Do light products help you lose weight?

Despite being less energetic than their counterparts, light products can contain food additives that have a negative impact on the microbiota. Learn more about these alternatives. 
Do light products help you lose weight?

Last update: 22 April, 2021

In recent years, the market for light products has increased. This is due to the population’s growing concern regarding the importance of having a healthy body composition. However, these edibles are not always the right choice.

We must bear in mind the fact that losing weight doesn’t depend entirely on a simple factor, such as the inclusion of a certain product in our diet. Instead, it’s the result of a series of healthy lifestyle habits combined and practiced on a regular basis.

Light products contain sugar

Light products have a reduced energy density compared to their counterparts. Nonetheless, this is due to the suppression of fats and the addition of sugar. This last ingredient is part of the recipe to increase the palatability of the food since, without the presence of lipids, it would probably be tasteless or have a bad texture.

Although the total energy content of this food is lower, its repercussions on the body are worse. This is because simple sugars negatively impact the functioning of the human body and metabolism; according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Bioscience. Therefore, the less we consume them in our diet, the better.

When the goal is to lose weight, we mustn’t only focus on the energy balance as such, we must go further. It’s important to pay attention to the quality of the nutrients we eat since these tend to affect the body’s expenditure and the way the body uses energy.

Light products are not always healthy

Light products can be harmful.

In addition to having higher concentrations of sugar, it’s common for light products to have a dose of additives. These additives have the purpose of improving the taste and the preservation of the products. Hence, they are ultimately included in the group of ultra-processed products. 

Most food additives are safe for our health in the medium and long term. However, artificial sweeteners are also a part of this group and their consumption is very controversial.

According to research published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, this class of substances can negatively impact the biodiversity of the microbiota; thus, causing harm to the host.

We must take into account that changes in the profile of the microbiota can cause difficulty in losing weight. Despite the fact that there is much to know in this field, there’s a connection between dysbiosis processes and a higher prevalence of obesity. For this reason, probiotic supplements, which improve the health of the microbiota, often work to improve our body’s composition.

It’s better to opt for healthy habits

Instead of opting for light products, it’s more efficient to promote healthy lifestyle habits to lose weight. The practice of physical exercise on a daily basis, a good night’s rest, and the intake of fresh foods instead of industrially processed ones help to lose weight very efficiently.

We should also note that the labeling of products as light can cause confusion to consumers. A person may think that the food has very few calories and that they can eat whatever portion they want without any repercussions.

It's better to eat fresh food.

This isn’t usually the case because, although light foods are less caloric than their counterparts, the difference doesn’t go beyond 20 or 30%.

Light products are not effective for weight loss

As you have seen, light products aren’t a good option to lose weight. They could even generate the opposite effect, given the presence of simple sugars and additives in their composition. If you consume them regularly, a change in the profile of the gut microbiota could take place, altering your metabolism.

We must be clear on the fact that gaining or losing weight goes beyond a simple mathematical count regarding calories. There are other factors that have a decisive influence, such as metabolic flexibility, quality of rest, or hormonal balance. Undervaluing them can lead to poor results in the medium and long term, which would only cause frustration.

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  • Freeman CR, Zehra A, Ramirez V, Wiers CE, Volkow ND, Wang GJ. Impact of sugar on the body, brain, and behavior. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2018 Jun 1;23:2255-2266.
  • Lobach AR, Roberts A, Rowland IR. Assessing the in vivo data on low/no-calorie sweeteners and the gut microbiota. Food Chem Toxicol. 2019 Feb;124:385-399