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Are fat free foods really free of fat?


imagesHY9LULRKThe primary purpose of snacking is to take the edge off pre-mealtime hunger without exceeding your everyday caloric needs. Mindful snacking — or eating a nutritious, properly-portioned snack when hunger strikes — boosts your intake of essential nutrients and health-promoting food substances such as fibre and antioxidants. Careless snacking, on the other hand, can easily take you over your daily energy requirements while providing little to no nutritional benefit — a practice that can contribute to the development of a range of health problems.



Many of the most widely consumed snack foods are high in refined carbohydrates and low in nutritional value. They contain more calories and are less satiating than fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. They are the source of the obesity epidemic amongst adolescents.


Consuming too many refined or sugar-rich foods can cause high blood triglyceride levels while decreasing levels of health-promoting HDL cholesterol and may contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress, according to the American Heart Association. These conditions are indicators for an increased risk of developing heart disease, especially when accompanied by excess weight.


Eating frequently increases the risk of tooth decay. When your teeth come in contact with food more often, the bacteria in plaque has more time to produce enamel-damaging acids. This is particularly true for carbohydrate-rich foods, because the simple sugars that make up carbohydrates are what feed plaque bacteria. Sticky foods, or those that leave food particles between teeth or in molar pits — including dried fruit, granola bars and crackers — take longer to dissolve and therefore fuel acid production for significantly longer.

  • Processed foods lack fibre, micronutrients, and healthful plant substances called phytochemicals that protect against heart disease and diabetes.


imagesDB0TEB4GThe original snacks foods (namkeens) have been forced to share the shelf space with the “diet namkeens” that are baked or roasted as opposed to being fried. Now, is the cooking method sufficient enough to transform them from being unhealthy to being healthy? Not exactly! Let’s show you how – what has been conveniently overlooked is the ingredients that make these healthy namkeens that still remain unchanged. These namkeens might still be high in sodium, sugar, oil & other ingredients like unhealthy flour, and are only relatively healthier than the original namkeens. And the marketing works­—there is widespread buy-in that these products are in fact “better for you,” rather than simply “less awful for you.” That, in turn, leads people to consider them to be healthy and almost certainly increases their consumption.

Hazards of eating baked chips no less than fried !!

INGREDIENTS OF BAKED CHIPS– Potato flakes(47%), wheat flour, edible starch, edible vegetable oil, sugar,salt, antioxidant(322), natural colours(160b,150c) Potato chips can be a satisfyingly crunchy snack, but they are high in fat and sodium. Baked potato chips are a lower-fat alternative, but that doesn’t mean that they’re nutritious. While baked potato chips do supply small doses of calcium, potassium and iron, they shouldn’t be a regular part of your healthy eating plan because they’re much higher in sodium and contain more calories per cup than regular potato chips.

Fat A serving of regular potato chips, which is equal to about 1 cup, contains 10.32 grams of fat, of which 1.13 grams are saturated. A 1-cup serving of baked potato chips contains 6.19 grams of fat, of which less than 1 gram is saturated. If you’re watching your intake of fat, baked potato chips are the healthier option. Restricting your intake of fat, particularly unhealthy saturated fat, can help prevent elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease. Too much saturated fat can lead to unhealthy weight gain, and watching your intake is one way to help maintain an appropriate weight.

Sodium A major nutritional drawback to potato chips is the large amount of sodium added to the food to enhance the flavor. A 1-cup serving of baked potato chips contains 216 milligrams of sodium toward your daily upper limit of 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium, depending on your age and health status. Compared to regular potato chips, which contain 136 milligrams of sodium per cup, baked potato chips are the less healthy version. While small amounts of sodium help your muscles and nerves work properly, regularly consuming too much can cause water retention. Too much sodium increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and high blood pressure as well. A spokesperson of PepsicCo India, a division of which markets the popular Lay’s brand of chips, has said baked chips have been included in Lay’s portfolio in an attempt to expand the range. ‘Lay’s Baked offers consumers a wider choice and snacking options with the same great tasting experience, with 50 per cent less fat as compared to regular fried potato chips,’ he said.But nutritionists say the reduced fat content doesn’t make the chips healthy in any way.

The presence of hydrogenated fats in the baked chips is what makes it so lethal. Hydrogenated fats are supposed to be the most harmful of artificial additives and should be avoided at all costs. A U.S. FDA data on baked chips shows that they contain more than three times the level of acryl amide, a type of carcinogen, as compared to regular chips. Acryl amides are cancer causing chemicals that are created when foods are grilled, fried, baked or roasted at fairly high temperatures. It is thought that amino acid found in starchy foods, changes its form when heated to become acryl amide. High temperature cooking methods such as frying, baking, roasting or broiling have been found to produce the most acrylamides, while boiling and steaming produce far less. ‘Many chemicals are stealthily included in these, which mean that while you are getting less of the unhealthy fat in the baked chips, you are getting other ingredients instead that are just as bad for you. The levels of sodium and potassium in these baked chips are higher, to increase their palatability quotient,’ Neelanjana Singh, consultant nutritionist, PSRI Hospital, said.

