There are many doubts about what light foods are, and whether or not they are actually useful for losing weight. But we discovered something basic: they do not lose weight.
As you surely know, each food has and presents a certain energy value, which in short, simply and simply translates into its caloric content or contribution. For example, there are foods with a high caloric intake (such as foods rich in simple sugars such as sweets, or fatty foods such as butter or oil), and others that have a lower energy value (vegetables and greens, some fruit…).
However, some decades ago, apparently light food groups began to appear on the market, as a claim for those people who did not want to continue adding excess calories to their diet, and above all, for those who were following a diet to lose weight.
They are known as light foods. Basically we can define them as those that have 30% less energy than their conventional counterpart food. For example, in the case of a sugary drink such as a soft drink, we could consider as “light” the version of the same brand that has 30% less energy.
Therefore, they are light foods, whose sugar or fat content has been replaced by less energetic ingredients. For this reason they are also known as light foods, because they have fewer calories.
This means that for a food to be truly considered as light, they must present at least a 30% reduction in energy value compared to the reference food, which is obviously not light.
For this type of food to maintain a taste similar to that of the original foods, it is common for the fat or sugar to be changed by substances known as imitators or substitutes. In the case of light sweet foods, for example, it is common to use polyols (such as sorbitol, xylitol or mannitol) that actually provide little energy, or those known as non-caloric sweeteners (such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose or cyclamate, among others).
These elements are usually used in light foods with the aim of replacing sugar, since they tend to provide less energy, are slowly and incompletely absorbed in our intestines, do not cause cavities or affect blood glucose levels. However, they do have a side effect that is widely known to all, and that is that consumed in large doses can be a direct cause of diarrhea.
It is precisely for these qualities that the consumption of light sweet foods are useful so that people with overweight or obesity, diabetes or hypertriglyceridemia can continue consuming sweet foods without sugar being a health problem.
But we must not be confused. Unless we are dealing with a product for diabetics that does not have sugar, those that indicate that they do not contain sugars may contain fructose, which is ultimately another type of sugar, so that their caloric intake is no longer low. To opt for a really low calorie food, the ideal is that they do not contain sugars, sucrose, maltodextrin, fructose or any other sweetener.
Why don’t light foods lose weight?
However, due to their lower caloric content, it tends to even be thought that light foods lose weight. It even tends to habitually use such a pretext in order to eat this type of food in greater quantity, supposedly because it does not make you fat and because it is ultimately believed that it also helps you lose weight.
However, we are faced with an erroneous belief, since light foods help the diet to have less energy, but they do not lose weight by themselves. At this point we must understand losing weight by reducing the body’s fat tissue, which is only achieved in reality by maintaining a balanced hypocaloric diet and combining it with the practice of regular physical exercise.
Let’s take an example. Have you stopped to observe the label of a mayonnaise or a chocolate in its light version, and have you compared it with its normal version? You would be surprised to discover that they are still equally rich in calories, although their fat content is lower.
It is true that, as such, they tend to lose less weight than the same food in its non-light version, but they do not lose weight on their own. We are, therefore, before a lack of belief, closely related to the different and different mistakes that are usually made when following the so-called diets to lose weight.