It is not uncommon to be enticed into aiming for foods with fewer calories.
Fewer calories means less eventual body fat… right?
As much as we hate to burst your bubble --this is simply untrue.
Exchanging regular colas for diet and swapping out crunchy and chocolaty treats for thinner “sugar-less” versions is just not enough. These tradeoffs alone are merely ways we can trick ourselves into the belief that what we snack on and treat ourselves to is now magically healthy.
All just because it now comes with a “zero-calorie” label.
Today, we talk about how zero calorie foods may cause you to overeat, and even contain a lot more calories than you think.
Where did all these Zero Calorie Foods Come From??
This may shock you, but big food manufacturers are not really trying to help you live healthier lives with their products.
This revelation may seem obvious to some and shocking to others, but the end goal of big food companies is simple: they all just want you to buy their products.
Before we here in the US became as health conscious as we are today, selling food products was much simpler-- less competition, less awareness and interest in the ingredients, less concern about how it’s all made and even more shelf space to display products on.
That was only as far back as 40 to 60 years ago. Fast forward to today, and each individual food manufacturer must outsmart and out-think all their competition. How they do this is by placing themselves where their customers interests are: health consciousness.
A study was done by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity on what factors caused people to order this and not that on a restraint menu, and the biggest factor was the calorie count that was printed beside the food item on the menus.
More than ever in the US, consumers are buying reduced calorie and “healthier” versions of their favorite products and meals than ever before. This boom in health awareness and genuine interest in real ingredients has led to big food producers to try and make their already existing products look as healthy as possible. The cheapest way to make they can make this happen?
Bend the truth a little.
Calorie Counts Can Be Legally “Off”
This rule is in place to protect food companies in times they make an honest mistake, as some servings may involve a cookie or two that is accidentally smaller or even larger than the average.
However, it is not unheard of that a food manufacturer or two may try and take advantage of this rule and print their calorie count with a 25% reduction. To be on the safe side-- always add an extra 25% to the printed calorie count. This will not get you the truest number, but if calorie counting is your thing when it comes to snacking, then you will get truer results.
Nothing in this world is truly "Free"
Food companies are allowed to say “zero calories” if it actually contains no more than 5 calories.
Don’t believe everything you read in a grocery store, as the labels are designed to convince you to buy rather than be informed. When you spy a label that says that it contains “zero calories”, know that chances are that this is untrue.
Legally, a product can be labeled as “zero calories” as long as it contains fewer than 5 calories. Is this that much of a caloric difference? Not really, but like all things in life, nothing is free.
...not even when it comes to calories.
"American Adults Are Choosing Healthier Foods, Consuming Healthier Diets | USDA." Usda.gov. N. p., 2018. Web. 26 Feb. 2018. "History: 1950S." Adage.com. N. p., 2003. Web. 26 Feb. 2018. Ellison, Brenna, Jayson L Lusk, and David Davis. "Looking at The Label And Beyond: The Effects Of Calorie Labels, Health Consciousness, And Demographics On Caloric Intake In Restaurants." International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 10.1 (2013): 21. Web. 26 Feb. 2018. Niknian, M, R C Lefebvre, and R A Carleton. “Are People More Health Conscious? A Longitudinal Study of One Community.” American Journal of Public Health 81.2 (1991): 205–207. Print.
"Food Label Claims And Guidelines :: Provided By Myfooddiary.Com." Myfooddiary.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 26 Feb. 2018. "CFR - Code Of Federal Regulations Title 21." Accessdata.fda.gov. N. p., 2018. Web. 26 Feb. 2018.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. This article is for general information only.