May 27 2009

WTF?… Where’s The Fat?!

By Worker Bee
111 Comments

As a loyal Worker Bee ever-skeptical of Conventional Wisdom, I’ve always been puzzled over the idea of fat free versions of fat and cream-based foods. Fat-free mayo, fat-free whipped cream (er, just what the hell are they whipping?), fat-free cheese – how are they wrought? What manner of culinary wizardry can make a delicious, creamy version of ranch dressing without all that artery-clogging fat? They must be doing something right, because they almost outnumber their full-fat counterparts on the shelves. And the people I see frequenting the aisles are always trim, slim, and full of vitality. Plus, what with the nationwide rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease plummeting to all-time lows just as the fat-free movement finally seems to be picking up steam, I think we can thank the good folks of Kraft, Best Foods, and Lean Cuisine for their commitment to public health.

And so I set out to peruse the aisles of the local supermarket for evidence of these shining beacons of health and chemical ingenuity. I hoped to discover the secrets so that I might recreate the delectable food products at home and avoid messing up my kitchen with “recipes” and “raw meat” and “food.”

Fat-Free Ranch

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the conventional, full-fat versions of bottled dressing, but something about a zero-fat version of a dressing that normally has a base of sour cream, mayonnaise, and buttermilk just doesn’t seem right (or even really possible). As I understand it, ranch is supposed to be creamy and thick; mayo, sour cream, and buttermilk would take care of that. So what does Kraft put in its fat-free dressing to make it creamy?

A quick look at the first online ranch dressing recipe to pop up on Google mentions a few basic elements: mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar, dill, various herbs. It sounds pretty tasty and, though it may not be completely Primal, reasonably edible. At least it’s all real food (provided you make the mayo yourself, of course). As for the Kraft fat-free ranch dressing? First four ingredients, in order, are water, corn syrup, vinegar, and high fructose corn syrup. Mmmm… nothing makes a delicious, creamy sauce even creamier like water! The doubling up on corn syrup varieties? Genius! I’ve always said that regular corn syrup just isn’t the worth the trouble without a healthy dollop of high fructose corn syrup added to the mix. Next are whey, modified food starch, and salt rounding out the bulk of the ingredients. The last six lines are dedicated to a number of chemicals, agents, colorings, and flavorings, all of which comprise less than 2% of the finished product. I’d imagine it’s the modified food starch that makes it “creamy,” especially when combined with some nice, thick corn syrup and seasoned with disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate. The carbs per serving are 11g, only 3g of which are sugars… where’d all the corn syrup go? Is this even food?

Jokes, aside, I’m not saying the full-fat versions of these bottled dressings are good for you. After all, they’re usually made with oils like soybean or canola and rich in polyunsaturated fats, not to mention the sugar. But at least the poor bastards who slather their iceberg wedges with the stuff aren’t lying to themselves about health. This fat-free stuff, though, comes with no guilt attached. In fact, it’s even called “Free Ranch.” Free, as in: don’t hold back!

At least there’s no fat, right?

Fat-Free Mayonnaise

Again, what the hell? Good mayo comes from high quality oils blended with egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Without fat to emulsify, where is Kraft possibly getting the creaminess (note: regarding whether the fat-free mayo could actually be accurately described as “creamy” is unknown; I was unable – or unwilling – to verify this claim with a taste test)?

A quick look at the ingredient list gave me the culprits. Modified food starch, our old friend, was back, along with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and a touch of soybean oil. Soybean oil? But how do they include oil while excluding fat? Perhaps the alchemists at Kraft have isolated the “oily, viscous, emulsifiable” properties from the evil lipids themselves. Hats off, gentlemen.

Whatever they did, they came up with an amazing condiment. An entire tablespoon contains only 10 calories, 2g carbs (1g sugar), and little else (maybe a bit of magic?). Spread that on some whole wheat with a few slices of imitation deli meat and a slice of fat-free cheese, and you’ve got yourself a hell of sandwich. Sure, you might get a blast of insulin released into your blood, but who’s keeping track?

