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Are Processed, Low-Fat Foods Are Typically Low In Calories?

- Written By

Sana Farhan, MS Healthcare

Updated on

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument. This article contains scientific references. Read more about our process.

processed, low-fat foods are typically low in calories

Foods that have been processed have become a staple in many people’s diets. People consider that processed, low-fat foods are typically low in calories. Naturally, their ease of use and lengthy shelf life contribute to their popularity. 

But it’s a common misconception that these processed, low-fat foods are typically low in calories, especially those with low-fat labels are not always better. We’ll examine why or why not these processed low fat foods are typically low in calories. In this article, we will tell you why they might not be as low-fat as you believe.

What is a frequent fat substitute in food?

Food makers commonly substitute sugars, artificial sweeteners, and thickeners for fat to compensate for the loss of flavour and texture. Despite the fact that they are labeled as low-fat, these additives can dramatically increase the calorie content of the completed product.

In meals, fat has numerous purposes. It adds taste, texture, tenderness, and richness to your mouth feel, making it silky and smooth. The substitute used is determined by the qualities of fat that are being replicated. Ideally, fat substitute makers would like to create a similar end result that tastes the same but contains a smaller amount of fat and fewer kilojoule.

Carbohydrate, protein, and fat alternatives are all possible. To imitate the qualities of fats in an item, a mix of replacements is frequently utilised.

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Enhanced creaminess in low in fat dairy goods is frequently achieved with the inclusion of powdered skim milk and vegetable gums. These boost the product’s amount of protein, which can aid in fullness. 

Yet, if more sugar is included in order to make up for taste (as is common with ice cream and frozen treats), you might be compromising the point of using them. It denies the myth that processed, low-fat foods are typically low in calories.

Check the food packaging to check if processed, low-fat foods are typically low in calories?

You may have noticed a boom in low-fat goods when exploring the grocery store aisles. These labels can be deceptive since they often encourage us to assume that processed low fat foods are typically low in calories. This, however, is not always the case.

To choose a healthy snack, read the nutrition facts on the packaging, which might require additional attention throughout the purchase process. It also specifies the total amount of calories per serving and the product’s calories, which producers sometimes modify to be excessively low.

Meals with more significant amounts of fat per serving and those with less per serving typically have equal calorie counts. Despite the appearance of certain meals being nutritious, further study has revealed that people typically consume twice as much as they should.

In addition, because some meals are heavy in calories, the study indicates that people frequently consume double the amount they ought.

Low fats food options and the truth behind them

Most meals are now available in low-fat variants; we’ll look at typical examples in more depth if these processed, low-fat foods are typically low in calories or not. Plus how much nutritious they are? Lets have a look on them.

1) Yogurt

If consumed in limited amounts, organic yogurt is nutritious. Most natural yogurts have a lot of fat, but they’re also abundant in vitamins and pro-biotic microorganisms. These bacteria can improve your gut microbiota, which has far-reaching benefits for your general health.

Low-fat yogurt, on the other hand, is extremely refined and frequently contains additional sugars. Flavorings, whey proteins, and pectin may also be present. Additionally, processing frequently destroys the beneficial gut bacteria.

Fats-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, are also removed when fat is removed. 

Some companies will then reintroduce these vitamins into their goods. This provides them with an advantage.

2) Milk

Skim milk is often thought to be healthier than full milk. Yet, the reality is more complicated. 

As with yogurt, eliminating the fat eliminates several vitamins that are fat-soluble. It additionally eliminates the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids found in grass-fed milk. Once again, certain producers may reintroduce these vitamins into their goods. 

Skim milk’s processing results in an item with somewhat higher natural sugars than full milk. 

For a long time, experts believed that skim milk may help lower cholesterol levels. Nevertheless newer research shows drinking whole milk may help prevent heart disease and diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes.

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3) Mayonnaise and salad dressings

Carbohydrates are regularly used to taste and thicken low-fat versions. Check the kilojoule and carbs per 100g: if they are significantly lower, it could be an acceptable substitute (amount for amount, of course).

If the fat content has been reduced, carbohydrates have most likely been added to thicken and flavour the meal. Compare the kilojoule labels once again.

4) Cereal 

Low-fat versions typically include more sugar and the same amount of kilojoule as full-fat counterparts. Examine the labels: if the sugar is sourced from dried fruit, there is no need to worry. Low-fat cereals include wheat crackers and oats.

How to Make Healthier Choices for processed and low-fat foods that are typically low in calories

Notwithstanding the possible negatives of processed foods, there are methods to purchase them in a healthy manner. Begin by reviewing the ingredient list and nutritional information label. Look for items with few chemicals and preservatives, as well as those with less sugar added and processed carbs.

Choose entire food-based processed goods with no sugar added, such as canned veggies or frozen fruits. Try making and preparing further meals at home employing fresh, whole foods to get more control over the nutritional quality of your food.

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Reasons to avoid low fat processed food

Despite the myth that processed, low-fat foods are typically low in calories, you should restrict your consumption of low-fat, processed food for several reasons.

  • Processed foods are heavy in calories, salt, and sugar while being poor in nutrition. They may also include harmful ingredients.
  • Low-fat meals sometimes substitute sugar or other carbs for fat. This might be problematic for persons attempting to reduce or manage their body weight.
  • Trans fats are commonly found in processed meals. Trans fats have been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease and stroke.
  • Low-fat, manufactured meals are frequently flavourless. To fulfil their appetites, people may overeat or consume more harmful meals.
  • If you do decide to eat low-fat, processed foods, make sure you thoroughly study the labels on the food.

the bottom line

To summarize, whereas it is widely considered that processed, low-fat foods are typically low in calories, our investigation indicates a more complicated reality. While some low-fat meals have less calories than full-fat counterparts, they should be handled with care and cynicism.

These meals are generally processed with artificial chemicals, preservatives, and sweeteners to compensate for the reduced fat content. These compounds can add to concealed calories, diminishing the apparent advantages of eating less fat. In addition, processing may remove vitamins and fibre, reducing the overall nutritional content.

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