When low fat = totally disgusting and not any better for you

This happens more than you would think.

Food companies will make a version of their product with less fat than the original, which enables them to write “REDUCED FAT” on the package, thereby convincing the consumer that it is more healthy for them.  More often than not, this low fat version tastes like crap, and all too frequently it is not any better for you.

What appears healthy is actually only 60% peanuts!  So what’s in that jar anyway?  When the fat is taken out, starch is added to give a creamy – though a bit stiff – mouthfeel. This starch takes away the toasty, nutty flavor that makes Jif original so delicious and makes the peanut butter strangely sweet, and left me feeling like I was eating something that shouldn’t be consumed.  It kind of felt like a beauty product of some sort.  In short, it’s just bizarre.

Perhaps the most misleading part of the whole thing is that the two peanut butters have the exact same calorie count!  Most of us associate low fat with low calorie, and in this case that’s simply not true.  Can you guess which label belongs to which product?

jif reg v low fat

Peanuts and other nuts are full of good fats, so if you’re looking to reduce your fat intake, try somewhere else.

Low fat products that are worth your time

– Any low fat or fat free dairy, especially 0% greek yogurt and skim milk are great for you and an excellent area of your diet where reducing fat normally does not result in additional ingredients that you don’t need.  When in doubt, check the ingredients list or if you happen to have NuVal at your grocery store, consult that.  Reduced fat cheddar cheese is often pretty good (sample some – I like Cabot), as is part-skim mozzarella.  Reduced fat cheese sticks are an awesome on-the-go snack!

– Meats.  Choosing leaner meats like tenderloins, seafood, and lean ground beef and avoiding meat with skin (chicken, turkey) is an easy way to cut out saturated fat.  Fat from animal sources is the kind that is really going to cause problems for you, so buy lean meat and season with herbs, vegetables, citrus or vinegar based marinades, and spices.  You’ll feel way better after eating leaner meats, too!

If you have a hard time using the nutrition facts label to decide whether a low-fat version is better for you, find yourself a store with NuVal or another nutritional rating system, or consult a Registered Dietitian. 


This entry was posted in Nutrition, product review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to When low fat = totally disgusting and not any better for you

  1. Low fat peanut butter drives me nuts

  2. locutus08 says:

    So true! One of the many problems with unregulated claims on products.

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