Dangers with 'Free-From' Products
The ‘war on sugar’ has come on in leaps and bounds in the last year, the most notable development being the tax on sugary soft drinks announced back in March. The problem is, with the promise of 'zero sugar' and 'zero fat' products, something has to replace the sugar and the fat, and it's often something nasty.
I saw an advert in the paper for one of the world’s largest consumer brands, claiming that over 40% of their products sold in the UK are now sugar-free. What they fail to mention however, is what comes in place of that sugar – a concoction of chemicals and sweeteners, (acesulfame potassium and aspartame anyone?), doing us no good whatsoever. A list of nutritional information from one of their drinks reads: '0 Calories, 0g Fat, 0g Carbs, 0g Protein'…0g of goodness!
Of a similar strain are the ‘low fat’ products found in supermarkets. Highly processed low fat food products, think yogurt, cereals and ready meals, are often bulked out with extra sugar and stabilizers to compensate for the flavour lost when fat is removed. A study by Rotherham Institute for Obesity found that a whopping 40% of ‘low fat’ supermarket alternatives had more sugar in than their full fat counterparts.
Bottom line, don’t be fooled by ‘sugar free’ or ‘low fat’ labels, as these products may well contain other nasties in their place. The best way to avoid these? Try to cook from scratch as often as possible. It really is a fail safe way to maintain a healthy diet and control what goes in your body.
Words: Ellen Tewkesbury