Fat-Free “Cheese”

This, I don’t get at all. As if processed cheese product in plastic sleeves wasn’t bad enough, the American Heart Association, drawing on its infinite wisdom, puts their stamp on fat-free, American-Flavored (what exactly does American Flavor taste like? I’ll pass, thanks) Smart Slices. Strangely, these guys don’t even try to pass their “food” off as cheese; nowhere on the package is there any allusion to real food of any kind.

There’s even a comparison chart between “pasteurized process cheese food” and Smart Slices (wow, way to set the bar high, guys), which Smart Slices “wins.” There sure are a lot of claims being made on the package, though. Cholesterol free. Lactose free. “Healthy fat free non-dairy slices.” Slices? At least Kraft calls its stuff “food product.” These guys can’t even legally say their product is food.

I do like how its counterpart to the left, Veggie Slices, feels it’s necessary to proclaim, “Melts great!” All this “Healthy! Fat free! Delicious! Melts great! Fights heart disease!” stuff makes me think of Shakespeare: “Now the lady doth protest too much.”

I won’t even get into the ingredients, except to say that yes, modified food starch plays an integral role.

Cool Whip

Instead of fresh whipped cream, health nuts descend upon these tubs of whipped hydrogenated vegetable oil. Yes, that’s what this stuff is made of – along with water, corn syrups, various gums and chemicals. The oils are coconut and palm kernel, but they are fully (not partially; these people don’t mess around!) hydrogenated for maximum shelf life.

Curiously, there are extensive instructions for long term home storage on the package, including how to freeze and thaw the tubs effectively. Are people really buying this much Cool Whip at once? Why?

Oh, and don’t stir your cool whip; it apparently exists in a fragile state of fluffy creaminess and “excessive stirring… will cause product to soften and become watery.” Hey – it ain’t easy turning hydrogenated vegetable oil into whipped cream. It’s a delicate process!

Being oil, there is a bit of fat remaining. 1.5g, to be exact, and it’s saturated(!), so don’t expect any stamps of approval from the AHA anytime soon. That stuff kills, you know.

Slow Churned Ice Cream

The makers of industrial ice cream have happened upon an ingenious new marketing buzzword: churned. While you may hear the word and think of robust maidens with Popeye-forearms slaving over a barrel of fresh milk, that’s not what passes for churning these days. Nowadays, gigantic vats of reduced fat cream and milk are subjected to enormous mechanical churners that “churn slow” so as to keep temperatures down, “stretching and distributing” the fat molecules widely and sticking pockets of air in between. The result, they say, tricks our taste buds into thinking the ice cream contains normal levels of butterfat.

The sugar, of course, remains the same.

Coffee-Mate

Dairy-free creamer sounds insane, especially when it’s packed with tons of sugar and corn syrup, but I thought I’d draw your attention to something very interesting. Apparently, Nestle has created a new type of fat. If you look at the nutrition facts for their French Vanilla flavor, they list 1.5g of total fat – without clarifying as to what type of fat we’re talking about. Is it saturated? Nope, 0g of that. Is it monounsaturated? 0g of that, too. There’s also no trans nor polyunsaturated fats, according to the label. So what did those wily chemists come up with this time?

The reality is that as long as a product contains less than half a gram of fat, it can be labeled “fat free.” The same goes for the various types of fat. If a product has 0.25g of PUFA, it can be listed as having 0g. Some might consider this pretty devious and dastardly; I just look at it like Nestle is giving us a fun new game to play (with our health): guess the lipids!

The End

Immediately after snapping the last photo of cheese-esque sliced product, I was approached by the manager. In a calm, but forceful tone, he asked me to explain myself. “Taking pictures,” I said, taking the obvious route. “You need permission from Ralph’s to do that,” he replied.

We both knew he had me. I didn’t have permission from Ralph’s (I didn’t even know how to contact “Ralph’s”; was he referring to the corporate office – who would undoubtedly disapprove of my objectives – or the actual, legendary Ralph himself?) and I didn’t have a good enough explanation. From the looks of him, he wasn’t an MDA reader, so that angle wouldn’t work. I actually pictured this mild-mannered regional manager dashing my camera to the floor and stomping on it for good measure; this would confirm my conspiratorial, sneaking suspicions that the whole store was complicit in knowingly peddling unhealthy fare disguised as nutritious food. But he did not, instead regarding me with friendly eyes until I let myself out, camera intact and pictures secure.

