Why Do Diets Fail?

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Ninety-eight percent of all diets fail within the first year or two. People either get discouraged and revert to old habits or fail to reach a realistic weight loss goal. But what about those who really follow a good routine and lose weight, but then plateau and not continue toward their goals? What are they doing wrong, if anything?

Food Labeling Laws May Be To Blame

You are probably thinking, “How can food labeling laws be the problem?” A number of years ago when doctors and nutritionists realized that certain ingredients in our foods were dangerous to our health, food manufacturers changed the way they produced foods. Or did they?? One example was the number of grams of fat or trans fats in some of our foods. So manufacturers “took out” the trans fats or reduced the amount of fat in their food stuffs. Of course, some of the packaged foods that are now labeled as “No Trans Fat” never had trans fats in them at all, but with all of the publicity about the dangers of trans fats, these producers changed their labels to make it appear their products were now safer. But when it comes to food labels, food manufacturers are extremely good at finding the loopholes in labeling laws and requirements and our attempts at dieting and leading a healthier lifestyle suffer.

How Do Food Manufacturers Get Around the Law?

According to the FDA, as long as a food item has less than 0.5g of fat or trans fat, respectively, the label does not need to claim the existence of these fats on the label. In fact, they can put “zero grams of fat” or “No Trans Fats” and still be in compliance with the current labeling laws.

Nutrition Facts from a package of Splenda. Notice under ingredients, there are two forms of sugar in a product that has "zero" calories
Nutrition Facts from a package of Splenda. Notice under ingredients, there are two forms of sugar in a product that has “zero” calories

In addition, as long as the food item has less than 5 calories per serving (serving size is important), it can be rounded down and labeled “0 or No calories.” You are probably thinking that 0.5g of fat or 5 calories is not a big deal, but the fact that this represents “per serving” means that there is potentially hundreds of calories and loads of fat in an entire package, box, bag or can of the product. By reading the label on the package, it’s easy to think that eating the entire package would be safe because there are “No Calories or No Fat/Trans Fat” in it. As long as the manufacturer can divide their package into small enough servings to meet the calorie and gram requirements to claim zero, it’s legal!. So maybe the food industry should change the label from “Nutrition Facts” to Nutrition Lies”???? This may be one of the reasons a diet fails or plateaus as the consumer/dieter is lulled into the mindset that one doesn’t have to worry about fat or calories when the label says “fat free” or “0 calories” in a serving size.

When people diet, every popular diet stresses to reduce carbs or carbohydrates. Sugar is a major carb, so it’s natural to believe that using an artificial sweetener makes sense since the label says “No or 0 calories”, right? Not only are these artificial sweeteners terrible for your health, but they are also a top violator of deceptive labeling practices. Many of the major brands of artificial sweeteners use maltodextrin or dextrose (another name for sugar) as fillers in each package and often contain up to 1g of sugar or 5 calories in each package. But because they contain only 5 calories, they can be labeled as “calorie-free” as each package is a serving size. They are often advertised as sweet as sugar because they actually contain sugar. So they can spike your insulin levels just like regular sugar. And if you use more than one package in your coffee or cereal, the calories add up quickly.

Another big offender of deceptive labeling are the cooking sprays we use to cook with. They are generally labeled as fat-free. But look at the label. The first ingredient is usually an oil which is nearly 100% fat! The reason they are labeled as “fat-free” is because the “serving size” is defined as a spray that lasts 1/5 of a second (less than 5 calories). But the average person sprays a pan for about 3 seconds which translates to about 15 servings. Again, the problem is what is defined as the serving size and what the dieter/consumer actually uses to cook with. There are also the sprays that contain butter and not oil. Typically they are over 90% fat and contain over 800 calories in each can. And yes, they are also labeled as “no calories or fat-free.”

The last food product that you should stay away from is anything labeled as containing “partially hydrogenated” oils in the ingredient list. The reason for this is that “partially hydrogenated”, while technically the correct name, is just plain old “trans-fat” or “trans fatty acids.” This fat is very detrimental to our health and is one ingredient to eliminate from our diets.

So What Can We Do?

Deanna Latson, Chief Product Officer for ARIIX, a major nutritional supplement company in the US has said many times that “We have a mindset that because a product is on the shelf, it’s safe to consume. This is farthest from the truth.” We have to read labels carefully if we want to eat and stay healthy. So when you try to diet, pick a diet that actually works to lose fat and reset your body’s set-point for fat storage. This raises your chances of keeping the weight off. And read the “Nutrition Facts” carefully on anything you use to cook with or eat. This will greatly reduce the hidden calories you may consume that reduce your chances of reaching your weight loss goals. If you’re interested in looking for a life-style change and not just a “diet”, fill out the form below to get more information on a weight loss system developed by doctors helps you reach and keep your goals of weight reduction and a healthy lifestyle.

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