Are Diet Foods Actually Good For You?


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I have written a lot of articles about food and diet, so I thought I would keep with the theme and write one more. As I was reading this blog post today, I thought I would try and find an article of my own that supported her idea that diet foods weren't really that good. I found an article on livstrong.com that shows many diet foods that are supposed to help you lose weight that actually don't help at all. Many diet foods are out there to try and get weight-loss seeking consumers to buy them. They seem good on the outside, but what is really in them?
The first type of food the article brings up are "low energy foods" which are foods that diet programs claim you can eat a bunch of and not gain weight. These foods may alter your behavior and psychologically lead to weight gain and increase your appetite. Foods such as diet soft drinks or sugar free gelatin are some foods that just increase your cravings.
The second type of food the article talks about are protein shakes. When I saw that this was listed I was honestly shocked. My mom swears by protein shakes and I trust her since she goes to a nutritionist on the regular. The article says that these shakes don't usually keep you as satisfied as a normal meal would. Plus is doesn't have all of the nutrients and ingredients you would consume if you had a normal meal. You won't feel satisfied and therefore you overeat later. Liquid meals aren't as satisfying as solid ones.
The final type of food is "Fat-Free Diet Foods." Foods such as vegetables are obviously the best kind of fat free diet food. But commercially prepared diet foods are not recommended. When you are dieting and want to cut back on your favorite foods, fat free ice cream and cookies seem like a good idea. You still get the similar taste but not the fat form the real thing. But fat free doesn't mean calorie free. Instead of the fat in the foods, they replace it with sugar. This disrupts your blood sugar level and creates more cravings. Also when something is labeled "fat free" people may think you can eat more of it without feeling guilty, so you eat a lot of it when it really is just as bad as the food with the fat in it.
I have always been a fan of diet foods but my parents both told me to look at the label in the back and see what is really in the food I am consuming. Fat Free foods are really just some sort of ploy to get weight loss seekers something to buy.


Website (wouldn't work as a link)
http://www.livestrong.com/article/331591-diet-foods-that-cause-people-to-gain-weight/

2 Comments

I think that it is interesting how the article that you read brought up so many lies about fat free foods because I don’t think too many people know about them. I’ve heard the idea that certain things like organic foods aren’t that much better than regular foods, but not that fat free foods were not much better than fattening foods. This is something that I just didn’t think about because I assumed that the absence of fat meant that the food was healthier. I guess I was wrong.

When I read this post it was the first time that I had heard that other bad ingredients like sugar take the place of fat in fat free foods. This seems like no surprise to me and makes so much sense because companies want to continue to make money and if they take away all of the “bad” stuff people won’t want their products because it won’t taste good. I think that it just isn’t wise to false advertise though and the “low energy food” idea (that you can eat as much of a certain food as you want without gaining weigh) is a perfect example of that. It isn’t wise to do this because as you stated it can have the effect of making you gain weight regardless or increasing your appetite. If a certain product affects a person in these ways and they notice it, they are bound to research the ingredients and come to this conclusion anyway. When it comes to things like protein shakes I already was a little doubtful because I just don’t see a liquid nourishing one’s body as solid food would. With the fat-free diet foods the same problem occurs with the low-energy foods. Consuming too much of it can lead to increased appetite. Therefore out of the thousands who are consuming this product, one is bound to realize the effect that these products have on them and do their research. This can only hurt the companies in the long run because the word can spread about this and cause less people to consume these products.

I think what the article that you read should have mentioned is that being on a regimen like Weight Watchers is best because it involves changing multiple aspects of your life to achieve losing weight. For example Weight Watcher plans involve eating predetermined amounts of food along with exercising. These regimens are more likely to appeal to weight-loss seekers, not just eating lower fat or fat free foods.

I think that this issue with diet foods relates to what we’ve discussed in class about how demanding data is important. Just like how Frances Oldham Kelsey didn’t consider testimonials from physicians to be evidence that Thalidomide should be used in the U.S., people shouldn’t accept something like advertising pitches to be believable; especially because companies are experts at persuading. When Kelsey demanded data about Thalidomide it helped to prove that it was dangerous to use. If Americans demand exact information about the difference in ingredients between regular foods and fat free foods, the truth would be exposed. Instead like me we just assume that “fat free” legitimately means better for us.

Ever since I took intro to nutrition, I've always been wary of the ingredients list. It amazes me how people can be so blinded by the big words on the front of packages like "fat free" or "diet", not realizing that these foods might actually be worse for them in the long run. I've also noticed that a lot of food companies are using sugar substitutes for sweeteners. I read on the Mayo Clinic site that there are possible health concerns for artificial sweeteners; back in the 1970's, there was research that showed that the A.S. caused bladder cancer in rats. Because of this there was a warning label placed on Sacchrin, but has since been dropped because now the FDA deems the sweeteners as "GRAS", or "generally recognized as safe". This type of thing worries me because now I don't know what to believe. I suppose that in limited quantities, it is okay to eat but too much may cause more weight gain (according to the Mayo Clinic site), plus who knows what it will do to the rest of your health. At the end of the day, I believe its always good to go natural and raw. There is no need for all this fake, processed crap!

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/artificial-sweeteners/MY00073

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