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A standard McVitie’s chocolate digestive contains 85 calories; a light one has 77 – a difference of just 8 calories which can be burned off in less than a minute of swimming or running.
A Tesco low-fat yogurt has more calories per pot – 130 – versus the Activia standard yoghurt with 123 calories.
Our research also uncovered misconceptions amongst consumers about what the terms reduced fat and light mean.
In August Populus surveyed 1,005 UK residents online about their consumption of low-fat, reduced and light foods asking: how often they ate these foods, the reasons they chose for doing so and what they thought the terms low-fat, reduced-fat and light meant.
We took a snapshot sample of twelve low-fat, reduced and light products from across all supermarkets, and compared them with their standard counterparts and other products on criteria such as the calorie, fat, sugar, salt content and compared ingredients.
Although the individual ingredients in granola and trail mixes are usually healthy on their own, the premixed varieties often contain butter and oil, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates. Breakfast bars, energy bars, and other convenience bars are often nothing more than glorified candy bars. Try instead: If you need to have a bar on the go, look for brands that use almond butter, dates and other healthy ingredients as the main base of the bar. Try instead: Buy plain, whole milk yogurt or Greek yogurt, then add your own fresh berries or defrosted frozen fruit with its natural syrups. Try instead: Water is always your best bet, but if you need something with a little more punch, try soda water with lemon. When watching your weight, it’s smart to shrink portion sizes, but these handy little snacks are deceiving.
Try instead: Make your own healthy snacks at home, then portion them out in smaller, zip-top bags.
Try instead: Make your own dressings using extra virgin olive oil, herbs, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice as a base. Fat-free anything usually contains added sugar, sometimes up to two or three times as much as the full-fat versions. High-fructose corn syrup and other artificial ingredients are added to help the foods stay on the shelf longer. Fifty years ago Diet Pepsi was first marketed, trying to fix a link in consumers' minds between sugar-free fizzy drinks and weight loss.
A soft drink produced for diabetic patients at New York's Jewish Sanitarium for Chronic Disease in the early 1950s called No-Cal ballooned in popularity, far beyond the customer base its maker expected. This caught the attention of Royal Crown, a cola maker, which introduced Diet Rite Cola in 1962.
In the US, Wal-Mart has the "Great for you" tag, and both it and Target sell third party products under the "Healthy Choice" banner. Coca-Cola produces Coke Zero alongside Diet Coke, with the two drinks aimed at different markets - the Coke company found young men were unwilling to buy Diet Coke, feeling the word "diet" was too nagging and feminine.PepsiCo's advertising for its low- or no-calorie drinks is often geared specifically towards an enviable figure.
Mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik wins part of a human rights case against the Norwegian state, alleging "inhuman or degrading treatment".
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Pauls low-fat milk is lacking in that satiating creaminess that is unmistakable in Pauls Whole Milk. I love the taste and the fact it has so much calcium in so I feel I'm getting enough without worrying or taking supplements. Overall, this is a calcium enriched milk which should only be drunk by those desperate for calcium, especially those of you who don't have taste buds. I think once you start drinking lite milk, its very hard to get back to the taste of full cream milk. After looking up the protein count (13.5 g per serving of 250ml) I decided to give this a shot after trying other milk. So much calcium which is important to me (being a woman) and the added Vitamin D ensures you are absorbing all that calcium. Marketers use a variety of tricks to make foods seem healthier and more appealing than their competitors, particularly when it comes to products aimed at children. A recent study found consumers’ perceptions of two identical chocolate bars were influenced by the colour of the nutrition label; despite the identical calorie information, people perceived the one with the green label to be healthier. Another tool of savvy food marketers is the use of “ticks” and “seals” that we subconsciously process as indicating that the product has met some form of certification criteria. A recent study found that nutrition seals on unhealthy food products increased perceptions of healthiness among restrained eaters. Food packaging often contains words that imply the food contains certain ingredients, or has been prepared in a way, that makes it healthier (or at least better than similar foods). For example, Activia “can” help to reduce digestive discomfort – but did you read the fine print? Similarly, Berri Super Juice contains antioxidants which “help” fight free radicals (but so does whole fruit, which also contains more fibre). Fountain’s Smart Tomato Sauce still contains 114mg of salt per serving, while the brand’s regular tomato sauce contains 186mg (more than several other brands).
The Heart Foundation defines low-salt foods as those with less than 120mg per 100g; Fountain’s Smart tomato sauce has 410mg per 100ml.
So, if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake it may be a good choice, but if you are trying to reduce your sodium intake, look for one of the low-salt varieties and read the label very carefully (reduced is rarely synonymous with low). Smiths’ Thinly Cut potato chips contain 75% less fat than “chips cooked in 100% Palmolein Oil”.
A common strategy is to list a claim that is, in itself, completely true – but to list it in a way that suggests that this product is unique or unusual (when in reality it is no different to most foods in that category).
