THINK you are making the healthiest choices in your weekly shop? Then think again.
Slimmers’ favourite Diet Coke will not help you lose weight, said the World Health Organisation this week.
In fact, replacing sugar with sweeteners could cause Type 2 diabetes or heart disease over time.
Francesco Branca, one of WHO’s directors, said: “People need to consider other ways, such as consuming food with naturally occurring sugars like fruit, or unsweetened food and beverages.
“Non-sugar sweeteners have no nutritional value.”
But the low-sugar fizz is not the only “diet friendly” product luring us in the supermarket aisles.
From marge to low-fat mayo, we find the so-called healthy options that can be bad for you too.
IT may claim to be lower in saturated fat than butter, but margarine can contain trans fats that raise bad LDL cholesterol in the body, increasing the risk of a stroke.
Margarine-eaters might have a 53 per cent higher risk of heart disease than those who prefer butter.
Try olive, canola or sunflower oils instead
AS mayonnaise contains up to 103 calories per tablespoon, it is unsurprising many people reach for low-fat options.
But typically these contain higher amounts of starches and sugar to achieve the same taste as the original – and excess sugar can lead to fatty liver disease as well as inflammation.
SOME cereals have been marketed as weight-loss products and even as meal replacements.
But nutritionists warn that swapping meals for cereal is not something you can keep up.
Plus, many healthy sounding cereals, such as granola, can contain high levels of salt and sugar.
WHILE milk alternatives may have fewer calories and less fat, they can be low in protein.
This could affect muscle mass, make you feel lethargic and lower your immune system.
One study found not enough protein can make your skin, hair and nails look lacklustre.
EVEN though the dentist might urge you to cut down on sugary sweets, they still won’t be happy if you swap to sugar-free versions.
The artificial colours and preservatives used in them can still cause tooth decay by making your mouth more acidic and causing a corrosive effect on teeth enamel.
LOW-fat or fat-free cheese will not really help you to keep the weight off.
To make up for the lack of tasty fat, these “diet” products can contain a lot more salt.
Full-fat versions have also been linked to helping dieters feel full, so by eating low-fat cheese you might end up consuming more to feel satisfied.
IT is not just Diet Coke – most zero-sugar fizzy drinks have been linked to health problems.
There are claims some artificial sweeteners affect mental processes, may raise cancer risk, increase obesity and reduce fertility.
Although generally safe, it’s best to limit consumption.
‘Skinny’ ice cream
DIET alternatives to ice cream may lure you into thinking you can eat more.
But sometimes they contain more carbs and sugar alcohols, which can cause bloating or excess wind.
Doctors from the University of Chicago recommend full fat versions – just less of it. If only it was that simple!