You’re in the grocery aisle, and you are constantly bombarded by the advertisement, “Low Calories”, “Zero Calories”, “Low-Fat” are these food really healthier or is it just standard marketing gimmick used to get you to the aisle with the product and eventually your grocery cart. The Fitness and Low Fat industry has become synonymous with the $ symbol for companies. I doing some research here are some of the items I have found to be the top impostors in the grocery store. These are items that will make you feel better about yourself, but ultimately will only aid you in adding a couple of extra pounds or increasing your waist line.
1. Baked Potato Chips
Yes, they’re lower in fat. But they’re still high in calories and low in nutrients, with little fiber to fill you up.
Smarter Sub: Popcorn
You’ll get the salt and crunch of chips plus fiber, and around 65% fewer calories per cup. Look for oil-free microwave popcorn or brands that are air-popped or popped in healthful oils such as olive or canola.
Health Bonus: Heart-healthy whole grains
Adults who eat popcorn take in as much as 2 1/2 times more whole grains than people who do not, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Try: Good Health HalfNaked pre-popped popcorn, made with olive oil
One serving (4 cups) has 120 calories, 0 g sat fat, 4 g fiber.
2. Gummy Fruit Snacks
Although these products may contain some juice, they’re usually nothing more than candy infused with vitamins. They also contain high fructose corn syrup, which is linked with obesity, and heart-unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils.
Smarter Sub: Fresh or dried fruit
Both are packed with filling fiber, which you’ll miss if you opt for gummy snacks.
Health Bonus: Cancer-fighting antioxidants
Real fruit is loaded with immune-boosting nutrients that fruit-flavored snacks could never mimic. A recent Greek study found that women who ate the most fruits and veggies were the least likely to develop any type of cancer.
Try: Peeled Snacks Fruit Picks dried fruit (peeledsnacks.com)
One serving (one bag) of Go-Mango-Man-Go has 120 calories, 0 g sat fat, 2 g fiber.
3. Light Ice Cream
Light ice cream can have fewer calories than regular, but there’s no guarantee. Take Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche light ice cream: With 220 calories per 1/2 cup serving, it’s still higher in calories than the average full-fat ice cream, which has around 140 calories per serving. What’s more, some light ice creams can lack the rich taste you crave, so you’re less satisfied and may be inclined to eat more than one serving.
Smarter Sub: Dairy-free ice cream
Soy and coconut milk ice creams may save you a few calories, and they havea creamy, satisfying texture.
Health Bonus: Digestion-friendly fiber
Some dairy-free ice creams are made with chicory root, a natural source of inulin, a prebiotic fiber that can increase healthy bacteria in the gut and help the body absorb calcium and iron.
Try: Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent
One serving (1/2 cup) of vanilla has 150 calories, 7 g sat fat, and 6 g fiber. It’s made with coconut milk, but studies show that the saturated fat in coconut may not raise cholesterol like the saturated fat in butter and meat.
4. Diet Soda
In a 2008 study, researchers linked drinking just one diet soda a day with metabolic syndrome—the collection of symptoms including belly fat that puts you at high risk of heart disease. Researchers aren’t sure if it’s an ingredient in diet soda or the drinkers’ eating habits that caused the association. (Need more convincing? Check out all 7 Nasty Side Effects of Drinking Diet Soda.)
Smarter Sub: Flavored seltzer water
It has zero calories and is free of artificial sweeteners but provides fizz and flavor. Beware of clear sparkling beverages that look like seltzer yet contain artificial sweeteners—they’re no better than diet soda. Or try a sparkling juice; we recommend watering it down with seltzer to stretch your calories even further.
Health Bonus: Hydration (without chemicals)
Water is essential for nearly every body process.
Try: Your supermarket’s low-cost seltzer brand
The taste is the same as the bigger name brands.
5. 100-Calorie Snack Packs
You might want to skip these if you’re trying to lose weight. A recent study showed that people may eat more food and calories if the portions are presented in small sizes and packages. With smaller serving sizes, study participants didn’t feel the need to regulate their intake, so they ate more than one portion before feeling satisfied.
Smarter Sub: A small serving of almonds
Their healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, and protein will tide you over until your next meal.
Health Bonus: Stronger bones
Almonds are an excellent source of bone-building magnesium, as well as the immune-boosting antioxidant vitamin E.
Try: Blue Diamond Natural Oven Roasted Almonds
A 1 oz serving has 160 calories, 1 g sat fat, 3 g fiber.
6. Vitamin Water
Yes, it has vitamins, but at up to 200 calories per bottle, just one of these a day can cause a 20-pound weight gain in a year’s time if the calories aren’t burned off.
Smarter Sub: Calorie-free flavored waters
Instead of added sugar and artificial sweeteners, a few bottled brands contain just a hint of natural flavoring to entertain your tastebuds.
Health Bonus: Hydration
Water is the most important nutrient in your body, regulating temperature and filtering out waste.
Try: Ayala’s, Hint, Metromint, or Wateroos
Each bottle is free of sugar, sweeteners, preservatives and–best of all–calories.
7. Low-Fat Cookies
Do you remember the SnackWell’s craze? Low-fat cookies are still popular, and many dieters think they can indulge guilt free. The problem is that most of these snacks are made with extra sugar, which means they often have just as many calories as the full-fat version, if not more.
Smarter Sub: Oatmeal cookies
These are a great way to indulge a cookie craving while also getting whole grains. Not all are created equal, though: Skip those made with high fructose corn syrup, white flour, and butter in favor of varieties made with honey or cane juice, whole wheat flour, and oil.
Health Bonus: Lower cholesterol
The fiber found in oatmeal keeps your body from absorbing bad cholesterol.
Try: Kashi TLC Cookies
One cookie has 130 calories, 1.5 g sat fat, 4 g fiber.
In conclusion when you look at the plethora of grocery items that start with the word “Low” it the grocery store its staggering, however as you educate yourself more and more, you start to learn or come to the realization of certain things you might of already known, that there is no shortcut, and Marketers get paid a lot to do exactly one thing, Market their products. Next time you walk through the grocery aisle, think to yourself. “If it sounds to too good to be true, It probably is”