You Fall for the “Low-Fat” Label
Products labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free” can do your waistline more harm than good. A 2013 study published in the journal Appetite fed subjects identical meals on separate occasions. The information they received about the meals differed, however, in that one was said to be lower in fat and calories than the other. The researchers found that men consumed on average 3% more calories when noshing on the meals they believed to be low-fat. Foods labeled as such can cause you to increase what you think is an appropriate serving size, underestimate total consumption, and even alleviate guilt in the aftermath.
Avoid the Trap
When companies alter processed foods like cookies, salad dressings, peanut butter, and fruit yogurt to become “low fat,” they typically add sugar to compensate for taste. So if you scarf down a jumbo low-fat muffin, you’ll likely end up eating more calories than if you had a normal-size full-fat muffin. You’re almost always better served by sticking with the real deal (read: plain 2% yogurt and full-fat natural peanut butter) and enjoying them in sensible servings. Besides, the fat these foods contain will help temper hunger pangs so you’re less likely to raid the vending machine later on.