My trip to the inner aisles of the grocery store left me in a state of disbelief. I knew what I was in for, but I still came out amazed. I’m amazed that people can continue to deceive themselves into thinking what they’re eating is actually food, let alone healthy food, and I’m amazed at the cunning of food marketing that plays off this deceit. While it’s sad that the American Heart Association actually promotes some of these products as “heart-healthy,” I can’t say I’m surprised.

I soon returned to the comfortably Primal confines of MDA headquarters, confident that I had made the sound dietary choice and telling myself I would heretofore stick only to the perimeters of the grocery store.

TAGS:  humor

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111 thoughts on “WTF?… Where’s The Fat?!”

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  1. Oh Mark, you cherry-picked your examples. But, alas, the middle aisles are all cherries I’m afraid. My aunt and uncle subscribe to the low-fat philosophy (but eat bagels, donuts, and other fare religiously). I have to bring my own raw milk with me when I stay with them during holidays. I was shocked when I saw half-and-half in their fridge, only to discover on closer inspection that it was “fat free” half-and-half. WTF? Can it actually be called half-and-half if it has no fat? None-and-nothanks is more like it. And Mark, you should have snapped a few photos of the thin, svelte shoppers before the manager escorted you out.

  2. think I’ll go have some of my non-homogenized cottage cheese straight from the tub now…

  3. Reading this prompted me to re-read the ingredients on my “light” 1000 Island dressing. 1st ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, tomato puree, vinegar, corn syrup, chopped pickles, soybean oil, water, mod food starch, salt then a bunch of crap you can’t begin to pronounce. I’ve been a label reader for a long time but just didn’t read this one I guess. I love 1000 Island dressing & I know it’s not primal but hey I’m new and trying to ease into this. Are there any primal recipes for dressings or is that just a complete no no?

    1. One of my favourite dressings is guacamole! I stir it with some of my “sturdier” salad ingredients then toss it all together. Also just try olive oil & balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I just like my salads dry; I mix in blackened baked salmon & feta & that’s my seasoning!
      The other day I leafed through all the organic & healthy dressings @ the grocery store and all were made with soy &/or canola oil 🙁

    2. Galeo’s Miso dressing or Miso Caesar. Real ingredients, 1g sugar (from honey) and it’s the BEST dressing I’ve ever had. Hands down. It even says that on the label.

  4. Let me see the ingredients on my salad dressing are: Extra virgin olive oil, Organic Balsamic vinigar, minced garlic,a pinch of sea salt, fresh ground pepper. The only problem is you can’t buy it, you have to make it. On the bright side it only takes about 60 seconds to make, tastes awsome, and you can sub lemon juice for the vinigar to change it up. It’s not AHA approved, but I bet its MDA approved.

    1. unless you buy real balsamic vinegar from italy which costs a fortune, what brands sold in the u.s. are real balsamic vinegars. thanks for the info

  5. Great post Mark!!
    This is all so simple and straightforward…even if you don’t buy into the primal/paleo/ef lifestyle…you’ve got to be able to see that what you’re buying is just chemical garbage….alas…no…most just don’t want to believe it.

    Marc

    1. Hey, don’t insult garbage! Some freegans live off the stuff and if they eat the recovered meat can do very well indeed. Racoons also do well on garbage,
      so we know it can support life.

      I prefer such expressions as “Radioactive molten sodium on a submarine.”

  6. It’s enough to make you cringe. I feel so much better about the occasions that I’m weak, and eat too much real havarti, or cheddar, or stilton or….

  7. sigh.
    at least there’s an ingredient list that we could read and find out they are not food.

    1. I do hope that those of you who also have dogs and cats (obligate carnivores!) are reading their labels as carefully as well! I came across a website for a Vancouver-based rendering plant, in which they proudly proclaimed that some of their byproducts could be used to make paint, tires and…wait for it: pet food!

  8. I always laugh when I see a commercial for a product (which I cant remember right now) that touts “Made with REAL ingredients!” Oh, uh, thanks?

