Want to know what effect the diet food on the market might have on your slimming plan and your body? A diet food is any food item that has been altered from its natural or original state in order to fit into a low calorie eating plan.
While the idea behind diet food is that it allows slimmers to include a wider range of foods in their eating plans and slim without feeling deprived, there is a lot of controversy over the safety and effectiveness of these products.
So how is food altered to create the diet food variety? Do these products really help you slim? And are they safe?
A diet food is any product classed as low fat, low calorie, Light, Lite, low sugar, no sugar, fat free or zero calorie. Usually, the process of creating these products involves finding low fat or low calorie substitutes for high calorie ingredients. For example, the thick, creamy texture of full fat yoghurt is created in the low fat variety by adding gelatine products, starches or thickeners.
In recent years, fat substitutes such as Olestra have hit the market an dare used to create low fat substitutes for fried foods such as potato chips. Some countries have created regulations surrounding the use of the term low fat, by stipulating the maximum number of grams of fat a food product may contain and still claim low fat status.
The difficulty with low or no fat products is that nutritionists are not convinced that fat substitutes such as Olestra, or sugar substitutes such as aspartame, are actually any better for your body that natural fats are. As these products are reasonably new, there haven't been sufficient tests conducted to conclusively determine the long-term effects of such products.
In addition, products claiming to be low fat are often loaded with sugar in order to make up for lost flavour. This means these snacks are high in calories, which will be converted into fat by your body anyway, defeating their purpose. These products also tend to be more expensive than their regular counterparts.
Doctors recommend a meal plan made up of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats for sustainable weight loss.