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Posted: Friday, 13 September 2013 5:00AM

Study: Low fat doesn't mean low calorie

Can we trust anything we know about nutrition?

That's the premise of a $40 million dollar nutrition project.

The trend in recent years is that we're paying more attention to what's actually in the processed foods we eat and the Nutrition Science Initiative is studying just that now. They say low fat yogurt for example sounds healthy, but when manufacturers add a lot of sugar or sweeteners, it's actually a very unhealthy food, and in some cases they say up to a third of your daily allowance of sugar can be in just one small serving. The also find many, even the organic versions, contain little to no fruit, so they add artificial colors and flavor.

Dr. Melinda Sothern with LSU Health Sciences Center says "It's very well documented in the literature that the advertising, the labeling is very deceptive. And it's designed to be that way." Sometimes she says the label will advertise 100 calories on the front label, but when you check the back it says the container has 2.5 servings inside, which then means it's actually 250 calories.

Dr. Sothern, one of the country's foremost researchers on obesity, recommends staying below 15 grams of sugar per serving in any food.

What about sugar free? "Sugar free is good," Dr. Sothern says, "But make sure there's not a sugar substitute replacing the sugar, if that's something you don't want to ingest into your system. We still really don't have very good science concerning whether sugar substitutes are healthy, or are they harmful."

The Nutrition Science Initiative is urging people to avoid anything fat free or low fat.

Click here for more from the Nutrition Science Initiative.

Photo via Creative Commons with attribution

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