Why Low-Fat/Fat-Free Means Very Little.

Swedish fish: A fat-free food that's likely to make you fat.

Yesterday, a package of those sugary, chewy “Swedish Fish” candies caught my eye. On the product’s package was a banner that exclaimed, “A fat free food.” And while this bag of candy may be devoid of fat, do not be tricked by this treat – there is nothing healthy about it.

Of course, Swedish Fish candies aren’t alone – countless products try to position themselves as attractive options for dieters by touting their low-fat or fat-free nutritional content. But really, that one characteristic tells a very incomplete story about the product’s nutritional value (or lack thereof).

Firstly, fat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As we all know, there are bad fats (like those found in fried foods) and good fats (like those found in nuts, olive oil and avocados). Getting those essential healthy fats is important. If you had to pick between a package of Swedish Fish and a handful of unsalted nuts, opting for the fat-free option would be a big misstep. There are many higher-fat food products that are healthy and nourishing.

Secondly, a fat-free label says nothing about the rest of the nutritional content. Like sodium, carbs, calories and sugars. While Swedish Fish may have no fat content, it’s made out of sugar! Sugar is absolutely terrible for the human body – especially if you are looking to release or maintain your body weight. Sugar is flushed with empty calories, has been linked to a number of debilitating and deadly diseases and is quite possibly addictive. In addition, many fat-free salad dressings, for example, cut out the fat but add in extra sugar to enhance the flavoring. The same is often done with salt. Clearly, the fat-free label isn’t telling the full story.

So get the whole truth. Ignore the so-called healthy benefits touted on a product’s packaging. Look at the complete nutritional information (usually found on the side of the packaging) and make an informed decision from there.

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Comments

  1. fat free milk vs whole, 1%, 2%, half n half, heavy cream, etc makes a huge dietary difference… duh! milk fat is really not a good source of anything save creamy-ness and flavor…. if you disagree, why not make you next protein drink with whole milk or half n half… why do you think all those fancy espresso/cappuccino drinks at starbucks are so calorie dense and fattening…. added sugar too…
    and of course there is cheese…. mmmmmm cheese….

    ~ cheers fatties…

  2. Rene R. says:

    you are right even if its fat free you have to read the rest of the label. I found out that if the product is fat free then the sugar level goes up look at a salad dressing a regular one and a fat free one the regular one has less sugar while the fatfree one has possibly twice as much sugar as the original one fat free cookies are possibly the same. I also found out that sugar free cookies are bad too, if you look at the back they have no sugar but they have trans fat. so always read the label. One thing one of my favorite teachers (Mrs. Brink) told me that always eat very fatten delicious food the way it is meant to be, but always very little of it and eat healthy and exercise. there are no short cuts to loosing weight only pateince and hard work

  3. christopher says:

    WOW-What a coincidence-i just returned from IKEA-and those SWEDISH FISH-they were staring at me at the checkout counter and in the Swedish Market inside the store-i didnt buy them-im always critical of what they are made of.like i said-i just returned from Ikea buying candles and a Chinese Wok-for cooking.No Swedish Fish this time.But i did buy some canned red cabbage-red cabbage potatoes-sugar-apple juice-vinegar-salt and thickener-e1422.is this ok?

  4. Im from Sweden and I have never seen those things. Where did u find them? We Sweds like to eat pine cones in snowy mountains, thats what keep us skinny. 🙂

  5. Thank you for magnificent information. Thanks for sharing this content.