Kerry Torrens explains why some low-fat diets are high in sugar, and how the white stuff may be scuppering your weight-loss goals...
Although we think of sugar as the stuff in our sugar bowl, that's not the full picture. Many foods, such as white bread, pasta and rice, are made up of mostly simple carbohydrates, which we break down into sugar during the digestion process.
These foods, like sugar, can cause blood sugar swings and cravings, and if you eat too many your body converts the excess into fat for storage. Some low-fat diets are high in these types of foods, so take another look at your diet and focus on making these simple changes:
...white bread, rice and pasta with wholegrain versions, like oats, granary or wholemeal breads, brown rice and wholewheat pasta.
Chicken & vegetable stew with wholemeal couscous
Miso prawn skewers with veggie rice salad
Apple & sultana porridge
Spaghetti with caramelised onion, kale & Gorgonzola
Malted walnut seed loaf
...low-fat diet foods, which tend to be high in sugars, and have smaller portions of the regular versions.
If you're sticking to low-fat meals, make yours from scratch to ensure minimum added sugar:
Oven-baked fish & chips
Spiced turkey with bulghar & pomegranate salad
Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup
More low-fat recipe ideas
...of 'sugar-free' foods, which contain synthetic sweeteners such as sucralose, saccharin and aspartame. As they're sweet, they don't help to curb your sweet tooth and send confusing messages to your brain, which can lead to overeating.
...your carb intake with lean protein such as fish, chicken and turkey, as protein slows down your digestion, which helps to manage cravings.
Lean protein lunches:
Asian chicken salad
Turkey & spring onion wraps
Dill scones with smoked salmon & cucumber relish
Quinoa stew with squash, prunes & pomegranate
...one glass of fruit juice a day (or dilute it) and keep sweet soft drinks and alcohol for weekends. Instead, enjoy herbal teas or water with slices of lime or orange.
For a pick-me-up...
...have a piece of whole fruit with a handful of nuts or a small tub of plain yogurt, both of which contain protein that slows digestion.
Or, if you really need a sweet fix, try a natural sugar substitute like stevia. It's sweeter than normal sugar but doesn't cause the same kind of rise in blood sugar levels.
This page was last updated on 24 January 2019.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
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