This is not to suggest that Bega Stringers are a bad product or that you shouldn’t buy them – just that you may want to think about the cost per serve compared to other cheeses that are equally healthy.
While contentious, some have even suggested that there is a link between fruit juice and both obesity and metabolic disease, particularly for children. If, for example, you’re watching your weight, you may be attracted to the Go Natural Gluten Free Fruit & Nut Delight bar, assuming that it will be a healthier choice than a candy bar.

A 53g Mars bar contains slightly more calories (1020kJ) but a lot less fat (9.1g), although the Go Natural bar could argue for “healthier” fat given the 40% nut content. So, can we really distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods by looking at the wrappers? The healthiest wrappers are made by nature, from the simple ones that can be eaten after washing (like apples and carrots) to those that need some disposal (like a banana or a fresh corn cob). Our Speech Pathologist, Dietitian and Skincare Nurse offer 15min free health screening consults. Last weekend, when my mother and I went do grocery shopping, she saw her holding two different brands of yogurt.
First, when the manufacturers reduce fat, it usually adds other ingredients to make up for the taste.
Moreover, when the label says low-fat, it can be only fewer calories than the regular ones, but most people think that they have much lower fewer calories.
To find out more about healthy eating tips, check out Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink. I had my suspicions about low-fat labels when I first tried out a particular brand of low-fat milk. In some non-fat foods, you might find substitutes for sugar – aspartame, which is quite alarming. I’ve been taking care of my diabetic mother & after having to read ALL labels of everything she eats, I agree!
My husband is allergic to the low-calorie version of the Philippines’ most popular beer, San Miguel (San Mig Light). Products labelled with these terms only have to contain 30 per cent less fat than the standard version, yet only sixteen per cent of those people surveyed understood this. We looked at a broad range of different foods products from the leading food brands to give an overall picture of how low-fat, reduced and light products differ from the standard versions.
Making it tougher, many foods labeled as healthy, fat-free, sugar-free and such are really nothing more than marketing gimmicks.
Many restaurants and chain stores often use pre-made mixes containing fatty creams, fructose corn syrup, flavorings, coloring, thickening agents, preservatives, and other chemicals.
For those with health issues, it’s important to know that dried fruits are high in simple sugars. When it comes to high-calorie snacks such as nuts, be sure to keep the portions small, such as around half a cup.
These grab and go treats are usually filled with high fructose corn syrup, added sugar, preservatives, and GMO fillers like corn and soy. These bars will keep you full and more energized in the long run since they’re packed with protein and nutrients without a lot of sugar, salt, and bad fats.
You’ll save money, and get more nutrients from it with satisfying and filling alternatives include nuts, fresh fruit or veggies. It turned out more than half the people buying No-Cal weren't diabetic - they were just watching their weight.
There's a particular reason the supermarkets go down this route, says Marc David, a nutritional psychologist and founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. One of its earliest slogans in the 1960s was "The girls girl-watchers watch, drink Diet Pepsi". Both the no fat and low fat varieties taste so watery and I just can't recommend it to anybody, even those in need of more calcium as other milk has a great deal of calcium, too. This is a great milk to drink for those who want to increase their calcium intake and this is an easy way to do it.
After reading some of the reviews, I think I should investigate exactly how much calcium there is in this milk compared to the regular milks as well. I like that it has so much calcium so I don't need much to get my RDI and I also like that it has next to no fat. But don’t hold your breath for an at-a-glance food labelling system that tells you how much salt, fat and sugar each product contains. One of the most powerful advertising tools a food manufacturer has is the packaging, as it’s what we look at immediately before deciding which food to purchase.
And a study with parents of toddlers found 20% of parents identified the presence of a quality seal as one of the reasons for their purchase of toddler formula rather than cow’s milk. While the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code regulates the use of specific health and nutrient content claims, it doesn’t regulate or define these loose terms. This allows manufacturers to avoid allegations of breaching advertising or labelling regulations, while being such a commonly used word that it is overlooked by the consumer.
It “can” help if you eat it twice a day and “… as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle”. But they don’t contain less fat than Original Thins, Kettle, or most other brands on the market. But most standard cheeses (including many packaged products such as cheese slices) also contain no artificial colours of flavours.
The old adage of “salt-sugar-fat” holds here; products that are low (or absent) in one are typically very high in another. Those of us who can’t resist more than one snake might be surprised to realise that if we ate half the bag, we would have consumed two-thirds of our daily sugar intake (although we can’t blame the pack labelling for that!). Let’s start with “cholesterol free” – this is totally true, but all rice is cholesterol free. In much smaller letters that almost disappear against the colour of the package is the word “naturally”. But the “naturally” refers to the fact that what makes it low GI is the use of basmati rice rather than another variety, and other brands’ basmati rice would have a similar GI. You may conclude from this that the sugar content is low, but a closer look at the nutrition information label may surprise you – a 200ml serve of this super juice contains 25.8g of sugar (29% of your recommended daily allowance). This first struck me when I was looking for a snack at my local gym and noticed the “Healthy Cookies” on display; they had more sugar, more fat and less fibre than all of the others on sale (Healthy Cookies was the brand name).

