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6 Dangerous Foods In Disguise: What's Wrong With Fat- And Sugar-Free Foods?

Don't be deceived by smart marketing techniques. Learn how labels hide the truth and which products to avoid!

Warning! Food companies are taking advantage of your New Year's resolution to get fit. Good marketing can make products seem fat-loss friendly, but most of the time companies are just trying to make money. They don't actually have your best interests at heart.

Don't be fooled! The following foods are only disguised as healthy—the reality is much different. Just like the end of every Scooby Doo episode, find out what happens when we rip off the mask and show you the truth.

1 / Fat-Free Yogurt

Many new dieters see the words "fat-free" and crowd the dairy aisle hoping to get their hands on some. Fitting yogurt into your diet depends on your goals, but going for the "fat-free" version may actually hinder your progress.

The problem with fat-free yogurt is that it's not sugar-free. Because the fat has been taken out, the yogurt doesn't taste good. A lot of companies load the yogurt with sugar to make up for the lost flavor.

Furthermore, some of these yogurts are made with thickening agents. These unnatural additives are no good.

2 / Diet Soda

Diet soda is calorie-free, so many dieters think it's a go-to beverage when they're in the mood for something sweet. Although there aren't any calories, diet soda is loaded with chemicals that can make you feel bloated, suffer headaches, and may even increase your risk for heart disease and other health problems.

Those who regularly drink diet soda often find that they have stronger cravings for sweet food. If you crave sweet food all day, sticking to your diet is going to be 10 times more difficult.

3 / Fat-Free Potato Chips

Who doesn't miss the crunchy salty taste of chips when they diet? Even if you find the craving overwhelming, opting for fat-free chips is not a good call. Fat-free chips are often made with "fat replacers."

Fat replacers are made by adding carbs (maltodextrin, polydextrose, etc.), chemically altered fatty acids (Olestra), or protein to products instead of fat. These replacements have fewer calories but can still make food taste good and have better texture.

Whether fat replacers are bad for you has not been scientifically proven. However, many people complain of digestive distress after eating food made with fat replacers. It's also been shown that because Olestra is not digested or absorbed, it doesn't release Vitamins A, D, or E. It's possible to have deficiencies in these vitamins if you eat Olestra with any sort of consistency.

It is better to ditch chips altogether. They're simple carbs that will only cause a blood-glucose spike and a then lead to a hunger crash.

If you must have chips, thinly slice a sweet potato and bake the slices to make your own.

4 / Low-Fat Ice Cream

Low-fat ice cream has similar problems to low-fat yogurt. Sure, there's less fat, but usually that means there's more sugar, sometimes in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.

High-fructose corn syrup is one of the leading causes of obesity. Taking steps to omit that ingredient from your diet, forever, will serve you well.

5 / Sugar-Free Chocolate

Sugar-free chocolate seems like guilt-free nutritional nirvana. However, much sugar-free chocolate contain various sugar alcohols. For some people, sugar alcohols can cause digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation.

Just because the chocolate is sugar-free, doesn't mean you should scarf an entire bar. It still contains calories and fat. Don't be misled.

6 / Fruit Drinks

The famous "made with real fruit" slogan is tricky. Sure there might be some fruit in your juice, but if you read the label, you'll find that you're probably drinking sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or flavor-enhancing chemical additives.

Fruit drinks are also notoriously high in calories. Drinking them isn't going to do your low-calorie diet any good. They may give you some vitamin C, but the benefits do not outweigh the negatives.


Good Nutrition Practices ///

Eat the real thing (whole foods!), but eat it in moderation. If you want fruit, don't get juice—eat an apple.

Natural foods are best. If you eat food that's close to its source, you won't have to worry about an influx of harmful chemicals.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to read the ingredient label. If there are one hundred ingredients—many of which you can't pronounce—put it down and run for the produce section!


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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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atokad

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atokad

What about Gatorade/powerade...good or bad

Jan 8, 2013 6:55pm | report
 
rmurphy130

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rmurphy130

both are actually pretty bad if you look at the label. I don't have one on hand, but they usually have high sugar content, usually between 20 and 30 grams per serving. If you like flavored water a good alternative would be to buy BCAA powder. It is great for post workouts and they also taste good. Per serving a mixture of a BCAA powder and water should have much less sugar than a normal Gatorade or Powerade.

Jan 8, 2013 7:25pm | report
qksc2

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qksc2

No just should, does not. A quality BCAA supplement does not use sugar as an ingredient.

Jan 8, 2013 9:25pm | report
jayhead000

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jayhead000

coconut water and BCAA's are my favorite to drink during workouts and runs. made the switch never looked back...

