Now we all know people like Charles Stuart Platkin the “Diet Detective” don’t get it. He makes all his food determinations based solely on calorie content. But laypeople can be just as misguided. Candice Choi of the Associated Press explains more and more people love new low-calorie foods—loaded with dairy, Olestra, sugar alcohols, and fat and sugar substitutes:
According to ACNielsen, U.S. supermarket, drug-store and discount sales of products labeled low-, no- and reduced-fat reached $32.1.billion for a one-year period ending Oct. 7, up from $31.7.billion for the same time period in 2002…In my opinion, you want a quick snack? Have a piece of fruit and don’t worry about the calories—that’s what I do. Personally, I don’t pay much attention to “health food.” To me, all those South Beach bars, Snackwells cookies, and low-carb treats are just junk. I don’t care if some ice-creams are low-fat, low-carb, reduced-calorie, trans-fat free, all natural, or with no chemical additives—I’m still not eating it.
… Many diet foods, however, rely on fat and sugar substitutes that have raised health concerns, he said. Olestra, the fat substitute used in Frito Lay's light potato chips, can cause cramps and diarrhea. Sugar alcohols, used in a variety of desserts and low-carb foods, including Snackwell's Sugar Free Shortbread Cookies, can have a laxative effect in high quantities.