Background on Products with the ‘Diet’ Label
So these products with the ‘diet’ label will assist in your weight loss right? Well a recent study shows that people who drink diet soda on a daily basis are more likely to gain weight, over a ten year period, than those who drink no soda at all. Clearly, the concept of ‘diet’ soda – soda with little or no sugar, fat or calories – is backfiring. If diet soda actually makes you fatter, could the same be true of other ‘diet’ products?
Actually, this does seem to be the case. Other studies show that ‘lite’ products – products specially formulated to be lower in fat and calories – also do not cause weight loss in the long term. In fact, some studies suggest that they cause you to gain weight. Why might this be true?
In one way, these studies may be skewed. After all, people who are drawn to diet sodas or ‘lite’ products in the first place are the same people that have significant weight to lose. And this means that they are more likely to have a weight problem, and that they are more likely to gain weight over any given period of time. All that is proven, then, is that the diet and ‘lite’ products don’t work, not that they actually make you gain weight at all.
On the other hand, some experts feel that these products do actually ‘backfire’ and do cause weight gain – not weight loss – in the long term.
Here are the main reasons why these products are likely to fail at weight loss:
First, these products may lull you into a false sense of security. Studies show that if people drink diet soda instead or regular soda or alcoholic beverages, they tend to more than make up for the calories they have ‘saved’ by simply eating more. Over time, of course, the reduced calories from the diet drink is more than made up for by the fact that you’ve eaten more food.
The same is true for diet and ‘lite’ snacks – because they are designed to be low fat or low calorie, we tend to eat more at other meals if we have already eaten ‘diet’ foods that day. It’s almost as though people feel they have ‘done’ their weight loss regimen just by buying and eating these foods. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Though these foods may well be lower in fat and calories, they still take their toll – often without adding much to your daily nutrition.
The other reason why people tend to eat more of these ‘diet’ products is that they are less satisfying than other foods. As a result, we eat more of them than we would of a similar product if it were full calorie. For one thing, a diet cookie or chip is usually smaller than an equivalent product were it full-calorie. So, relying on the fat that it is a ‘diet’ product, we just eat more of them to feel satisfied. This may also be due to the fact that people who are buying these products are already on a restricted diet. If your diet is restricted and boring, you may well be tempted to overindulge on foods that are ‘good’ or that are ‘allowed’ according to your nutrition plan.
What have we learned from these ‘Diet’ weight loss products?
So, all things considered, one good piece of diet and weight loss advice is, ironically enough, to avoid ‘diet’ foods. Of course, there are exceptions – now and then, for example, a ‘diet’ chocolate bar from weight watchers may get you through a craving without doing too much damage. Over time, however, if you make a habit of eating mainly diet foods, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
That brings us down to the question of what is good diet advice – what should you be eating to lose weight? One easy rule to follow is to eat food that is as close as possible to its natural form – food that has been minimally processed, if at all.
You might also want to reduce the amount that you eat. Eat what you like, in other words, but reduce the amount by 25% or so. If you eat at a restaurant, share an entrée, or have the waiter put half of it in a take away container for you. At home, get some smaller plates, to give yourself the illusion of having eaten more than you really have. Follow these simple tips for long term weight loss.