Supermarket diet foods

We talk to the experts about popular diet brands and whether they can really help you lose weight.
 
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04.Choice verdict

Diet vs regular products

Do diet products actually have fewer kilojoules than regular products? Yes and no. We found some products have significantly fewer kilojoules compared with regular items, while others have more. So before reaching for diet brand products purely for their kilojoule count, spend some time comparing the nutritional panels.

  • Weight Watchers Fruit & Fibre Tropical, 755kJ per 50g
  • Uncle Tobys Plus Fibre Apples & Sultanas, 715kJ per 50g
  • Coles Simply Less Thin Rice Cakes, 224kJ per 2 cakes
  • Sun Rice Thin Rice Cakes, 196kJ per 2 cakes

Value for money?

In our analysis, we found that you can end up paying extra for diet or “healthy” brands that are nutritionally almost identical to “regular” brands. For example:

  • Weight Watchers Cottage Cheese, $3.50 for 250g / 381kJ per 100g
  • Dairy Farmers Low Fat Cottage Cheese, $2.89 for 250g / 389kJ per 100g

    CHOICE verdict

    Just like any other food that comes in a package, careful scrutiny of a diet food’s nutritional panel is essential. Don’t assume that just because a food is part of a range of branded diet products it has fewer kilojoules, less fat or sugar, or is a healthier choice – and you may end up paying more for it than a regular product.

    Although they can be tempting for a quick weight-loss fix, McMillan doesn’t recommend these highly processed supermarket diet foods as part of a weight-loss regimen. At best, says McMillan, they may be helpful for some people, but only as part of a sustainable, long-term food and exercise strategy.

     

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