You are going to lose weight and you are thinking about changing your diet by introducing light products to the menu. Is it good idea? What do light, slim, fit products contain and how is their caloric content reduced and are they healthy? Check if eating light foods is a good way to lose weight.

What is “light” actually?

Light products, i.e. products with reduced energy value, can be part of a slimming diet. However, it cannot be claimed that they are necessarily recommended. The basis of permanent weight loss is a change in poor eating habits. Above all, we need to eat less, learn to choose valuable products, properly prepare them for consumption and take care of daily physical activity.

The principle is the simple basis for weight loss is a negative energy balance. This means that you should eat fewer calories during the day than your body needs. The caloric deficit means that we start to use adipose tissue as an energy source, so the weight decreases.

Light products contain less fat, more water and preservatives

Light foods are not particularly nutritious. To reduce the calorific value of the product, we must remove something from it. In cheese and curd, fat content is most often reduced. This allows you to save some energy, but along with fat, soluble vitamins are removed (mainly vitamin A and vitamin D, necessary for good eyesight, skin and bones).

This treatment actually reduces the nutritional value of the product, and in some cases also reduces the use of other ingredients. For example, calcium, for which we value dairy so much, is much less absorbable, if it is not accompanied by vitamin D. If we remove something from the product, then we need to fill the free space. Often, the position of the missing ingredient is replaced by water and thickeners that allow it to be retained in the finished product and give it the right shape. The higher the water content, the lower the durability of food, therefore preservatives often appear in products with reduced calories. Some fat can be replaced with sugar, which is also not a good option.

The psychological aspect is also associated with light food. If the product has reduced calorific value, then most often we attach less weight to the amount consumed. This is bad because we don’t learn to control the portion size, and then we can just eat too much. Remember that all products, even light ones, eaten in excessive amounts are the cause of excess weight.

Light is not always… light

When shopping, read the labels carefully. Not every product marked as light, fit or 0% is really low calorie. It is worth checking the composition of dietary sweets. Sugar removed from them is often replaced with fat. Such a chocolate or candy bar with a changed composition can turn out to be very caloric. These products are intended mainly for people with diabetes and not for people who want to lose weight.

Fructose (sugar) or sweeteners are added to dietary products to replace traditional sweets. Fructose has the same energy value as sucrose, but a lower glycemic index. It does not cause a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. In addition, fructose is sweeter than traditional sugar, so we can use less to get the same taste effect.

The economic aspect remains. Light foods are usually more expensive than traditional products, although the quality is not better. Lean food products are therefore not a golden mean in the fight against unnecessary kilograms, it is worth remembering before we throw them into the basket.

Artificial sweeteners are a diverse group of compounds. Some of them, such as saccharin, aspartame or thaumatin, are even several hundred times sweeter than sugar and can be used in minimal amounts to obtain the desired sweetness. They give a sweet taste without any additional increase in calories or only slightly affecting its increase. Sweeteners, however, are not perfect, e.g. aspartame cannot be used for cooking or baking, because at high temperatures it loses its properties and toxic substances are formed. Aspartame products must also be abandoned by patients with phenylketonuria.

Sweeteners belonging to polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, lactitol) have a sweetness similar to sucrose, however, their calorific value per 1 g is lower. They are often used as a sugar substitute. Unfortunately, excessive consumption may cause diarrhoea.

When shopping, read the labels carefully. Not every product marked as light, fit or 0% is really low calorie. It is worth checking the composition of dietary sweets. Sugar removed from them is often replaced with fat. Such a chocolate or candy bar with a changed composition can turn out to be very caloric. These products are intended mainly for people with diabetes and not for people who want to lose weight.

Fructose (sugar) or sweeteners are added to dietary products to replace traditional sweets. Fructose has the same energy value as sucrose, but a lower glycemic index. It does not cause a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. In addition, fructose is sweeter than traditional sugar, so we can use less to get the same taste effect.

The economic aspect remains. Light foods are usually more expensive than traditional products, although the quality is not better. Lean food products are therefore not a golden mean in the fight against unnecessary kilograms, it is worth remembering before we throw them into the basket.

Artificial sweeteners are a diverse group of compounds. Some of them, such as saccharin, aspartame or thaumatin, are even several hundred times sweeter than sugar and can be used in minimal amounts to obtain the desired sweetness. They give a sweet taste without any additional increase in calories or only slightly affecting its increase. Sweeteners, however, are not perfect, e.g. aspartame cannot be used for cooking or baking, because at high temperatures it loses its properties and toxic substances are formed. Aspartame products must also be abandoned by patients with phenylketonuria.

Sweeteners belonging to polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, lactitol) have a sweetness similar to sucrose, however, their calorific value per 1 g is lower. They are often used as a sugar substitute. Unfortunately, excessive consumption may cause diarrhoea.