Whether a product is low in calories, fat or sugar, it is important to remember that calories still count when making choices for a healthier diet. As the new federal obesity guidelines state, “You do need to watch your fat intake. But remember calories count too.” Typically, when you choose a reduced-fat product you can count on cutting fat and calories, but sometimes this is not the case. Below are some popular products identified in generic terms to illustrate the typical case as well as the exception. For more calorie chart comparisons, visit the calorie counter.
The products in the following table illustrate that less fat can often result in fewer calories.
|Whole milk||1 cup||150||8g||12g|
|Low-fat (2%) milk||1 cup||120||5g||12g|
|Skim milk||1 cup||80||0g||12g|
|Raspberry Danish Twist||1 slice (53g)||220||12g||27g|
|Fat-free Raspberry Twist||1 slice (53g)||140||0g||33g|
|Choc. Chip Chewy Granola Bar||1 bar (28g)||120||3.5g||21g|
|Chewy Fruit Low-fat Granola Bar||1 bar (28g)||110||2g||22g|
|Fruit No-fat Granola Bar||1 bar (28g)||90||0g||23g|
|Potato Chips||1 oz.||159||11g||15g|
|Low-fat Potato Chips||1 oz.||110||2g||23g|
|Fat-free Potato Chips||1 oz.||70||0g||16g|
Further calorie savings are possible if you choose a version sweetened with a sugar substitute, as shown in the table below.
|Premium Vanilla Ice Cream||1/2 cup||270||18g||21g|
|Light Vanilla Ice Cream||1/2 cup||100||4g||14g|
|Sugar-free Vanilla Ice Cream||1/2 cup||90||3g||14g|
|Low-fat Strawberry Yogurt||1 cup||240||3g||46g|
|Non-fat Strawberry Yogurt||1 cup||160||0g||31g|
|Light Strawberry Yogurt with Sugar Substitute||1 cup||100||0g||18g|
There are always a few exceptions to the rule. The following table compares several reduced-fat foods to their full-fat counterparts. The reduced-fat versions have been significantly reduced in fat. However, because extra carbohydrate has been added to maintain good taste (you can discover this by comparing the Nutrition Facts labels, looking under “Total Carbohydrate”), the calories are roughly the same. If you’re watching your weight, remember that lower fat doesn’t always mean lower calories.
|Vanilla Creme Cookie||2 cookies||115||5.5g||16g|
|Vanilla Creme Reduced-fat Cookie||2 cookies||110||2.5g||21g|
|Fig Bars||2 bar cookies||110||2.5g||20g|
|Fat-free Fig Bars||2 bar cookies||100||0g||22g|
|Peanut Butter||2 tablesoons||190||16g||7g|
|Reduced-fat Peanut Butter||2 tablesoons||190||12g||15g|
As these tables illustrate, the bottom line is that, for people who want to control their weight, fat and calories matter.