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Fat-Free vs. Regular Calorie Comparison

You can lose weight by eating fewer calories and by increasing your physical activity. Reducing the amount of total fat and saturated fat that you eat is one way to limit your overall calorie intake. However, eating fat-free or reduced-fat foods isn't always the answer to weight loss. A fat-free food is not necessarily low in calories; in fact, it could be higher in calories because of added sugars. Calories may also be added when you eat more of the reduced-fat or fat-free food than you would of the regular item. For example, if you eat twice as many fat-free cookies as you would regular cookies you actually have increased your overall calorie intake. The following list of foods and their reduced-fat varieties demonstrates that just because a product is fat-free, it doesn't mean that it is "calorie-free."

Fat-Free or Reduced Fat

Regular

 

Calories

 

Calories

Reduced-fat peanut butter, 2 T

187

Regular peanut butter , 2 T

191

Reduced-fat chocolate chip cookies, 3 cookies (30 g)

118

Regular chocolate chip cookies, 3 cookies (30 g)

142

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

102

Regular fig cookies, 2 cookies (30 g)

111

Nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt (<1% fat), 1/2 cup

100

Regular whole milk vanilla frozen yogurt (3-4% fat), 1/2 cup

104

Light vanilla ice cream (7% fat), 1/2 cup

111

Regular vanilla ice cream (11% fat), 1/2 cup

133

Fat-free caramel topping, 2 T

103

Caramel topping, homemade with butter, 2 T

103

Low-fat granola cereal, approx. 1/2 cup (55 g)

213

Regular granola cereal, approx. 1/2 cup (55 g)

257

Low-fat blueberry muffin, 1 small (2 1/2 inch)

131

Regular blueberry muffin, 1 small (2 1/2 inch)

138

Baked tortilla chips, 1 oz.

113

Regular tortilla chips, 1 oz.

143

Low-fat cereal bar, 1 bar (1.3 oz.)

130

Regular cereal bar, 1 bar (1.3 oz.)

140

Source: FDA and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Nutrient data taken from Nutrient Data System for Research, Nutrition Coordinating Center, University of Minnesota
Adapted by Editorial Staff,n July 2006
Last update, August 2008

 


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