How much do reduced-fat foods actually save you?

Just because the packaging says "reduced fat" or even "fat-free" doesn't necessarily make a food product better for your health or physique. The main asset of dietary fat is that it improves taste. When it's removed, something has to take its place to keep the flavor intact, and sugar is the usual substitute. Hence, we have become a country that eats less fat but more calories, making us flabbier than ever. 

Your greatest ally is the nutrition label-be sure to read it. Sometimes, but not always, reduced fat or fat-free is the best option. Below, compare the number of calories in the full-fat versions of several products with the calories in their low-fat or nonfat renditions.

Low-Fat Losers
Products Full-Fat Low-Fat/nonfat version
Fudgsicle  60 60
Snyder's of Hanover Sourdough Pretzel 110 100
Rosina Celentano Stuffed Shells 250 260
Low-Fat Winners
Colombo Raspberry Yogurt  220 120
Kraft Deli Delux Swiss Cheese 150 110
Kraft Light Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 320 290
Breakstone's Sour Cream 60 30
Hershey's Syrup 100 50
Caesar dressing  170 70

6 Foods that sound healthy but aren't

Caesar salad It's great that you've started eating salads instead of french fries. However, you probably didn't realize that dressing can have as much fat as a burger and fries. 
Light cream cheese A mere ounce has approximately 70 calories and six grams of fat, four of them saturated. Stick with all-natural peanut butter as your spread of choice (remember, the all-natural variety doesn't contain emulsifiers or trans-fatty acids).
Fruit punch Pure vegetable juice is a good way to get in some vegetable servings, but "punches" or "-ades" provide nothing beyond lots of sugar.
Banana nut bread Don't be made a monkey of. Has 105 calories and five grams of fat in just one measly ounce.
Fat-free cupcakes In this case, fat-free means nutrition-free, as much as 82 percent of carbs come via sugar. You ought to just enjoy a regular cupcake.
Light popcorn Light, Lite, Reduced Fat, Reduced Calories-all are labeling terms that conspire to confuse you. It's misleading to call anything that has 45 percent of calories from fat in just one serving "light." Pop your own in a brown paper bag for a healthier option.

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