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Are Fat-Free Foods Really Free Of Fat?


Updated October 05, 2008

Question: Are Fat-Free Foods Really Free Of Fat?
Answer: The cornerstone of any cholesterol lowering diet is fat-free foods. But just because a label states that it is fat free, that doesn’t mean that it actually is.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, foods can be labeled as “fat free” only if they contain less than 0.5 g of fats (saturated fat or trans fats) per serving. Therefore, it is possible for the Nutritional Facts label to state that there are 0g of fat, even though there is a trace amount of fat present in the food.

If you decide to eat a lot of servings of the food, this could translate to many grams of fat and calories. Just because something is labeled as “fat free,” it doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want to. Although it sounds like a small amount, numerous servings of fat-free products could add up pretty quickly in terms of fat and calories.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2006. Available at: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qatrans2.html. Accessed 31 July 2008.

Rolfes SR, Whitney E. Understanding Nutrition, 3rd ed 2005.

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