  9. My husband is embarrased to take me to the grocery store anymore because I start reading the labels out loud. It’s great entertainment to watch the reactions around me. At least I’ve convinced him to read labels. We haven’t bought bottled salad dressing in over 6 months, and never will! Thank goodness for MDA!

    1. This is a great idea, my husband doesn’t like reading labels either.

  10. And to think I used to eat so many of those thinking i was being healthy! Makes me cringe to think of any of those nasty “ingredients” still floating around in my body….

    At least now, if I ever DO cheat, it is always always natural ingredients.

  11. Never shop in the inner aisles of a grocery store, it’s bad for your health!

  12. This post contains: Sarcasm, Cynicism, Disdain, Humor, less then 2% Food, Primal anything

  13. MMM yummy. I LOVE proylene glycol. Not to mentions the three (THREE!!!) types of sugar in the ice cream.

  14. This post reminded me of those little asides in Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” where she lists ingredients from some horrifyingly popular, processed “food” – but doesn’t tell you what it is. You have to go to the index to find out. To think millions & milllions of clueless souls willingly injest these “foods” (aka garbage) boggles the mind.

    Dr. Marion Nestle wrote about this sort of thing in “Food Politics”. A great yet quite depressing read.

  15. Sometimes generic brands are better. I was looking at some pickled beats the other day at the store:

    S&W contained HFCS
    Generic House brand contained sugar

    Generic brand was at least 1/3 cheaper.

    About a month ago I bought a salad from a Wendy’s. I almost didn’t get a dressing, but then I thought I’d ask for Balsamic Vinaigrette…

    Here is what I got:

    Water, Balsamic Vinegar, Sugar, Soybean Oil, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Spices, Garlic (dehydrated), Lemon Juice Concentrate, Xanthan Gum, Oleoresin Rosemary.

    I’ve seen worse, but lets just say the dressing never found it’s way on.

  16. Question: anyone out there in MDA-land have their gall bladder removed or know someone primal-ish who has? I am curious as to how the primal diet affects those people…
    thanks!!

    1. Sorry, I don’t. But my cousin and my mom both had their gall bladders removed, so I’d be interested in others’ responses to your question. Btw, about a month ago I encouraged my mother to start drinking kefir daily. She’s been doing so religiously and has had a vast increase in energy and improved mobility. Since having her gall bladder removed, she’s suffered from abdominal pain and bloating, and this has been greatly lessened by the kefir. I understand that milk products are not technically primal, but I think for those who can tolerate them, like my family can, they can be a valuable contribution to the diet.

      1. Interesting… I know very little about this other than I had heard that you can’t digest fat? I have a family member that had theirs taken out a few yrs ago… & I’m trying to gently coerce as many as I can to Grok’s tribe, so it helps to be informed when one gets on their soapbox 🙂

    2. Yes I did. At the time I had been accused of eating “too much fat” and told I’d need to follow a low fat diet afterwards (the gall bladder’s only function is to collect bile and squeeze it out in a bolus to help digest fat, without it the bile trickles continuously)

      In retrospect this was an early symptom of diabetes (excess cholesterol and neuropathy caused by too many carbs). Reversing the dietician approved diet has made many major improvements and I can’t say my fat consumption affects anything at all except to improve the lipids to the point I probably wouldn’t have had gallstones in the first place.

      Supposedly excess dietary fat causes steatorrhea which I had in spades with the gallstones, but not since whatever I eat. YMMV of course. Other individuals may be affected in the way the textbooks suggest but I didn’t meet many yet.

      1. I had problems digesting fats for about a year, then my body adapted and since then (some 35 years since the surgery) – no problem with fats whatsoever.

        1. This is old but I don’t have my gallbladder and if I generally don’t eat high fat or dairy(lactose intolerant) unless its a special occasion (like my cheat meals) and damn make sure I scope out the bathrooms because that stuff will come in and be right on its way out before I can finish the last bite. Oddly enough pizza doesn’t do it. So I tend to consume all the “bad” fat free or lactose stuff Mark is talking about.

