Blog Post 15

Low Fat Foods are Healthier than Full Fat Options

Don’t we automatically assume that foods with “fat free” or “low fat” on its label is better for you or will help you lose weight? According to recent studies, full fat foods are actually the better choice. Although fat provides us with the most calories as compared to protein and carbohydrates, it is essential in our everyday diet. Some types of fats are better for you than others. Knowing when to decide between a low fat vs a regular fat food and which types of fats to avoid, can greatly impact your health.


Fat Modifiers

Manufacturers must add in ingredients to replace the mouth feel, consistency, flavor and texture of the fat in food. The food then can become highly processed and filled with additives. Often manufactures will increase the sugar and sodium content in a modified food product. Some reduced fat or fat free products may have reduced fat but almost the same amount of calories per serving as the regular food. When consuming a low fat food choice, many people assume it is okay to eat more of it and leads them to over eating. Just because the food choice is lower in fat does not mean you should consume more of it.

Lets Compare Labels!

Jif Regular Peanut Butter vs. Jif Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

reducedddddIngredients in Reduced Fat:Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Soy Protein, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Rapeseed and Soybean), Mono and Diglycerides, Molasses, Magnesium Oxide, Niacinamide, Ferric Orthophosphate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride.

Ingredients in Full Fat: Roasted Peanuts and Sugar, Contains 2% or Less of: Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed and Soybean), Mono and Diglycerides, Salt.

Fat and Calories: Jiffs Reduced fat peanut butter spread does have less fat, 12g of fat compared to 16g of fat in Jiffs regular peanut butter. It isn’t worth choosing the reduced fat option and here’s why. The fat in peanuts is primarily heart healthy monounsaturated, and reducing this healthy fat does not save you any calories. As we can see, in a 2 tablespoon serving both the reduced fat and full fat peanut butter have the same amount of calories!

Added Ingredients: The fat in the reduced fat peanut butter spread is replaced with ingredients like corn syrup solids, sugar, soy protein and starchy fillers. Another misconception is that people believe that low fat also means low in sugar that is not the case! Food manufacturers are allowed to add anything in the low fat product as long as it’s not fat. The added ingredients made the reduced fat version have 4 grams of sugar and a total of 15 carbs, compared to 2 sugars and only 6 grams of carbs in the regular. Also there is much more sodium in the reduced fat spread; 220 mg vs 65 mg per 2 tablespoon serving.

Flavor: Reduced fat peanut butter contains much less peanuts then the regular natural peanut butter. Regular peanut butter contains 90% peanuts while the reduced fat version contains 60% peanuts and the rest is added ingredients.

Conclusion: Before replacing the full fat food item with a reduced fat or fat free version make sure to compare labels. A good rule of thumb of deciding on a healthier option is looking at the ingredients and going with which product has less ingredients. The less ingredients a food product contains the less likely of it being highly processed. Remember that fat is needed in our diets and will help you be fueled with longer lasting energy without over eating.

Jamie Valvo, DEP Class of 2019


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