A growing array of light foods let you 'sin' in peace


February 12, 1991|By Colleen Pierre, R.D.

"Lite" junk food can make or break your diet.

Many people are quite successful at sticking to a very strict, no-junk diet for a limited period of time . . . till they've lost 10 pounds, till their jeans fit or till their tummy doesn't bulge over their bikinis any more.

Maintaining weight loss is tougher, mostly because it's hard to live forever without some "goodies." Often the first foray into forbidden territory starts a pigout that ends only when weight regained exceeds weight originally lost.


But help is at hand.

It makes more sense to lose weight on a well-balanced diet that also recognizes our humanity. A small daily junk portion may keep you from feeling deprived, and pre

vent the junk food binge.

The lite food industry is loading grocer's shelves with products that make it possible to eat positively, stressing high-nutrition foods, while squeezing in some junk treats without blowing the day's efforts.

You need about 1,200 calories a day of carefully chosen foods (lowfat meats, nonfat dairy foods, whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables) to meet your body's nutritional needs. With an additional 100 to 200 calories a day of pure junk food, most people can still lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, without feeling left out of the human race.

Following are some sample diet junk foods currently available. -- The list is by no means exhaustive. All lite foods provide nutrition information on the label, so you can decide which portions fit your weight management goals.

* Twinkies Lights

The ultimate junk food now comes in a lower calorie version. Individually wrapped each "light" weighs in at 110 calories and 2 grams of fat, saving you 50 calories and 4 grams of fat per cake over the regular version. "Light" does not mean "free," however. The box, containing 10 cakes, will cost you 1,100 calories if you eat the whole thing at one sitting.

* Klondike Lite

If you can't live without ice cream, this is the diet saver for you. Each individually wrapped chocolate-coated ice cream bar has just 110 calories. Its calorie reduction is achieved by substituting NutraSweet for sugar. Fat content is still pretty high at 7 grams a bar. As always, portion control is everything. A box of six totals 660 calories.

* Orville Redenbacher's Light Microwave Popping Corn

If you're into "crunch," this one's for you, but you may want to share it with a friend. Each 3-cup serving provides only 50 calories and one gram of fat. Each bag, however, contains almost 5 servings, or about 250 calories.

* Snicker Snackers

The chocaholics delight, these teeny-tiny little Snickers bars achieve their "diet" status through portion control rather than ingredient substitution. These babies are the real thing, just smaller. Each bite-sized portion provides 45 calories, and is a great diet saver for folks who'd rather have quality than quantity. But beware. The entire bag contains about 40 little bitty bars, for a total of 1,800 calories.Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

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