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Fat Free vs. Calorie Free

Fat-Free vs. Calorie-Free

Are you a fat free fanatic?  Do you only buy or eat reduced fat or fat free foods? Does fat free mean guilt free? If you think that fat is the only reason for weight gain, think again. Actually, the true culprits of weight gain are the consumption of excess calories from any food source and minimal physical activity.

 Almost every food in the supermarket has a fat-free or low fat-version, but they aren’t always healthier to eat.  In low-fat cookies, cakes, chips, and ice cream, sugar content is usually increased to compensate for loss of flavor from fat. Therefore, the calories are often the same as regular full-fat versions.


Fat free, Reduced or

Low Fat




Reduced-fat peanut butter (2 Tbsp)


Regular peanut

(2 Tbsp)


Fat-free fig cookies, 2 cookies (30 g)


Regular fig cookies, 2 cookies (30 g)


Fat-free caramel topping (2 Tbsp)


Caramel topping, homemade with butter, (2 Tbsp)


Low-fat blueberry muffin, 1 small (2½ inch)


Regular blueberry muffin, 1 small (2½ inch)


A calorie is a calorie; whether they are from fats, carbohydrates or proteins.  The key to healthy eating is to look for foods that are “nutrient dense.”  These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients rather than just calories. The dining halls provide a variety of foods that are nutrient dense including fruits, vegetables, and whole wheat breads and rolls.

Fat Free Does Not Mean Calorie Free!

Revised By: Nathalie Corres, Reviewed By: Dr. Storch- Department of Nutritional Sciences, References: Fat Free Versus Regular Calorie Comparison. Available at: Accessed on: November 13, 2012. McGuire. M. et al. Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food. 2010, pgs. 4-10.

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