Research has found that people rate food as healthy or unhealthy based on pre-existing perceptions of the healthiness of a product category or descriptor, particularly among those who are watching their diet, and may thus select the unhealthier option based on its name or product category. We need to see past the colours, pictures and cleverly-crafted claims and take a careful look at the ingredients and nutrition panel. It is a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. ENT Wellbeing, located at ENT Clinic in Randwick, Sydney, are here to provide advice, treatment and practical remedies. When I took the same brand’s standard milk, I noticed that the low-fat version was way sweeter. I’ve learned label reading a long time ago and know that many times, when food items says FAT FREE, the fat is replaced by something else. Apparently our bodies can eat anything… So when they take away fat they can add whatever they want to replace it.
We are calling on Morrisons andIceland, the two remaining supermarkets yet to adopt the traffic light labelling system, to do so as soon as possible.
Frozen fruits are relatively inexpensive, naturally thicken and sweeten your smoothie, and add other important nutrients. Also, consider making homemade trail mix using your favorite unsalted nuts and naturally dried fruits (without extra sugar added).
Most sports drinks are full of artificial sweeteners, fructose corn syrups, and are high in calories.
Avoid added sugar, hydrogenated oils artificial sweeteners, and anything you can’t pronounce or find readily in nature.
I suggest to my friends who take no calcium supplements to drink Pauls and that way the calcium may help there aging bones.I imagine the majority of your customers would be in my age group. However, this one has quite a bit more so if you're suffering from a lack of calcium, this is the right milk for you if you can bear it.
I cannot taste any difference between the No Fat and the Low Fat versions, both tasted lighter than regular milk. Also this does not taste like plain water either which I have found to be a problem with other skim milk. Australia’s proposed “health star rating” labelling scheme was put on hold in February, following pressure from the food industry. This use of different colours to attract, or not attract, attention is a common marketing technique. Passionate about health and wellbeing, we write about issues relevant to our clinical practice. For instance, the box of ice cream you buy may have claimed FAT FREE but the taste is replaced with tons of sugar.
Aron White, Avionics Specialist with the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard takes advantage of great food from local food trucks arranged by the Key Spouse Program during Operation Eagle Claw a Combat Skills Training Exercise, Jacksonville Fl, February 28, 2014. Many people eat these bars as a snack, not realizing it contains as many calories as a full meal. It’s full of electrolytes and potassium to hydrate you quickly and help in muscle recovery.
Pepsi was forced to act.But PepsiCo was not sure there was a big enough market for their diet drink, or that it would be successful. General disclaimer: All third party trademarks, images and copyrights on this page are used for the purpose of comparative advertising, criticism or review. Are the companies who produce ‘fat free’ labels really wanting to look after our health? There's a sense of empowerment to that - I can make choices and eat food that will make me feel healthier."Modern consumers prefer to be inspired rather than chided.
The avoidance of the dreaded d-word can "strike a chord with a more demanding 'lifestyle-driven' consumer", believes Forster. They released the drink, but avoided connecting it to their main Pepsi brand, worried a potential failure could tarnish the brand they had spent years building. Emulsifiers get the ingredients to stick together, and thickeners normally account for most the rest of the additional ingredients. When they recognised the fad for diet food and drink wasn't disappearing, they renamed Patio.But the creation of Diet Pepsi, and Diet Coke in the early 1980s, have not led to the proliferation of the term "diet" across lower-calorie food and drinks. Coca-Cola this month unveiled Coke Life, a drink that contains sugar and new natural sweetener stevia and has 89 calories per can, compared to 139 in normal Coke. Communication has to be very direct, and being aspirational sells."In many sectors the word 'diet' has evolved to 'light'," Forster says. If people are looking for an excuse to eat junk food, low-fat label has given them a good reason to do so. The average annual intake of fizzy drinks is dropping, with the average American drinking nearly a fifth less than a decade ago.And while standard versions of soft drinks have retained roughly the same market share in the past decade, according to data collated by Beverage Digest, an industry magazine, diet drinks have lost ground. Wander a grocery aisle in today's supermarkets and there are plenty of reduced-calorie ready meals, prepared foods and canned and bottled drinks - but almost none of them use the word "diet".The brand names are fuzzier and warmer than simply slapping "diet" on the label.
In 1993, PepsiCo introduced Pepsi MAX, a sugar-free carbonated soft drink that targets a similar audience to those who drink Diet Pepsi.
In the UK, Tesco's reduced calorie and fat products are sold under the "Healthy Living" brand - previously this was called "Light Choices". Combined, PepsiCo's sugar-free alternatives account for 68% of the company's total sales in the cola category.
Marks & Spencer use the "Fuller Longer" and "Count on us" brands to market their reduced calorie and fat foods.
But the two big diet colas will long remain powerful brands.Subscribe to the BBC News Magazine's email newsletter to get articles sent to your inbox.

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