Why foods labeled “Diet, Low-Fat, and Low-Calorie” may be sabotaging your weight loss goals.
By Keith “Temple” Trotter
Have you ever wondered why you don’t feel satisfied when you eat your “diet” snacks? Well, it’s because your mindset actually influences your taste and choice in food. A study published in July 2011 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that foods labeled “diet”, “reduced fat”, “low-fat”, or “low-calorie”, can actually lead you to consume more. (Approx. 25% more) When the levels of energy in the body become low your stomach produces a peptide called ghrelin which signals hunger pangs in the brain. Under normal conditions, when food is consumed the levels of ghrelin go down which produces the sense of satiation. But, when we identify foods as “diet, low-fat, and or low-calorie, our brains short circuit that process.
“Food is fuel, no more no less” -Temple
The telling study was brilliantly simple. Forty six participants were asked to enjoy two sessions, both a week apart of free milkshake tasting. The only catch was that they had to read/rate the label and comment on the taste of the milkshakes. The participants were led to believe that they had received 2 different milkshakes, but in reality the only difference was the label. Long story short, the food labeled “low-calorie” did not reduce the required levels of ghrelin in order for the subjects to feel psychologically satisfied and commented, “In such cases, people tend to consume more food and are hence at risk of developing obesity.”
Now I’m not suggesting that you discard the food in your kitchen labeled in this way. What I am advising is that we begin to treat all food the same. I have adopted the mantra that “Food is fuel no more and no less.” It’s not a reward for a job well done, nor a relief for a stressful day. ” This, is a difficult concept to tackle because food enjoys a disproportionate amount of power in our personal and social lives. Most of us have fostered unhealthy relationships with food, and food marketing doesn’t make it any easier for us to break the cycle. We want to be able to consume these foods until we are full, and be assured that it’s ok because it says “diet,” so I have to be consuming fewer calories…right? Unfortunately, the opposite is true and because of our brains, we wind up consuming more. One of the tricks of the “diet food” industry trade is to replace the fat in low-fat foods with sugar. So the amount of fat is truly reduced but the carbohydrates have increased and can actually lead to food having higher caloric values than the foods not labeled “low fat.” So you can see how easy it is to get that extra 25% into your body. Try and start thinking about it differently by internalizing these 4 simple reminders.
- Food is fuel, no more no less
- Be mindful in your choices about your fuel
- Food Marketers are not your friends
- Relationships are with people not with food
About the Author:
Twin Cities area author and founder of the Temple Global Consulting Group, Amazon.com & Morgan James bestselling author Keith “Temple” Trotter started off as a successful finance and operations manager. His life changed forever when a photo of him weighing 386 pounds showed up in his Facebook timeline. Since then he has lost over 160 pounds and his incredible journey has been featured in The Huffington Post, on Dish Network and CNN.com, along with countless radio interviews. Temple is passionate about helping others lose weight and make sustainable, transformative change in their lives. You can connect with Temple on Facebook on Twitter @TempleTrotter at www.100smallsteps.com or the blog at www.100smallstepsblog.com