The chances that any processed food labeled “skinny” will help you lose weight is slim to none say healthy eating experts.
If you see a packaged food or drink labeled “skinny,” resist the urge to fall for it; most nutritionists say it's just a clever marketing trick.
Diane Bondareff/Invision for Skinnygirl Cocktails / AP Images
Food items marketed as skinny are often highly processed, and while they might be lower in calories than another option, that doesn't always make them a healthier choice. “I am immediately wary of foods that have the word skinny in the title,” says Kylie Deppen, a certified health coach and nutrition expert based in New York. “The problem with most skinny, low-fat, low-sugar, diet-like food products is that they are not real food,” says Stephanie Middleberg, a nutritionist and health and wellness expert. “They contain more chemicals than real food, chemicals that adversely affect our metabolism, making you gain weight, feel bloated and lethargic.” Here are examples of products that aren't as healthy as their “skinny” labels may lead you to believe.
The search for a truly low-calorie cocktail is like a search for the holy grail. But this drink doesn't qualify as healthy: It contains traces of sodium benzoate, a chemical preservative that studies show can be toxic when mixed with certain acids, including Vitamin C. So, if you mix some lemon or lime into your Skinnygirl, you could accidentally form a small amount of a toxic compound that's tied to leukemia and cancer. (Whole Foods stopped selling the drink when it learned about the preservative.)
Just in case plain-old water isn't low-cal enough, you can now buy Skinny Water, an artificially sweetened beverage that includes ingredients like acesulfame potassium, the same additive used in Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi. “The manufacturer's safety studies of acesulfame-potassium conducted in rats in the 1970s were of mediocre quality, but suggested the ingredient might cause cancer,” says the Center for Science in the Public Interest on its website, recommending that all consumers avoid the additive. “It's especially ironic as pure water couldn’t be skinnier!” Middleberg says. “I would not recommend this product.”