I know it's misleading, but fat-free is NOT free! The other day I was in a small convenience store when I overheard two young girls comparing nutritional labels on snacks foods. They were looking for snacks with the lowest fat content to meet their “New Years Resolutions”. And while I didn’t have the guts to barge in on their conversation, it did make me think about the false logic that exists when it comes to eating right and losing weight.
What’s the outcome if we change our afternoon snack from a 200-calorie candy bar to a 200-calorie bag of pretzels? While the two snacks are by no means equal, we’re not going to lose fat by simply cutting fat out of our diets. If we want to lose weight, we need to look beyond the grams of fat and look at what we’re actually eating and what we’re actually burning each day. If we’re eating more than we’re burning, all of the extra calories will be converted to fat even if they originated from healthy foods!
If you want to see what you’re eating and burning, look up the nutritional values of the foods that you eat and compare that with your metabolic rate and calories burned from exercise. You’ll lose a pound of fat for every 3,500-calorie deficit and gain a pound for every 3,500-calorie surplus. That’s it…no magic…no elaborate nutritional equation. Calories count!
And while it IS a good idea to cut down on our fat intake, it’s also worth the time to see what foods pack the most satisfaction for the least calories. Foods that are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index can help satisfy your hunger for awhile without having to loosen your belt! Lowering fat in your diet can reduce your cholesterol and be a healthier choice overall, but it won’t help you lose any existing fat, in and of itself. So if you’re looking to lose weight, make sure you look at the whole label before you choose a good snack, because fat-free is NOT free!
You can find Fat-free is NOT Free and other motivational fitness information in the January 2007 article of The Bullhorn. You can sign up for this free monthly e-zine below.