  17. And this is why I eat my salads with homemade relish and Parmesan. Or oil (canola, unfortunately), lemon juice, and Italian seasonings. This crap is scary.

  18. Nonfat is a sham. Generally means more salt and calories without the satisfaction of the taste you were craving. People are brainwashed over fat because it is calorie dense.

  19. I’m 30 so I’m definitely in the camp that grew up being bombarded with the low fat message my entire life. I fear it’s getting worse among those younger than I. To be fair, I remember a time when I would go out and look for low fat without critically thinking about what that actually meant.

    A co-worker of mine was snacking on a Special K cereal bar, which claims to be great because it’s portion controlled. Another big food scam if you ask me. And since when do we NEED to have snacks? Can’t we go 4-5 hours between meals? There’s something wrong there.

    Anyways, as an example of how unthinking most of us are about what we eat, she remarked as she munched away, “I love these things. I’m eating healthy and they taste like candy!” I bit my tongue as I wanted to say, “because it probably IS candy”. Instead I asked for the wrapper so I could take a look at the nutritional information.

    This is it, and this is from the plainest one I could find, never mind the ones coated with “natural and artificially flavoured chocolatey drizzle: http://is.gd/HBuD

    Low fat, sure, because the first glob of ingredients are just different variations on sugar. The “strawberry pieces” aren’t even strawberries, they are coloured and flavoured cranberries (wtf!). And of course there are at least 3 different kinds of hydrogenated oils tacked on. How warped have we become that this is considered a good snack over munching down on some real food?

    On the plus side, I was one of those unthinking consumers, but came around to a more informed point of view. Here’s hoping?

    1. The best thing to do after eating these things is a long conversation with Ralph
      on the big white phone. (May require a vomitive.)

  20. Regarding the gallbladder issue, for what it’s worth, I’m missing mine and have had no problems on a high fat diet (I apparently get close to 70% of my calories from just fat according to my FitDay records). I wasn’t eating a high fat diet when I had it removed, and did have some problems for a few months afterwards on my previous low fat fare, but eventually my body adjusted. When I went low carb/paleo about 10 months ago, I had no problems whatsoever.

  21. You could have taken these picture’s at my parent’s house. Sad. I grew up eating cool whip frozen from the tub. Oh gosh, what have I done?

  22. Luckily I don’t buy normal salad dressings as am fond of just a good drizzle of olive or nut oil, salt & pepper and a handful of fresh herbs from my garden and some ACV if I can be bothered and have never ventured into the low fat dressings as they scare me (what no fat!) so out of curiosity to see if this is real I went to the office kitchen to have a look at these fat free dressings and shock horror it’s true, though in Australia we haven’t been inundated by HFCS (yet!). The “fat free balsamic dressing” was the best – it had so many ingredients for something that is supposed to be simple – and I am the weird one that eats funny food!

  23. “The gallbladder, although useful, is not necessary. If the gallbladder is removed (for example, in a person with cholecystitis), bile can move directly from the liver to the small intestine.”
    http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec10/ch133/ch133c.html

    So shouldn’t have any problems.

    Susan, were you on a low-fat diet prior to your gallbladder issues? I think low-fat diets are the cause of gallbladder stones in a lot of cases. But if you already have gallstones eating fat will cause the colicky symptoms.

    1. Correct! The stones are basically crystallised cholesterol and bile salts and one reason they form may be (diabetic) neuropathy affecting the bladder’s ability to contract, on top of the excess cholesterol which results from a high carb diet. Probably a low fat diet may make this worse mechanically also in producing no stimulus for the contractions.

      When you eat enough fat to finally make it contract and squeeze stones into the bile duct the agony is excruciating. But if you’d eaten the fat instead of the carbs in the first place you’d probably not have developed the stones.

  24. Use a camera phone next time, then you look like you are just using Twitter…do it all the time on my iPhone.

  25. While I agree that some of the “fat free” versions are a bit ludicrous, I must confess to using them in moderation. Fat Free Cheeses, sorry, those are plastic wrap with coloring, they don’t even melt! Those are a rarity in my house but doing Weight Watchers it is a low fat, high fiber diet so I have utilized them in some dishes.

