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ASU nutritionist provides advice in Men’s Fitness

December 10, 2007

MESA, Ariz. —Is that fat-free chicken gravy really any better for you than the real deal? Associate Professor Jeffrey Hampl from ASU’s Department of Nutrition, will help answer that question and many more as part of a team of nutritionists in an upcoming issue of Men’s Fitness Magazine.

The articles, appearing in the December/January and the February issues, look at the dietary claims of 20 foods that declare to be healthier options for today’s nutrition-conscious consumers. The products range from vegetable “sausage” patties to whipped yogurt and instant iced tea mix.

“This was the first time I did this type of project for the magazine, but I’ve written several articles for Men’s Fitness over the past few years,” Hampl said. “I assessed new food products and whether they’re healthful and/or helpful for weight management.”

Many of the products Hampl reviewed alleged to be healthier – with either “low fat” or “low calorie” featured prominently on the packaging. What Hampl discovered, however, were the hidden dangers masked by these declarations. Often, a low-fat product contains high sugar – as many as three different sugar ingredients in one product – and in the articles Hampl warns consumers more than once to watch out for the sodium and calorie content on lower-fat items.

What surprised Hampl during the discovery process?

“I was shocked by how many items on the list I had never heard of before, how much convenience foods are infiltrating our diet and how misleading food labels can be without breaking federal law. For example, on the chicken tenderloins box it says ‘less fat,’ which is true in comparison to other tenderloins, but it’s still not a low-fat food, which is how I believe shoppers would interpret that statement.”

The December/January issue is available for purchase now, just in time for the holidays.