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Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to know if there are disadvantages of diet products and why there are not more people using them.

Umran Özen

In the case of weight control or maintenance, diet products (with reduced calories, reduced sugar, sugar free or reduced fat content) provide you with alternative choices to regular foods. Meal replacements, which are intended to replace one or more meals or serve as the sole source of nourishment and whose composition is regulated (Commission Directive 96/8/EC), may also help you control your weight. There is no harm in using meal replacements, when they are used according to recommendations or in consultation with your dietician, nutritionist or doctor. A recent review of the existing literature on the safety and effectiveness of partial meal replacement plan for long-term weight management, found that meal replacements result in significant weight loss with no reported adverse events after one year. As any method to control or maintain weight, meal replacement will work only with motivation to lose weight and discipline to stick to a diet.

But weight control is not the only reason for including diet products in the diet, they could be used because they don’t cause cavities (e.g. sugar free beverages or chewing gums), because they have a low cholesterol content, etc. However, reduced fat, sugar or calories products does not mean without calories and eating these kinds of products should not encourage you to eat more. As mentioned above, diet products are an alternative to regular foods, but you may control or maintain your weight just by reducing the amount you eat of the regular food, by making different food choices or being more physically active.

Here are a few rules you might like to consider to achieve a healthy balanced diet: enjoy a wide variety of foods, eat regularly, aim for balance and moderation, eat enough fruits and vegetables, base the diet on foods rich in carbohydrates, drink plenty of fluids and eat fats in moderation. Regular physical activity and a healthy diet is the best way to lose weight.

If you consider to significantly change your diet, you should always consult your dietitian, nutritionist or doctor beforehand.

Further reading:

Weight control article:
http://www.eufic.org/gb/food/pag/food39/food391.htm

 


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ABOUT EUFIC
The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is a non-profit organisation which communicates science-based information on nutrition and health, food safety and quality, to help consumers to be better informed when choosing a well-balanced, safe and healthful diet.

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This site was last updated 22/08/2014
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