    What it comes down to is “serving size” made to accomodate what can then become listed as “fat free” or “sugar free”, etc. I’ve seen 8 oz. containers of items claim to serve 12 or something (hello? is that a true serving size or just a number that fit the stipulations of placing it in the “healthy zone”?)

    So, I have to agree it’s frightening to some affect, I honestly think that some of the fat free items can be used in moderation for various things. It’s over use of any product that causes problems. You could counter that with “then use the standard versions” but in smaller amounts… which would work in some cases.

    Unless you’re willing to eat chemical free, raw, organic, etc. you’re going to have this kind of stuff. I’m not knocking that style of eating, I’d love to do it.. .but can’t afford it nor can I tolerate it! LOL

    Interesting article though! I’ve always wanted to delve into HOW it becomes “fat free”.

    1. Save yourself some money! Quite weight watchers & subscribe to the MDA feed. You’ll lose twice the weight in half the time and wont gain it back.

    2. “So, I have to agree it’s frightening to some affect, I honestly think that some of the fat free items can be used in moderation for various things”

      For what?

  26. I’ve been a subscriber to the “If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be ingesting it” concept for a long time. Now, belief and practice are sometimes 2 different things, but I do the best I can with what I’m given. I’m on my way to 100%, and am probably sitting at about 65 or 70. Mercifully, I’m allergic to artificial sugar… thus having to avoid lots of chemical nonsense as it is. I love articles like this, they help me to break free from the zombie-like trance I tend to fall into from the blitz of clever, poison advertising.

  27. Well-written article!

    I’ve been using artichoke hearts and liquid from a jar/can as salad dressing. Learned it from a local brewpub. Look around, and you’ll find a jar without any added sugar and possibly with some good oil.

    As for the ‘fat free’ stuff, good luck finding anything that doesn’t replace the fat with sugar. I think of it this way: less fat, less satiety, more crappy food consumed.

  28. Thanks for the books, Mark. I’m pretty excited about the PB, and especially am enthralled with the Korg family. Did you perhaps interview my brother and sister? Well done, sir.

  29. What the hell is modified food starch? Does MDA have a position on it (Obviously it is negative but how severely)? I mean, it is in my cottage cheese. I haven’t seen cottage cheese that doesn’t have modified food starch in it….I like cottage cheese 🙁

  30. You need to shop with Mizfit while she’s doing lunges down the supermarket aisles. The manager could kick two health-nut lunatics out of the store at the same time!

  31. Part of the problem is that people, most of whom do not bother to educate themselves about nutrition, just blindly trust that if something can be sold on a store shelf it must be okay to eat. Otherwise the stores couldn’t sell it, right? The idea that your grocery store is a place full of dangerous foods where you have to be careful what you buy is totally alien to most people.

    Another depressing grocery store exercise besides reading food labels is to look at what other people put in their shopping cart. It’s enough to make you scream–or cry, when you see a shopper with kids buying all that junk.

  32. Just got my book! Well done!
    My last holdout was Ranch dressing. Then about 4 months ago I saw the recipes here and started making my own. I use a variation of EV Olive oil and red or while wine vinegar with dill, mustard and whatever else interests me that’s Real Food. I’ve never looked back.
    I too have friends that are trying to lose weight, have diabetes etc. I try to tell them they can’t eat Jenny Craig food for the rest of their life. And there are others that relish living in their misery of being an overweight “victim”. You know “poor me” etc etc. So yes, you can push more, but some people just have defined themselves as victims or can’t think for themselves.

  33. My book arrived (in Australia) earlier this week and I am entering the world of Krok and 68 years of age with a heart attack, coronary bypass and 2 stents. I quir Lipitor a year ago and have been somewhat following Nourishing Traditions” for about 18 months. Kept eating too much bread and rice though. am finding some hunger without the grains after a meal ( Curry just doesn’t seem the same without rice ) I have a beef and vegetable curry in the slow cooker at home and nearly threw in some been sprouts. Mark is silent on sprouts (I think) which some others maintain are OK as sprouting eliviates the problem with beans. Any one care to comment on sprouts?

