Don’t Be Fooled By Fat-Free!


Fat-free does not mean calorie-free. If you’re trying to lose weight, you must count all your calories, not just the fat.

Congratulations if you are obese and have made the decision to lose weight. If you weight 20 per cent or more than the maximum healthy weight for your height you should definitely lose some weight. Obesity leads to many health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and some cancers. And if you are obese you are greatly increasing your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

But dieting can be unnecessarily complicated. Food manufacturers bombard us all with health claims. Fat-free, boast some foods. Other claim to be Zero Calorie, or Sugar-Free. But what does all this actually mean for the confused, and hungry, shopper? How can you make the best choices?

Read food labels (fat-free is not calorie-free)

You must educate yourself. Learn to read the food labels, which are complex. Many manufacturers, seeking sales, have non-standard portion sizes. So look carefully and see what each manufacturer uses as their portion size when making comparisons.

Beware of grand claims. Fat-free is not calorie-free. If you’re trying to lose weight you should work out a healthy amount of calories you should eat every day. If you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight.

Watch your sugar intake (some fat-free foods high in sugar)

Fat-free foods are often high in sugar. We should all watch our sugar intake–not only people trying to lose weight. High levels of sugar have been closely linked to developing diabetes. And sugar is an empty calorie. You can in theory consume all your daily calories in high sugar foods, but you may end up very hungry, and very unhealthy.

If you have time to shop and prepare it, the healthiest diet is fresh foods: fish, lean meat, veggies, and fruit, which you cook yourself. That way you know there are no empty calories in your meals.

But for the many busy people out there, bring your patience with your grocery list, and read the labels.

The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at and Vancouver Health News at  National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a third health news portal focusing on medicinal mushrooms at, plus our newest portal at

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