Free" label shell game?
recently bought two different yogourts where both nutrition
labels showed a total of 100 calories per serving.
was "fat free" the other was not. They both tasted
can be part of a healthy diet, but should there be a bias
towards the "fat free" choice?
like calling a spade a spade. When we see "fat free"
on the label we think less fat on our butts, and fewer calories
consumed. That's the attraction, the selling feature of the
phrase "fat free". The trouble is that while we
initially read "less fat on my butt" when we see
the fat free label, we also think, "I can eat more of
this stuff". That's a two for one marketing message impact;
eat more and have less butt fat.
"fat free" yogourt has 40% more calories than the
plain yogourt for the same serving size of 175g 1/3 cup.
of the problem with comparing nutrition labels is there is
no standard for what a serving size is - that's left up to
the manufacturer. These two yogourts have different serving
has been suggested by some that those selling higher calorie
foods will reduce their serving size portion so the total
calories appear lower and therefore more attractive, and perhaps
more aligned with a competing product with lower calories.
course we can never prove that this labeling shell game technique
is used with the intent to mislead, we can only compare labels
and make our own decisions.
this comparison the "fat free" yogurt has 40% more
calories when compared gram for gram, but both have 100 calorie
serving sizes for the nutrition label. Personally I'll take
the 3 grams of fat and lower calorie per gram product. Fat
is an essential nutrient that requires a balanced intake.
By limiting our fat grams per meal to between 10 and 15 grams,
we can easily meet the average 50 to 60 grams of fat per day
recommendation. Regular exercisers and endurance exercisers
will need more fat, and more total calories to support more
our total calorie intake is important. Fretting about 3 grams
of fat between two food choices is unreasonable.
a person didn't study the labels and do the math, the low
fat yogurt appears to have the same total calories as the
plain yogurt, but this isn't true when compared gram for gram.
I suppose each company can claim their reasons for defining
different typical serving sizes for the same product, but
the fact remains; in a side by side comparison the low fat
label is at minimum confusing if not outright misleading.
the same amount of this fat free yogurt as the regular option
will result in 40% more calories consumed. If you aren't wary
of this labeling practice that spans many food items, not
just yogurt, you may unwittingly be puting more fat on your
here to learn about the daily requirements of fat's carbohydrates,
2007 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness www.rhinofitness.ca