QUESTION: My friend stocks her cupboards with low-calorie versions of everything and seems to be losing weight. Are diet foods really the key to long-term weight management?

ANSWER: Diet foods can certainly help, but they have to be used in moderation, just like anything else. When they’re used as a crutch, achieving your weight loss goals can be much more difficult. Look what happened in the 1980’s and 90’s when low-fat diets were all the rage. People consumed fat-free cookies, low-fat muffins and reduced-fat chips in an effort to lose weight, and the nation’s waistline continued to bulge. Fat intake dropped slightly (still a higher amount than healthy standards), but carbohydrate intake skyrocketed, resulting in an increase in total calories for many folks. Bottom line…even supposed “health” foods can make weight loss difficult if you simply eat too much of the packaged foods and not enough produce, beans, and other “real” foods.

Andrea Ivins is the club manager and Zumba Instructor at Anytime Fitness in Palestine, TX. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at or

Recommended for you