More often than not, just as we are about to embark on a strict dietary plan to either lose weight or eliminate obesity-related diseases, we often tend to head to the supermarket, go to the ‘low fat’ section and stock up on those food items. Not once do we stop to think about what is there in these foods. If you take a closer look at the labels and read the ingredients, you’d realise what is being offered to you as a supposedly ‘healthier option’ is actually much worse for you for a multitude of reasons.
All foods that have been altered to contain less fat are inevitably laden with sugar or sugar substitutes. This might come as a shock; however, the easy way to understand this is that most low-fat food items are rendered tasteless once the process of removing fat is over. So, to make these foods more palatable, manufacturers add sugar in different forms to ensure a semblance of good taste.
This means the calories you are trying to avoid are actually being consumed in a different form. These foods are rich in trans fats and that makes them all the more unhealthy for you.
Trans fats are essentially mutant fats that are produced by hydrogenating the vegetable oil that, in turn, solidifies the fat to make it more usable in commercial manufacturing of several food items. You will find trans fats in everything from margarine, crackers, biscuits, cookies, cereals, granola bars, chips, salad dressings, fried foods as well as most processed foods that come out of a packet. Now in case you are wondering why these are bad for you, read on:
a) Increased risk of heart disease
Today, more and more young people are dying of heart attacks and this has been attributed to our lifestyles. Our eating habits allow significant amounts of trans fats to creep into our daily meals, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. A new study shows that people who consume higher amounts of trans fats have 34 per cent higher mortality rates.
b) Increased insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
Recently, a study conducted with 80,000 women showed clearly that those who consumed processed trans fats for a period of three months began developing irregularities in their blood sugar levels, which eventually led to Type 2 Diabetes. Need I say more?
c) Weight gain
As you can imagine, the increased insulin resistance and the body’s inability to break down trans fats will inevitably contribute to inexplicable weight gain while you keep wondering what actually went wrong.
The conclusion to be drawn from the above findings is that one should avoid synthetic (artificial) trans fats (that are advertised as ‘low-fat’ offerings) as opposed to natural trans fats (present in meats).
It makes more sense to read the label carefully before assuming that switching to low-fat foods will eventually lead to weight loss.