Are packaged diet foods actually healthy? A recent study concluded that prepackaged diet foods can simultaneously provide the simplicity and nutrient composition that is necessary to maintain long-term compliance to a weight loss program. However, it is important to read the nutrition facts label and list of ingredients on the package. Like anything else in life, there is an upside and a downside to using prepackaged food products.
Some weight loss programs offer prepackaged diet meals including Weight Watcher, Jenny Craig, and NutriSystem. Many prepackaged diet foods can be bought in the grocery store, and they are usually found in the frozen foods section (in an area devoted to diet foods).
The Upside to Prepackaged Diet Food
Prepackaged diet food can have benefits including:
- Many claim to contain less than 10 grams of fat.
- Some can provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.
The Downside to Prepackaged Diet Food
Some of the disadvantages include:
- Some have a very high sodium content, which can lead to blood pressure and other health problems
- The frozen varieties contain chemicals and preservatives necessary to keep the food from spoiling
- The frozen varieties cannot compare in taste and nutritional value to foods prepared with fresh, flavorful ingredients.
It is up to you, the consumer, to investigate a packaged diet food for its nutritional value and list of ingredients. Remember this information will be displayed on the outside of the package, along with other pertinent information.