Ditch diet foods for weight loss success? Yep! Low calorie or low fat diet foods have been around forEVER. And while the demonized nutrient in question changes, the same basic premise remains. Here’s why I encourage my clients to eat the real thing, even when they have a big health or weight loss goal.

Less Satisfying = More Cravings

Especially with a treat food, choosing the light or diet food version is likely to backfire. It will be lower on the tasty scale (fat carries flavour and is low in both low fat/low cal foods) and so won’t satisfy the actual craving your brain had. This generally keeps the craving going as you haven’t scratched the right itch, causing you to eat more of the diet food, which defeats the purpose of choosing something lower cal in the first place.

When it comes to treats, enjoy a smaller amount of the REALLY good real thing. Your brain and taste buds will be more satisfied and the craving cycle can complete.

Less Filling = More Food Eaten

Lower calorie and low fat diet foods are less filling on a physical level. Fat’s job is to slow our stomach emptying down which helps us stay fuller longer. When you use that diet salad dressing on your salad, you’re setting yourself up to get hungrier, earlier. Haven’t we all been there where we felt like we ate so clean all day just to get knocked on to our butt with ravenous hunger before dinner (and inhaling everything in the pantry)? Having a small amount of fat with each meal helps turn the hunger dial down, which usually makes adjusting your portions and eating easier as the day goes on.

Less Nutrients= More Hunger

Diet foods tend to be HIGHLY processed in order to manipulate the nutrient content. That means that many of the key vitamins, minerals, and fibre may have been lost in the process. It also leads to a faster rise in blood sugar and insulin (as is true with all highly processed foods) which can contribute to cravings, and a gradual rise in hunger hormones. The more diet foods you eat, likely the hungrier you are. This isn’t an across the board condemnation of foods that are lower calorie, but something I see in clients who rely on them more heavily and more often.

Low Calorie or Low Fat Diet Foods You May Want To Swap

  • Light or low fat salad dressing -> regular dressing
  • Light or reduced calorie peanut butter (generally higher in sugar) -> Regular natural PB
  • Low fat cheese -> Full fat/regular cheese with good flavour (think aged cheddar, parmesan etc – more flavour = less needed)
  • 0% MF yogurt->2% + yogurt
  • Low calorie cereals -> Regular oats (rolled or steel cut)
  • Light chips -> your favourite regular flavour and kind
  • Low fat chocolate -> a small amount of your favourite delicious sweet
I hope you’re feeling a little more freedom to focus on including foods you really love, add flavour and make healthy eating enjoyable! Treats should be treats, your brain rarely buys into the diet version.If you’re eating diet foods because you struggle with cravings getting out of control or emotional eating that is throwing you off track, you’re not alone! Learn more and waitlist for our kickbutt Conquer Your Cravings program here. 

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