In my last newsletter I included a recipe for Chicken Taco Rice which listed low-fat cheese as an ingredient. After the newsletter came out I received an e-mail from Ellyn Satter, the author of multiple books and creator of the model of division of responsibility in feeding for children. I attended an intensive workshop with Ellyn last fall and am fortunate to have received not only a great deal of education, but also encouragement from her.
Ellyn asked me why I listed low-fat, and not just regular, cheese as an ingredient in my recipe. To be honest, I hadn't really noticed. I copied and pasted the recipe from my files in my somewhat distracted efforts to get the newsletter ready before I became consumed with entertaining and hosting activities for my daughter's 1st Communion. But when it was brought to my attention, I realized that I almost never use low-fat cheese. I sometimes buy the Cabot brand of 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar. I think it tastes pretty good, but other reduced fat cheese reminds me of rubber. For me, taste is hugely important in guiding my choices for what I eat and what ingredients I include in recipes that I cook. So unless you enjoy the taste of rubbery cheese, I'd suggest you change the low-fat cheese to regular cheese.
In addition, Ellyn also provided me with some references for research showing that when people perceive foods to be "healthier" (e.g., "low-fat"), they actually eat more of it. People have been shown to ignore their own internal regulators of fullness and to eat larger quantities of food with low-fat labels regardless of the actual fat content of the food!
So what do you think? Do you use low-fat dairy products? How do you think labels affect your food choices and consumption?