I was proof reading a consumer guide very recently and I was interested to read in the blurb for the advertising page for SAPPI (the South African Pulp and Paper Industry) that they produced chemical cellulose to make low fat dairy products creamier.
I dug further and found that the cellulose used in many foods is processed powder or pulp from virgin wood but that it is not toxic so the FDA has approved it. In fact, the food industry and FDA classify wood cellulose as fiber so any food using this filler is advertised and marketed as “low fat” and “high fiber”.
Apart from meat, other foods have no limits for adding wood cellulose so up to a 30% saving can be made for the manufacturers by using chemical cellulose in place of other ingredients. And it even adds to the shelf life of the product.
But do you really want a wood by product in your food?
It might be fairly natural but it certainly has no nutritious value.
It got me thinking about what else is used to replace the fat when it gets taken out of a product.
It is fairly obvious that when fat is removed from a food item such as cheese, something else has to be put in its place otherwise there would be no customers. Apart from the chemical cellulose, often the culprits are high fructose corn syrup, salt and artificial sweeteners. A very low-fat diet may save you a few calories today, but in the long run it could be setting you up for blood sugar imbalances and even future weight gain.
The healthy fats
Many of us have learnt or know that natural fats, including olive oil, butter from grass fed dairy cows, coconut oil, oily fish and of course grass fed steak, are all very healthy for you if eaten in moderation.
The type of fats to be avoided at all costs
These are hydrogenated oils and polyunsaturates, like soybean and vegetable oil, with their pro-inflammatory properties.
And yet the mainstream media and many doctors are still preaching their low fat diet sermon.
Care2.com, in an article stating the world’s healthiest foods are whole foods, pointed out that their nutrients have a natural synergy with each other so that when you remove some or all of the fat from milk, for example, you throw its nutritional profile out of sync – you discard all of the health benefits when you discard the fat.
Also important to know is that good fats help you to digest carbohydrates properly by slowing their digestion down, reducing the rush and subsequent drop of sugar in the blood. For example a baked potato with a little butter is always better for your body than a plain potato or another example, one spoonful of full fat sour cream on your potato is far more satisfying than three scoops of non-fat sour “cream.” It works in two ways, being more beneficial for your body as well as your mind as there is then no sense of being deprived.
There are two other angles about low fat foods to know
- One is that low fat foods trick you into overeating because when a consumer starts to eat them, he often finds them less satisfying and less enjoyable than full fat food so is tempted to keep on eating more than he would if he had started with full fat food in the first place.
- Second is that three studies carried out by the Food and Brand Lab found that putting low–fat labels on snack foods had a detrimental effect and actually encouraged people to eat up to 50% more. This was because just seeing the words 'low–fat' made consumers feel that the product had less calories so they could safely eat more.
Have you been following a low fat diet?
Think about what is in the low fat products you are eating and how you can change to a healthier and more nutritious way.