The Cycle

Disconcerting news about diet foods

Following up on the Fact File I wrote for next Monday’s issue on brands that are trying to tie in their products to the “healthy living” message, Time magazine reported that “diet” foods–low-calorie alternatives to “real” foods–do not actually help you to lose weight.

Research led by David Pierce at the University of Alberta studied eating habits of rats and found that the rats would overeat when fed “diet” foods.


Though the new study was conducted in animals, it adds to a growing body of research in humans that suggests a diet-foods paradox: the more low-calorie (or even zero-calorie) sodas and foods you consume, the more your body demands payback for the calories it was deprived.

It makes total sense. Case in point: In my attempt to save money on lunch, I’ve been bringing Lean Cuisine meals to work–only to find that an hour later, I’m still famished.

There has been a lot of debate over “unhealthy” foods, and how brands should all conform to the “healthy living” standard (basically, low-calorie, low-fat, lots of fiber, etc). Will the news about the drawback of “diet” foods change the content of these products?

If all else fails, I say go to Subway- it’s filling and fiberful (if you get the whole wheat bread).

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form without prior authorization.

Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of Haymarket Media's Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions