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Dhaka Tribune

Is your diet lying to you?

Update : 14 Feb 2016, 09:43 AM

It’s common to stock our groceries with food cans and bottles marked “diet” or “low-fat” when we’re on a mission to lose the extra kilos. In fact, that’s one of the most natural and immediate changes we make after deciding to go on a diet – switching to “low-fat” or “sugar-gree” or “diet”. Some consider these to be ultimate game changer, while some use these as transitions into eventually healthier diets.

But are these diets loyal with the promises they make in advertisements or in their packaging? Not really, as research shows.

Recent research shows that in these kinds of food, the ingredient used for “dietary” purposes themselves cause more harm than good. While the manufacturers putt in the diet ingredients, they are simultaneously putting in other ingredients to compensate for the lack of sugar etc, which end up doing more harm than good.

Here’s a list of “diet food” that, despite the lack of sugar or diet ingredient, only add to your calories (Source: Active Beat):

Diet Coke: Most diet drinks that are carbonated contain Aspartame, a kind of artificial sweetness that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. While this may make up for the lack of sugar in these drinks, brain scans show that they are far more addictive and prolong sugar cravings which means you’re likelier to go back for more sips.

A University of Texas study found that across a decade, diet coke drinkers had 70% more increase in waist circumference than non-drinkers. Furthermore, intake of diet coke has been associated directly with obesity, high blood-pressure, and other syndromes that lead to heart diseases.

This might be quite a leap, but try replacing your diet coke with water. Studies have shown that drinking a pint of water before a meal can help reduce weight.

Low fat yoghurt: Studies show that low-carb diets are better nutritionally than low-fat diets, as those in the latter group have shown to lose more abdominal fat and body mass, better cholesterol, and less inflammation. Furthermore, in manufacturing low-fat food, often the main flavours of the food have to be extracted to ensure the low-fat quality. Manufacturers often put high levels of sugar to compensate for this lack of flavor.

Check the nutritional label on low-fat food and make sure you can stay within the WHO-recommended parameters of 6tsps (25grams) of sugar per day.

Low-calorie cereal bars: Interestingly, although low-calorie cereal bars are often advertised as a healthy alternative to regular cereal bars, they are anything but. They often contain just as much sugar or chocolate, and usually have carbohydrates – ingredients which highly contribute to the fat in the body.

To avoid being tricked into the wrong kind of diet cereal bars, make sure you check both the nutritional label and ingredients to check if, and how much, sugar it has. Sugar sometimes may appear as: rice syrup, maltodextrin, glucose-fructose syrup, raw cane sugar, fructose, honey or a mixture of these. 

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