Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Foods that claim to be low in fat can be full of calories

Obesity is one of the biggest potential killers in Northern Ireland

So-called low fat foods can contain a similar number of calories as the standard versions — and might even have more sugar, according to a study.

Consumer watchdog Which? found six out of 10 consumers eat low-fat and light foods several times a week thinking they are a healthier option.

But a “snapshot sample” of 12 low-fat, reduced and light products compared with their standard counterparts found some minimal differences in calorie content.

A standard McVitie's chocolate digestive had 85 calories and a light one had 77. A Tesco low-fat yoghurt had more calories per pot at 130 than a standard Activia version at 123, while the Tesco option had more sugar at 20.2g — more than four teaspoons — than the 16.9g in the Activia pot.

The high fat and saturated fat content of cheese meant Cathedral City lighter cheddar was still rated red under the traffic light labelling system.

Which? found consumers were unclear about the terms reduced fat and light, and only 16% knew that products carrying the label had to contain 30% less fat than the standard alternative.

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