CHOICE says “dodgy” diet foods may be contributing to weight gain
Consumer group CHOICE has conducted a review of ‘diet’ foods, which it says shows that “hundreds of products on our supermarket shelves” that claim to help consumers lose weight might actually be higher in kilojoules than the regular products.
According to CHOICE, Australian consumers spent $827 million on weight loss products in 2012.
“Food companies attract would-be dieters with terms such as ‘guilt-free’, ‘lean’, ‘balanced’, ‘healthy’, ‘less’ and ‘stay in shape’, but unfortunately this marketing jargon is meaningless if you are trying to count kilojoules,” said Tom Godfrey, Head of Media at CHOICE.
CHOICE said it compared a range of diet products including cottage cheese, fries, chips, ice cream, breakfast cereal and rice cakes. The consumer group said another concern was the “premium price” that often came with ‘diet’ foods.
“The first thing you notice when you look at diet products is that many tend to be highly processed, salty, sugary treat foods with little nutritional value,” Mr Godfrey said. “From jams and biscuits to salad dressings, they’re foods you’d assume a dieter should avoid, even with reduced kilojoules,” he said.
“With 80 per cent of weight-loss products purchased by women, they should be aware that ‘simply less’ could well mean more kilojoules, so it’s vital that if you want to watch your weight you need to read the nutritional panel on the pack,” Mr Godfrey said.