Jan 9, 2013 8:02am | report
smee342

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smee342

also what is bad with gatorade, is its high sodium content. if you are like me, all that sodium gives me migraines. i stay away from it ! either go with water or like rmurphry Bcaa powder or pre work out powder.

Jan 9, 2013 8:44am | report
rob2093124

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rob2093124

wtf is wrong with sugar? nothing. BCAA's are will do close to nothing if you are already eating sufficient protein throughout the day. whole wheat pasta ends up as glucose, just like.... SUGAR!!! Eat in a calorie range that allows you to reach the goals you want while eating mostly foods that are micronutrient-dense and you are good to go. Fat scares and sugar scares are completely ignorant do some actual research.

Jan 9, 2013 10:21am | report
brioni

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  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
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ajdavies82

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ajdavies82

I do agree that sugar intake should be closely monitored, the purpose of Gatorade is not to help boost performance but to rehydrate. The high sodium and sugar content is good because it sets up osmotic gradients in your kidneys which causes them to reabsorb more water as you absorb the salts and other electrolytes. This also helps replace the electrolytes that you lost after you sweat it out. I am not a fan of either drink but they do the job they were crafted to do quite well.

Jan 9, 2013 11:57am | report
cldillmann1

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cldillmann1

@ROB, i like you...he is entirley correct

Jan 9, 2013 1:42pm | report
totheleague91

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totheleague91

So with yogurt, which kind is THE BEST.
I Greek inormally has about 6 grams sat fat in it along with euro style. What do you guys think is the best option?

Jan 8, 2013 8:07pm | report
 
JayCarter2300

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JayCarter2300

To be honest, I haven't found a healthy yoghurt. (UK)

Jan 9, 2013 2:11am | report
JasonNaylorUK

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JasonNaylorUK

Organic natural greek yogurt. Just check the sugar. I haven't found anything better.

Jan 9, 2013 4:17am | report
jpstanton

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jpstanton

You can get non-fat Greek yogurt with no sugar.

Jan 9, 2013 10:01am | report
mfishmannj

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mfishmannj

Fage nonfat greek yogurt has only 7g of sugar for a cup. I usually eat 1/2 cup (which is plenty) with a little whey protein sprinkled in it, taste great and good post workout snack.

Jan 10, 2013 3:37pm | report
itswasims

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itswasims

Eye opener... :)

Article Rated:
Jan 9, 2013 1:40am | report
 
rengot

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rengot

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Jan 9, 2013 1:56am | report
 
JayCarter2300

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JayCarter2300

To be honest, I haven't found a healthy yoghurt. (UK)

Jan 9, 2013 2:12am | report
 
deefieh

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deefieh

I wish more people besides bodybuilders/fitness people knew this. It's sad to see my own mother drink that diet coke crap.

Jan 9, 2013 4:54am | report
 
dhornace

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dhornace

Couldn't agree more. Talked to my mom about this yesterday and just couldn't get through to her.

Jan 9, 2013 7:38am | report
thome321

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thome321

It's not that they don't know it's bad, it's that feel good about themselves when they read "Diet". For instance, my mother got this diet powerade crap. Tasted terrible and had no nutrients. She said I should be healthier. I just laughed, one heck of a diet.

Jan 9, 2013 1:22pm | report
droyce

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droyce

If you're a diet soda drinker you should really consider not doing that anymore. I've been on a 3 year excursion to figure out why I was having migraines and dizziness everyday. It led me to read some newly released articles about aspartame. They basically state that aspartame will be the cigarette of our generation. The FDA approved aspartame for use in none temperature controlled foods which can lead to its break down before digestion and your unknowing consumption of unwanted chemicals. The laundry list of side affects is worse than a medication commercial: tumors, dizziness, short term memory loss, migraines, anxiety attacks, seizures, and don't even get me started on the reasons formaldehyde is bad to ingest (one of the things aspartame breaks down in to during digestion or in high temperatures).

I'd rather shoot insulin into my veins while eating a mcdonalds burger with a large regular coke than drink another diet soda.

As for the yogurt comment, if you aren't going organic plain then you aren't going for gain!

Jan 9, 2013 5:09am | report
 
TonedJordan

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TonedJordan

My mum uses fat free mayonaise, I use the exact same brand but the regular mayonaise, and they have the exact same amount of calories per 15g serving. That is a prime example! May as well have the regular mayo and enjoy the better taste.

Jan 9, 2013 7:24am | report
 
Vee.Ey.Dala

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Vee.Ey.Dala

you might as well enjoy the better taste

Jan 9, 2013 10:23am | report
dapperdon77

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dapperdon77

I agree

Jan 9, 2013 10:01am | report
 
Pablopbs

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Pablopbs

Real good article, it's 100% true, especially about fruit drinks, it's fully of carbs, better eat real fruit or IMO - vegs

Jan 9, 2013 10:09am | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 46 Comments

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