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 FatRegular
 Calories Calories
Reduced-fat peanut butter, 2 T187Regular peanut butter, 2 T191
Reduced-fat chocolate chip cookies, 3 cookies (30 g)118Regular chocolate chip cookies, 3 cookies (30 g)142
Fat-free fig cookies, 2 cookies (30 g)102Regular fig cookies, 2 cookies (30 g)111
Nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt (<1% fat), 1/2 cup100Regular whole milk vanilla frozen yogurt (3-4% fat), 1/2 cup104
Light vanilla ice cream (7% fat), 1/2 cup111Regular vanilla ice cream (11% fat), 1/2 cup133
Fat-free caramel topping, 2 T103Caramel topping, homemade with butter, 2 T103
Low-fat granola cereal, approx. 1/2 cup (55 g)213Regular granola cereal, approx. 1/2 cup (55 g)257
Low-fat blueberry muffin, 1 small (2 1/2 inch)131Regular blueberry muffin, 1 small (2 1/2 inch)138
Baked tortilla chips, 1 oz.113Regular tortilla chips, 1 oz.143
Low-fat cereal bar, 1 bar (1.3 oz.)130Regular cereal bar, 1 bar (1.3 oz.)140