`Light` diet options have more calories

New Delhi: Many `diet` ranges marketed by supermarkets with tall claims of being a lighter option as compared to standard versions actually contain more fat or calories, researchers have found.

Keen to catch the eye of the weight-conscious shopper, supermarkets and big brands have spent millions of pounds on formulating lower fat, sugar or salt versions of their most popular products.

But a snapshot survey of supermarket shelves has revealed `light` versions of crisps, salad dressings, biscuits, cereals and yoghurt drinks may not be as low-calorie as they first seem.

Marks and Spencer sells its reduced fat rich tea biscuits using the slogan `more nice, less naughty`.They contain 34 per cent less fat than the chain`s standard rich teas.

But, at 40 calories per biscuit, the calorie count is the same, and two more than in McVitie`s standard rich tea biscuit. McVitie`s Lights on the other hand contain more sugar than its standard digestive.

Kellogg`s Special K is heavily promoted as an aid to weight loss. All but one of its ten flavours contain more calories per 100g than the cereal giant`s sugar-coated frosties.

The anomalies arise because manufacturers use their own products as a benchmark, rather than similar products by competitors.

The 30 percent rule means foods that are still high in fat, sugar or calories can still be labelled as `light` - simply because levels are lower than in the standard version.