The truth about light foods: they do not lose weight

As you surely know, each food has and has a certain energy value, which ultimately simply and simply translates into its content or caloric intake. For example, there are foods with a high caloric intake (as is the case of foods rich in simple sugars such as sweets, or fatty foods such as butter or oil), and others that have a lower energy value (vegetables and greens) , some fruit…).

However, for a few decades began to appear in the market a group of apparently light foods, as a claim for those people who did not want to continue adding an excess of calories to their diet, and above all, for those who were following a diet for lose weight.

They are known as light foods (or light foods). Basically we can define them as those that have 30% less energy than their conventional counterpart food. For example, in the case of a sugary drink like a soft drink, we could consider as "light" the version of the same brand that has 30% less energy.

So, they are light foods, to which their content in sugar or fat has been replaced by less energetic ingredients. For this reason they are also known as light foods, because they have fewer calories.

This means that in order for a food to really be considered as light, it must have at least a 30% reduction in the energy value with respect to the reference food, which obviously is not light.

For this type of food to maintain a taste similar to that of the original foods, it is common for the fat or sugar to be exchanged for substances known as imitators or substitutes. In the case of light sweet foods, for example, it is common to use polyols (such as sorbitol, xylitol or mannitol) that actually contribute little energy, or those known as non-caloric sweeteners (such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose or cyclamate, among others).

These elements are commonly used in light foods with the objective of replacing sugar, since they tend to provide less energy, are absorbed slowly and incompletely in our intestines, do not cause tooth decay or affect blood glucose levels . However, they do have a side effect mostly known to everyone, and that is that consumed at high doses can be a direct cause of diarrhea.

It is precisely for these qualities that the consumption of light sweet foods are useful for people who are overweight or obese, diabetes or hypertriglyceridemia can continue to eat sweet foods without sugar can pose a health problem.

But we must not get confused. Unless we are facing a diabetic product that does not have sugar, those that indicate that they do not contain sugars can contain fructose, which is definitely another type of sugar, so that their caloric intake does not remain low. To opt for a really low calorie food, it is ideal that they do not contain sugars, sucrose, maltodextrin, fructose or any other sweetener.

Why light foods do not lose weight?

However, due to its lower caloric content, it is even thought that light foods lose weight. Even tends to use such a pretext usually in order to eat this type of food in greater quantity, supposedly because they do not gain weight and because ultimately it is believed that they also help to lose weight.

However, we are faced with an erroneous belief, since light foods help the diet have less energy, but do not lose weight by themselves. At this point we must understand to lose weight due to the decrease of the fatty tissue of the body, which is only achieved by maintaining a balanced hypocaloric diet and combining it with the practice of regular physical exercise.

Let's take an example. Have you stopped to observe the label of a mayonnaise or a chocolate in its light version, and have you compared it with its normal version? Sure you would be surprised to discover that they continue to be equally rich in calories, although their fat intake is less.

It is true that, as such, they tend to lose less weight than the same food in its non-light version, but they do not lose weight on their own. We are, therefore, faced with a lack of belief, closely related to the different and different errors that are usually committed when following the known ones as diets to lose weight. This article is published for informational purposes only. You can not and should not replace the consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.