Are Diet Foods Harmful?

By Aparupa Saikia 

Walk into a local shopping mall and you will see a lot of tetra packs with eye-catching labels like light or litelow calorielow fatno fatfat freeno sugarsugar free, and zero calorie...all promising great taste and convenience. Unfortunately, behind the glitzy and tempting packaging, there are various side affects to these diet foods. So here are some of the major Diet foods that are available in the market along with their side effects:
Are Diet Foods Harmful?
  • Diet Sugar: It is the single most popular diet food. This product caught everyone like wild fire when people realized that excessive sugar intake leads to obesity.  There are many sugar substitutes available in the market like:
    • Saccharin: It is no longer popular due to the fact that it is linked to urinary  bladder tumors.
    • Aspartame: It is extremely popular, but high doses of it are known to be unhealthy for pregnant women, phenylketonurics, diabetics. It also has adverse effects on the memory.
    • Stevia: It is one of the latest product to hit the market. It is still too fresh and mass consumption effects have not emerged as of yet. It is still under testing condition.
  • Diet Aerated Drinks: It is another popular category of diet food. But many of the so called diet fizzy drinks have unhealthy levels of salt, aspartame, chemical preservatives and chemical colors. As a result, many people who consume such drinks have an unbalanced insulin and blood sugar. 
  • Diet Confectionaries: This is one category which is catching very soon to feed the sweet tooth! They include diet chocolates, diet cookies, and high fibre biscuits. But these contain a high level of fat which is equally fattening and the sweetener is again aspartame which retards weight loss by interfering with the insulin metabolism.
  • Diet Foods for Breakfast: These include a wide range of breakfast food like diet jams, diet honey, Fruit juices, sugar free maida (white flour) products like sweet breads, buns etc. They promise to be the best start in the morning. The ones with added aspartame should be avoided. Also, any product made with maida should be avoided as it unhealthy and fattening even if it has no sugar.
  • Cholesterol Free Snacks: These are a wide array of munchies like diet namkeens, diet chips, cholesterol free nuts etc. These are a very good option compared to their counterparts as they are fried in healthy cholesterol free oil but they should be consumed in moderation.     
  • Diet Margarine: It is very unhealthy and inadvertently leads to fat deposits in the heart due to the trans-fatty acids, so it is best avoided.
  • Sweet Clear Water: Though better than diet drinks, it still has some levels of aspartame. Besides nothing beats natural water!
When selecting a low calorie or low fat plan, make sure you are consuming a balanced and complete diet. Bottom-line, they can help you lose weight but every coin has a flip side. Besides, nothing beats natural food.

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