Get the Skinny: Five swaps that just aren’t worth it

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)–When it comes to eating healthfully, there are trade outs that make sense.  But there are plenty of misconceptions that can leave us feeling like we should give up far more than we really need to.  And too often we’re making changes and sacrifices that just don’t matter – and we end up feeling deprived and discouraged as a result.  So in today’s Get the Skinny, we’ve got 5 nutritional swaps that just aren’t worth it.

Peanut butter to reduced-fat peanut butter.  Most brands have 190 calories per two-tablespoon serving, the same that you’ll find in regular peanut butter.  And reduced fat peanut butter often has twice as much carbs, thanks to added corn syrup and sugar.  The fat content isn’t much lower either, with 12-13 grams per serving, compared to 16 grams of fat in regular peanut butter.

Chocolate to sugar-free chocolate.  You’re really not getting a significant savings in terms of calories and carbs.  A 1.5-ounce serving of sugar-free chocolate-covered peanut butter cups, for example, has 197 calories and 21 grams of carbs, compared to 210 calories and 24 grams of carbs for the fully-loaded version.  And sugar-free milk chocolate has 190 calories and 25 grams of carbs, compared to 210 calories and 21 grams of carbs in the real deal.

Cookies to fat-free or sugar-free cookies.  For the most part, a cookie’s a cookie.  Popular brands of fat-free and sugar-free cookies (think Snackwell’s and Murray’s) have almost exactly the same carb and calorie stats as their Chips Ahoy and Oreo counterparts.

Light beer to Michelob Ultra.  Unless you really love it, don’t make the switch just to save carbs.  Per 12-ounce serving, Mich Ultra has 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs.  Compare that to Miller Light, with 96 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs.                                                                                                                                                  

Sugar to agave (or coconut palm sugar or vegan cane sugar or honey).  Even though they’re less processed and lower-glycemic than plain old white sugar (meaning they cause less of a spike in blood sugar), for those watching calories and trying to keep weight in check, these sugar swaps aren’t any lower in calories than ordinary white sugar. And with four grams of sugar per teaspoon, they still count as ‘added’ sugars in our diet (the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women, and not more than 37 grams for men).

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