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 per cent 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.