Can Diet Foods Make You Fat? Learn Why the Answer is 'Yes'

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Appealing to our desire for trim tummies and whittled waistlines, many of us automatically buy any and every product labeled "Diet." Just one problem: Some of those marketing labels don't live up to their promise. Some so-called diet products actually contain more calories than the regular versions, while others include so many artificial ingredients that they're more like Frankenfoods than Dr. Frankenstein could ever have envisioned. From artificial sweeteners to fat-free foods, learn about the good, the bad and the scary of diet foods.

Sugar-Free Foods

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In a blog for Dr. Mehmet Oz's site, Dr. Mao Shing Ni cautions that those sugar-free sodas, as well as foods containing artificial sweeteners ranging from candy to dairy products, can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. They can also confuse your body, causing you to experience blood sugar spikes. Better choices include a small amount of honey or stevia. Read the labels carefully, and if the ingredient list contains sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium or neotame, skip it.

Fat-Free Foods

Do you suffer from fear of fat, thinking that it will make you fat? Wrong. In fact, your body needs healthy fats to function properly. If you buy fat-free foods, you may be getting products that contain just as many calories as the regular versions and even more sugar. In addition, you may not feel satisfied, causing you to consume even more calories. Better choices include nuts, seeds, organic eggs, coconut and avocados. Get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids in fish such as salmon. Are you a vegan or vegetarian? Get your healthy fats in flaxseed, walnuts and chia seeds. Read the labels carefully, and avoid products with the words "partially hydrogenated."

Ideas for Implementing These Tips

Here are some suggestions for putting these healthy eating tips into action:

  • In the morning, add stevia rather than sugar to your morning coffee or tea. Mix your oatmeal with a spoonful of honey.
  • Craving a diet soda? Make your own lemonade by mixing a squeeze of fresh lemon juice with a spoonful of stevia and lots of ice cubes. Or, make iced tea and use tea bags stirred with honey, then poured over ice.
  • Considering fat-free mayonnaise to mix with your chopped chicken salad? Put back that bottle! Instead, use plain Greek yogurt mixed with tuna or salmon for a heart-healthy salad topping.
  • Time for a snack, and you're considering fat-free cookies. Not so fast. Try almond butter spread on half an apple for a tasty, healthy treat.
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