are decked up with saturated fat. So, it is important to see what low-fat food we are buying for binge snacking!
Now, getting back to our first point, the deadly combination! Processed foods can grab our attention with the tag of being low fat. But, this least amount of fat has a great possibility of being saturated fat. Processed low-fat foods are typically low in calories are more of a wrong idea embedded in our minds.
As we know about the good fat and bad fat, we can understand how bad processed food can be! This “low fat” can rather push you towards an incurable disease. The amount of fat might be less but it is mostly saturated fats.
So, now you know that the low-fat sausage that you are eating every morning is rather damaging to you. The combination is attractive but mostly comes with more hazards than benefits.
Low-Fat Foods are Low in Calories – Elixir to Weight Loss?
The weight loss industry has been playing tricks with our minds for a long time now! People rush into buying every kind of food that is tagged with the line low fat and low calorie. But, truth be told, they barely do any good to the weight loss process.
Most low-fat processed foods have a high amount of sugar and sodium. Both of these elements push the body towards bad consequences. They also contain a high amount of carbohydrates. So, the low-fat cookies that you are eating are rather a lump of carbohydrates that you could have replaced with better options!
These low-fat processed foods lack fundamental nutrients while focusing on justifying the name. And, you will be left feeling heavy and lazy with no energy or working out. So, even if processed low-fat foods are typically low in calories, they are not good for our bodies.
Are Low Fat Processed Foods Low in Calories?
“Low-fat food is low in calories” – a statement that has created much confusion in recent times. But, it does not come with much validation. Rather, most low-fat food is stacked with sugar to compensate for its lack of flavors.
The low-fat craze has made Americans choose these foods. And as a result, we see so many obese people struggling to lose weight. The more sugar you consume, the more calories will enter your body.
Many food companies also do not mention the ingredients list. Hidden calories and elements are there in their products. So, always buy food after checking the proportion of the ingredient list. Do not fool yourself only by going after the line “low in calories”!
Healthy Alternatives of Processed Foods
We cannot say enough how processed foods have made our lives easier. But, there remain alternatives that are as easy as getting yourself processed foods!
You are just one step away from making the right choices regarding food. Foods directly impact our health. And, to save yourself from the major health hazards it is important to think it through.
Instead of buying that canned fruit dipped, go for fresh fruits. Buy in lesser amounts so that they do not go bad. Grab yourself some nuts instead of having granola bars when you feel like munching on something. And you don’t have to worry about whether processed low-fat foods are typically low in calories.
Store-bought salad dressings have a lot of sugar and unhealthy fats in them. Try making it on your own with olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, and other organic ingredients.
Flavored yogurt is very popular among the young generation for making smoothies. Replace that with plain yogurt and mix honey or stevia with fruits. It will pretty much be the same but a lot healthier.
Many such options lie right in front of our eyes but we fail to realize until it is too late. So, next time do not opt for the pasta sauce when you are buying your grocery. Rather take two tomatoes, garlic, and some herbs. It might take you a few more minutes to cook. But, it will save you in the long run!
“Processed low-fat foods are typically low in calories” – a statement that has created much confusion. It has rather played dirty with the consumers as something like this barely exists! Instead of going for food products that come with this tagline, choose healthier options.
It is important to check out our grocery list before bringing them home. Otherwise, you might end up gaining weight in your quest of losing by having low-fat foods. Eating healthy foods is better than eating harmful processed food by counting calories. Spend your money wisely because money spent on health is an investment!
What are some highly processed foods that we should avoid?
We are always indulging in processed food as they make our lives easier. But, they can be the easiest way to get habituated with an unhealthy lifestyle. And, so we should know the types of processed foods that we must not regularly have. Some of them are-
- Sugary drinks
- Frozen pizzas
- Sweetened cereals
- Canned fruit
- Sausages and pepperoni
How much fat does one need every day?
According to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), an adult requires 20% to 30% of total calories from fat. For a 2000 calorie diet, this refers to 44 grams to 77 grams per day.
A man should not take in more than 30 grams of saturated fat in a day. And, for women, the amount should be limited to 20 grams.
What are the side effects of a deficiency of fat?
Most people consider fats as the enemy in their diet. But, they often forget the existence of healthy fats. This leads them to follow a diet that does not cater to their needs. This results in issues like hair loss, dry skin, rashes, and low immunity.
Vitamin-related problems may occur as well. The body requires some amount of fat to continue its regular biological processes. Depriving the body of fat can cause one to age faster. Choosing the right kind of fat is the key here.
Are processed foods high in Sodium?
Out of multiple other bad sides of processed foods, a high amount of sodium ranks the highest. For preservation and preparation, sodium is required in most processed foods.
Sodium can cause high blood pressure, bloating, acidity, kidney diseases, and many more. Processed pizzas, crisps, frozen meat products, etc are all high in sodium. And, sodium is also the one to blame for feeling sleepy after having processed food.