The study in question was carried out by Which?, and revealed that six in ten consumers eat low-fat products a few times a week believing that they are a healthier alternative.
However, many products have only minute differences in the calorie content when compared to the standard offerings.
Which? Prepared a ‘snapshot’ sample of 12 low-fat products to show there was very little benefit to choosing them over normal products.
For example, a standard McVitie’s chocolate digestive contains 85 calories, whilst the ‘light’ version has 77. Tesco low-fat yoghurt was also found to have a higher calorie content than standard Activia yoghurt.
Which? found that a huge percentage of consumers were clueless as to the meaning of ‘reduced fat’ and ‘light’, with only 16 per cent identifying these products as having to contain 30 per cent less fat than the original.
Labelling regulations are actually very clear, stating that ‘low fat’ products must contain less than 3 per cent fat and products billed as ‘reduced fat’, ‘light’ and ‘lite’ having to contain 30 per cent less fat than the original product.
Executive director at Which? Richard Lloyd said: ‘Consumers are choosing low-fat and light options believing them to be a healthier choice.
‘But our research has found that in many cases they’re just not living up to their healthy image.’
Which? are advising consumers to read nutrition labels very carefully to ensure that what they are buying is truly a healthier option.
For further information about healthy eating please visit our Balanced Diet fact-sheet.
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