When I used to accompany my mother to do the shopping as a child, walking through the aisles of shelves full of colorful products of all shapes, scents and flavors was like entering a sort of world of fairy tales, where everything was available. In fact, supermarkets want to be a kind of fairy tale world, because they tell us (very well!) That we can always have everything, at any time of the year.
In short, not like once, when to eat meat more than a couple of times a month you had to be lucky and everyone knew what the fruits and vegetables were in season (easy: they were the ones you found on your plate). As always, here too there is the downside: the overabundance of available food has resulted, in recent decades, in a progressive increase in overweight and obese people. The "remedy" in which many place their hopes, and which over the years has transformed into a very prosperous slice of the market, are "light" products.
By definition, a product can be defined as “light” when it contains 30% less energy (expressed in Kcal) than its homologous product. To achieve this, there are two ways: sugars are eliminated or decreased (often replaced by artificial sweeteners) or fats are removed (as generally happens in the case of milk and derivatives). In both cases, however, these products cannot be seen as an effective solution to the overweight / obesity problem. After all, despite the now long life on store shelves, the overweight phenomenon is far from being defeated.
The products "without added sugars" hide their illusion precisely in this writing. Put on your glasses or take a lens and carefully read the ingredient lists on the back: in many cases you will find, on the list: "saccharin", "aspartame", "cyclamate" or "E952" instead of "glucose" or "syrup glucose". That is, sweeteners. When we use artificial sweeteners, our brain is told that energy is coming, but it doesn't. Therefore, our "metabolic control center" goes into alarm, because it has not received the "promised" energy and activates the hunger centers. Result? You end up eating more. It is certainly no coincidence that, in the USA, from 1987 to 2000 the consumption of sweeteners went from 70 to 160 million subjects and in the same period the percentage of obese people rose from 15 to 30 percent (source: Jama). Let's move on to foods with less fat. If we read, for example, the nutritional table of milk, we realize that, by preferring the so-called "whole milk" to the semi-skimmed one, we "save" only 20 Kcal per 100ml, ie less than 50kcal for a cup. In short, a trifle. Too bad that almost half of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E) are lost during the skimming process. Is worth? I would say no. Also because the skimmed product also loses its satiating power (given by the fats!). Result? Here too, you will be hungrier and eat more! What about yogurt? when it is skimmed, most of the time it is sweetened, or added with artificial sweeteners so we go back to the discussion made a few lines above. "But how? - you will say - there is no solution? "
The solution is there, but it is not to be found in variously processed foods
The solution is there, but it is not to be found in variously processed foods; rather, in an intelligent consumption of "real" food or, in other words "nutrient-dense" instead of "energy-dense". Examples? Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit. All foods at the base of the Mediterranean diet, which as Italians we will have to know by heart and which, unfortunately, we are the first to snub… (we talk about it in another article).
Light (but not light) greetings from your nutritional consultant Tatiana Gaudimonte
Dr. Tatiana Gaudimonte Love YourBody