  34. I love this guy – I have never heard these kinds of things said in quite this manner. I wanted to say that I did try the fat free mayo – ONCE – i bought it on accident accually and almost didn’t even open it – and be sure to note that if you like mayo like I do Never do this. one tsp ruined my whole hamburger – it was discusting.

  35. And they talk about Micky D’s!! Is that fake mystery meat also? I don’t eat that junk anyway.

  36. Don’t fret Mark – Hellmann’s (aka best Foods) makes

    “…Mayonnaise Dressing With Extra Virgin Olive Oil is creamy and delicious with the added great taste of Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s lower in fat than regular mayonnaise and a great complement to a healthy diet.”

    INGREDIENTS: WATER, OILS (SOYBEAN OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL*), VINEGAR, WHOLE EGGS AND EGG YOLKS, MODIFIED CORN STARCH*, SUGAR, SALT, LEMON JUICE, (SORBIC ACID*, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA) USED TO PROTECT QUALITY, XANTHAN GUM*, CITRIC ACID*, NATURAL FLAVORS, OLEORESIN PAPRIKA, BETA CAROTENE* (COLOR). GLUTEN-FREE.
    *INGREDIENT NOT IN MAYONNAISE

  37. Its probably much healthier and a good shortcut to buy fat free dressing (with little to no HFCS in it), and then add your own healthy oil to dilute it to appropriate strength.

    When I buy bottled dressing with any canola oil in it, it ALWAYS smells rancid. That’s doubly bad.

    1. Um, eww! Have you ever tasted how nasty fat free dressing is? No amount of my own oil, no matter how good it might be, is going to improve on the taste of that junk.

  38. Follow the money! Some years back I did a breakdown, UK numbers and prices will have changed since but not the percentages. Yours may differ because you grow corn which is converted to HFCS.

    Wheat and potatoes £100/tonne ex farm
    Bread £1000/tonne
    Breakfast cereal £4000/tonne
    Potato chips £14900/tonne

    You’ll be lucky to find any fats which the Food Industry can mark up that much, rape (Canola) comes closest.

    They extract starch from the wheat or potatoes, sugar from the beets, HFCS from the corn etc. and replace expensive fats with these cheap substitutes, then charge a premium price for the Healthy Low Fat label.

    “Our Father Which art in Washington, give us this day our daily calcium propionate, sodium diacetate monoglyceride, potassium bromate, calcium phosphate, monobasic chloramine T, aluminium potassiumsulphate, sodium benzoate, butylated hydroxyanisole, mono-iso-propyl citrate, axerophthol and calciferol. Include with it a little flour and salt. Amen.”

    John Brunner, The Sheep Look Up, c. 1970

    1. I don’t know much, but I know it’s a highly processed oil. Why use it when we have all these other natural fast to use?

    2. High in polyunsaturated fats which go rancid quickly. It is also very high in omega-6 (linoleic acid), excessive levels of which are associated with a battery of diseases, including heart disease and depression.

      1. Check out the article on Canola on the Weston Price foundation website–you will never go near the stuff again. It’s the ultimate franken-food. Rape seed genetically engineered and processed to make it non-lethal (barely).

  39. What puzzles me even more and I have been thinking about this recently are zero calorie food and beverages. What is the point.

  40. I am so happy I am finally consuming whole, natural foods. All of this disgusts me and makes me want to puke.

    Eating this shit for many years growing up sure is going to kill you.

  41. Okay, I am a newbie here and have been primal for about two weeks.

    Where does real mayo fit in? Can I have it? I admit my favorite dinner is 10 ounces of lean poached chicken breast shredded into a chicken salad. The mayo makes it. I figure the fat from the mayo is okay because I am not eating carbs, so I’m burning fat.

    Obviously, you don’t want a lot of Best Foods/Hellmans’ real mayo in your diet overall… but is the mayo I’m eating okay with the primal diet or should I avoid it?

    1. Avoid it at all costs. It’s nothing but soybean oil or liquid death.

      Use the search at the top and find the homemade condiments page. I believe there’s a recipe on here for an olive oil version.

      1. If you don’t like olive oil, then you can use almond oil, walnut oil, avocado oil or a mixture of the three. There’s hazelnut oil….pecan oil…I’ve even seen pistachio and pumpkin seed oils.

