The ‘Low-Fat’ Trap

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A little while ago, I happened to check the label on the cereal I used to pour into my breakfast bowl every morning. I had been buying it because it said “high-fibre” and till then I was almost always tricked into buying goods that had labels like “organic” or “low-cal” or things like that. Well, it might not be news to you that these labels are a trap, but what could make you sit up is the fact that the products that endorse these labels could contain more calories than the standard version of the same.

I don’t know why you think eating gluten-free will help you lose weight, but I would like to caution you to take those adverts with a pinch of salt. Unless you are gluten intolerant or have the celiac disease, gluten-free cookies, flakes or breads are equal to the ordinary ones for you.

Our food regulation has, to some extent, come to the rescue by stopping food manufacturers from making wild health claims on packaging, but consumers nevertheless are being misled. Terms like “whole grains” or “added vitamins and minerals” don’t really mean anything, because they might also be injected with salt, sugar or saturated fat—and nobody mentions that, obviously.

Like 59% of other consumers, you may be duped with “fat-free” labels slapped on items that fool you with preservatives. In fact, “multigrain” or “whole wheat” go through refinement that strips away the healthiest portions of the grain. Please do not think that bread or biscuits that are brown in colour are healthier, because there’s caramel colouring in there.

As appealing as the terms “sugar-free” and “zero trans-fats” sound, you won’t be so happy to know that your friendly sugar-free brand uses sugar alcohols that could give you diarrhoea, and when you spot “hydrogenated oils and shortening” on the ingredients, know that they are a synonym for trans-fats. Yes, we spot your broken heart.

Hoping you will get rid of all of these misguiding packaged foods,  and resort to your normal old-school diet and not believe everything that the market brings to you in the name of “health”.

 

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