Q: I want to lose weight, so I’ve been eating low-fat everything. In fact, I eat the same foods over and over again, but it’s not working. Is it even helping me to eat a low-fat diet?
A: Low-fat or no-fat doesn’t mean no calories. Reduced-fat products can be helpful when it comes to losing weight, but you still have to be calorie conscious. Just because it says “no fat” doesn’t mean you can eat the whole box. Some nonfat products – like nonfat yogurt – have significantly fewer calories than the low-fat version (100 vs. 240 calories). But other reduced-fat products, especially in the snack aisle, may have just as many calories. For instance, three chocolate chip cookies have 160 calories, while three of the reduced-fat version have 150 calories. So no matter which bag you dig into, you still need to exercise portion control.
You also mention that you’re eating the same foods every day. For some people that works because they don’t have to make so many choices and be tempted by higher calorie options. But to get all the nutrients you need and to keep your tastebuds from becoming bored, try varying at least one meal a day. And for all your meals make sure you’re eating lots of fruits and veggies, some whole grain breads and cereals, beans, dairy products and a little lean protein like chicken and fish. And watch out for high-fat condiments like butter, salad dressing, cheese and mayonnaise. This is where low-fat versions can be a big help. A serving of fat-free ranch dressing saves you 120 calories compared to the full-fat stuff.