I’m sure this is common knowledge to many of you, and maybe American food labels take care of this, but around here I fond a LOT of highly educated folks who don’t understand how to work out percentage of calories in a food. Many will look at a package that says “97% fat-free”, and think that it’s very low fat. For those of you that also think that, I want to clarify how to work out true percentage of calories.
I’ll start with a very simple example. If you took 3 grams of olive oil and dissolved it in 100mls of water, it would be “97% fat-free”. However, this hides the fact that 100% of the drink’s calories come from fat. If you sipped on this through the day and drank a litre of this weird drink, you would be consuming 30 grams of fat from this 97% fat-free drink.
Now take this “Healthy Choice” meal I have in front of me. It also claims to be 97% fat-free. That’s because the meal weighs 400 grams, but has only 10.4 grams of fat. Now, 10.4 grams of fat is not bad, but it’s not just 3% of the calories. A gram of fat has 9 calories, so 9 x 10.4 grams equals 94 calories. The total calories in the meal are 400, so in fact this meal is almost 25% of calories from fat. I hope you are all savvy label readers and can work this out when shopping, but I know a lot will still just trust the label and think this is a very low fat meal. Eat smart!