        My favorite is almond oil. These make a very nice mayo with little of the flavor of the oil for those who can’t stand even the thought of olives 🙂

  42. There is a special kind of Spanish Mayo called Alioli which is made exclusively from Olive Oil. All of our UK ones have vegetable oil in them.

  43. I loved that you actually brought that up!
    Everytime I hear someone say “I had a sandwich with fat free mayonnaise”.. I always tell them that there is no such thing as FAT FREE MAYONNAISE unless it is NOT mayonnaise! People do not even know that Mayonnaise is made out of egg yolk and oil! I was dumbfounded that people actually believe fat free products exist! They are not the real deal!All of which are made from synthetic and chemically altered ingredients!
    I am glad you wrote this article because I always wondered if I was the only one who was thinking
    THANK YOU!
    Happy Healthy New year 🙂

  44. Seriously, if anyone knew anything about nutrition you would know that fat is an essential macronutrient. It is required to perform a variety of phisiological functions. FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT! IT’S CALLED MODERATION!

  45. Mark, great writing and I do love the sarcasm too! You could have even gone to your local “natural” foods store or Wal-er, I mean Whole Foods and found the same low fat,”healthy” foods too! I am amazed at the amount of these foods on the center aisles of all markets! Thanks for all you are doing!

  46. I make my own low fat ranch dressing by substituting plain Greek yogurt for mayo. It has a slightly different flavor, but it’s still really good, and much healthier. If you wanted you could use 1/2 mayo and 1/2 yogurt. That would still cut some calories and not change the flavor quite as much…

  47. I don’t see how a fat free cheese is difficult. I myself using semi-dried skim milk-I did it myself, some fat free dried milk powder, and dried frozen microbial agent made very tasty fat free cheese. Yorgurt is even easier, just by adding some none homonized yogurt by a tea spoon. I also make mayo, but with some fat-which I really don’t mind, because for a tub of mayo I use about two large table spoon full of olive oil.

  48. Great Article!
    One of the most disgusting items I have ever put into my mouth was a ‘low-fat’ Chocolate Brownie. It was dry, tasteless and totally indigestible. The worst by far was a protein bar from one of those bodybuilding shops. After one mouthful I spat it out and rinsed my mouth out thoroughly.

  49. I was searching for the ingredients to low fat cheese because I was telling a friend it wasn’t good for you. This page popped up. And even tho it is a few years ago, you sure have opened my eyes to everything else you mentioned – OH MY GOSH. We cut out white sugars (and all derivatives) several years ago, and thought I knew all the sneaky ways it is added – but this sure was amazing to read! You’d be better off making your own! I buy my cheese from a lady who makes it with raw milk and it is amazing. I can’t eat a lot but when I do get to eat some, it at least is full of flavor and I KNOW what else is in it! Keep up the good work.

  50. First – you are an amazing writer Mark! I love the “voice” you put in these posts.

    It’s disturbing how pretty much all of these contains corn syrup of some kind or another. I guess it just goes to show, when you take out the fat, you take out flavor, so they replace all that fat with sugar. 🙁

  51. People often ask me “How do you stay so thin?” I reply with a list of things that rarely or never cross my lips, at least on purpose: HFCS, sucralose, aspartame, hydrogenated oils, 90% of grains, caffeine, fast food, soda (unless made with cane sugar, and regarded as a treat), ice-cream-sundaes disguised as “coffee,” flavored creamers that don’t need to be refrigerated, packaged “healthy” snack bars, frozen microwave meals, canned pasta . . . bascially everything I see in the other carts at the grocery store. And when their eyes start glazing over, I say “But I can eat all the “one-ingredient” foods I want–like non-processed meat, wild caught salmon, farm-fresh eggs, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, onions, zucchini, apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, broccoli, quinoa, toasted coconut, almonds, cranberries . . . basically, stuff without labels. I love having this conversation with people *during* a meal so they can see the sheer volume of food I eat. I do not starve myself! And if I overeat, well, then I need about 90 minutes of exercise per week instead of 75 minutes to fit into my size 4 jeans. Whew!