Junk food makers like Haldirams, Jabsons, Garden spend over billions on advertising unhealthy snack foods, namkeens and chips.Promotions often use taglines like “ZERO CHOLESTEROL”, “ZERO TRANSFAT”, “30% LESS FAT” to entice the customer into the junk food fold. On T.V. alone, the average child sees about 5,500 food commercials a year that advertise high sugar breakfast cereals, fast food and snacks, according to Yale RND Centre for Food Policy and Obesity. Compare that to the fewer than 100 TV ads per year kids see for healthy foods like fruits and veggies.


Just because a label states that it is fat free, that doesn’t mean that it actually is. According to the Food and Drug Administration, foods can be labelled as ‘zero transfat’ or even ‘zero cholesterol’ even if they contain less than 0.5 gm of transfat per serving. It doesn’t seem like a half gram of fat can really do much damage. That might be true if you only eat the RECOMMENDED SERVING SIZE OF YOUR fat free food. But we often consume much more than what we are supposed to. And when a food is labelled transfat free, cholesterol free or when we have a perception that a food is healthy, we have a tendency to eat even more. Therefore it is always a good idea to look at the food label closely and must notice the serving size to make sure that you are not consuming too much of cholesterol or transfat.


If you really want to know if your fat-free food contains fat, look beyond Nutrition Facts label to the list of ingredients. Look for any of the following words:

  • Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • shortening
  • milk solids
  • cream
  • palm oil
  • coconut oil
  • palm kernel oil
  • any other kind of oil

Fats (saturated or partially saturated/ partially hydrogenated/ transfat) raise blood cholesterol levels and when consumed in significant amounts can raise your risk of heart diseases.


Baked potato chips and tortilla chips tend to be lower in calories and fat than fried chips, although they may still contain high sodium levels. Unsalted whole-wheat pretzels and air-popped popcorn are low-fat, low-calorie options that also provide extra fibre, making them better snack choices than chips. Other healthy alternatives include low-sodium, baked vegetable chips or apple chips.


Kids require healthy food when growing up, and as a parents need to go the extra mile to ensure he does not binge on unhealthy snacks. The best way to keep a child from eating outside is by making snacks for him at home. There are a lot of kid snack recipes available online that one can try out. They are simple to make and will make the child prefer healthy, home food. Parents should also educate him on the ill effects of fast food with practical examples. Find tasty alternatives for burgers and chips and similar items. You can also minimize the oil you put in your snacks.     Using these healthy snack alternatives, you can continue enjoying to snack without piling on the pounds. You will probably find that you already have many of these healthy snacks in your cupboards at home.

1. Carrot Sticks These days most people will only ever eat a carrot which has been cooked. However, they taste delicious when raw. You can cut the carrot into small sticks and eat it as is. You might also like to make up a few dips to make the carrot taste even better. This is an unbeatable natural snack food that is very good for you. You will be getting nutrients and fiber from the vegetable, rather than empty calories.

2. Fruit Fresh fruit is another good alternative to candy and potato chips. Fresh fruit tastes wonderful and is more convenient than most people imagine. Bananas in particular are very good because they release the energy slowly into your body. This means that your blood sugar levels will not suddenly peak, so there won’t be any danger of a crash.

3. Smoothie A smoothie is a delicious drink which is actually surprisingly filling. These drinks are made with fruit juice and pulp. They are all the rage at the moment because they’re so healthy. The fruit can either be fresh or frozen and then blended with water, ice, juice or milk. This is a great way to make sure you’re eating enough fruit.

4. Pop Corn Popcorn isn’t normally seen as a healthy snack, but it’s not actually that bad for you. The bad part about popcorn is the toppings. It is often smothered in butter, sugar, honey or salt. As long as you resist adding anything to the popcorn, it will technically still be a vegetable.

5. Nuts and Seeds Nuts and seeds are also good for you and contain lots of useful energy. Avoid buying salted nuts, because the salt certainly isn’t good for you. Try to buy peanuts still in their shells, because these not only taste delicious, but having to crack them yourself might actually stop you from eating too many.      

6. Sweet Potato Sweet potato is a delicious vegetable which is perfect for snacking on. They can be steamed or even microwaved and then enjoyed straight from the skins. No seasoning is required because the flesh is delicious as it is. These healthy snacks are all good for you. However, it’s important to realize that everything should be eaten in moderation. Eating too much of anything can cause harm to your body. It’s vital that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet.




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