image source: owensboro

You can also call them Saboteur Foods. Saboteurs often travel in disguise, and these foods are no exception.

What is their disguise? They pretends to be foods that help you lose weight. But the fact is, those foods serve no purpose in weight control. They are high in calories, or empty in calories. We give ourselves permission to eat them because they are lower in fat or sugar than their regular food counterparts.

All too typically, when we give ourselves permission to eat these foods, we can easily rationalize overeating them. This is why you should avoid these foods, if you’re trying to lose weight. They will sabotage your weight loss efforts and undermine the results.

High on the list of saboteurs are low fat and fat free baked goods. To read the advertising on these products, you’d think weight would vanish in an instant. Evidence shows otherwise. Eating these foods simply replaces fat calories with refined carbohydrate calories.  Basically, all you’re doing is exchanging one kind of calorie for another.

Dividing these foods into two main categories:

One category includes snack foods with advertising that lists all the ‘bad’ ingredients they do not contain. They are low-fat, reduced-fat, sugar-free, low-sodium, low- cholesterol, and so on. Cholesterol free foods can still be high in ingredients that really add weight.

The other category are foods that can be referred to as ‘healthy naturals’. We mistakenly perceive them as having some redeeming nutritional benefits. Maybe the product is sweetened with fruit juice or honey instead of with refined sugar. The replacement item sounds healthy and natural, so we rationalize that it isn’t as bad as an empty calorie food.

But a cookie sweetened with honey is just as caloric as one sweetened with sugar. You’re actually better of eating real cookies or chips rather than saboteurs.


This is because even if a saboteur food is lower in fat, sugar, or calories than the regular food, it’s almost certain you’ll give yourself permission to eat them more frequently and probably in more generous quantities. Over time, then, they’ll add more calories.

It’s easy to find out whether these foods are high in calories. Just check the nutritional information on the label. But it is unlikely you’ll do that. Instead, we tend to rationalize by saying, it is low fat. It is easy and dangerous to fall into the habit of thinking that these foods are ‘not as bad’.