One New Year's resolution tops the list of life-changing pledges almost every year: Lose weight. If you're one of the many Americans wanting to create a new you for the new year, you may be tempted by products boasting fat-free claims. But check out the labels before you buy: Those fat-free products are not as helpful for weight loss as you may think.
According to dietitian Gloria Tsang, founder of nutrition network HealthCastle.com and author of Go UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss, fat-free products should be avoided, even by people trying to lose weight.
"Fat-free products often contain extra salt, sugar, or food additives to replace the flavor and texture of fat," Tsang says. "These modifications result in unhealthy food that is less satisfying to eat than the original, but may have only a few less calories. Worse, since the taste is not very exciting, people often eat more to feel satisfied, so you can actually end up consuming extra calories!"
Here are HealthCastle.com's top recommendations for ways to cut calories from your New Year's diet without resorting to fat-free products:
- Master healthy substitutions: Instead of artificial fat-free whipped topping, try whipping evaporated milk; try buttermilk instead of cream in recipes; or substitute unsweetened applesauce or pureed prunes for half the sugar in baking.
- Check portion size: Over-sized portions of even healthy foods sabotage weight loss. A 3 oz. serving of meat is the size of a deck of playing cards, while a half-cup serving of pasta is the size of a tennis ball.
- Eat five serving of fruit and veg: Fruits and vegetables fill up your stomach fast so you feel full sooner, and they're low in calories, which helps to keep your calorie count low.
- Watch your drinks: Sugary sodas pack a huge calorie load, but some studies have found even diet-soda drinkers face increased obesity risk for reasons yet unknown. Stick with water or tea instead.
- Don't skip meals: Eating regularly keeps your blood sugar and calorie intake balanced, which stops you from getting so hungry you gorge on a huge meal.
Fat-free products may seem like an easy path to weight loss, but the truth is they save very few calories and can actually cause you to overeat. Making healthy food choices without resorting to modified processed food will create better chances of success for long-term, sustainable weight loss. More simple, small achievable actions to reclaim health are available on HealthCastle.com.
From a press release from HealthCastle.com.