“Light” Foods Lead to Heavy Eating

light-foods-lead-to-heavy-eating

Low fat, light, and diet versions of foods may have been developed to help combat the rising obesity rates, but it seems they may be doing just the opposite. The World Health Organization (WHO) called for policies that promote low fat foods, and the food manufacturing industry responded in overwhelming amounts with low fat products found on nearly every grocery shelf. But, new research suggests that plan is backfiring in both the short term and long term.

Many studies have already shown that people will eat more of a food item if they know it is low fat. The positive effects of the low fat version are negated with overconsumption. The new research shows that the first low fat food purchase leads to increased purchasing of the low fat food, increased food consumption, and increased caloric intake. This, in turn, enhances the obesity problem instead of reducing it.

So, what does this mean for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients seeking to reduce their calories and lose weight? Bariatric patients have such a reduced caloric intake that most of their calories should be spent on healthy, high protein foods, whole grains, and heart healthy fats, which should leave little room for low fat foods, especially low fat snack foods. If “light” or low fat foods are chosen, they should otherwise contribute toward meeting your protein requirements (such as skim milk, or low fat yogurt) or contributing another positive health benefit (such as high fiber bread). Bariatric patients should not purchase and consume a food simply because it is low fat, “light” or diet. Doing so would likely prevent the weight loss they desire.

Bariatric patients should focus on consuming fresh, whole foods such as meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. By reducing or eliminating low fat formula foods, they could be reducing their caloric intake sufficient to make their weight loss efforts much easier.


The above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified general surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and obesity surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients come from all over South Florida (including Delray Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Miami, and the Fort Lauderdale area) to his Boca Raton office. His weight loss surgery patients are often seeking advice on healthy eating after surgery and meeting their weight loss goals.

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