Health knowledge and news provided by doctors.

Is There Such a Thing as Calorie-free Food?

Tim Boyer's picture
calorie-free food

Is there such as thing as calorie-free food? That’s what many food companies want you to believe. But if it’s not true, then how do they get away with it?! Read on and discover the truth about what it really means when that label says “Calorie-free” on it.


Is your dieting focused on counting calories? Do you subscribe to the oft-repeated advice that in order to really lose weight that you have to decrease your daily intake by 500 calories per day? If so, then you and other calorie counting conscious consumers should heed Prevention magazine contributing writer Caroline Praderio, who recently warned dieters of one zero-calorie food product that actually has 832 calories in it!

According to Ms. Praderio, manufacturers of food products are taking advantage of a type of FDA food labeling loophole that allows food to be advertised on the label as having no calories in it if the food contains 5 calories or less per serving.

The problem with this is that although 5 calories or less may seem inconsequential, it can easily inflate your actual calorie count—especially when there's some leeway when it comes to defining what counts as a serving size that some food manufacturers would prefer to keep hidden from the consumer.

Follow eMaxHealth on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Please, click to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified about upcoming health and food tips.

One case in point Ms. Praderio offers is about a lawsuit where one woman filed a lawsuit against the makers of Parkay Spray Butter for false advertising. Apparently Parkay Spray Butter is labeled as being fat- and calorie-free; however, within an 8 ounce can of the stuff is 832 calories and 93 grams of fat! Ms. Praderio reveals that one serving size is listed as “…5 meager sprays—not enough to coat a kitchen skillet—as an appropriate amount of spray to use.”

The plaintiff, who believed that her cooking spray was calorie-free as advertised, used two cans a week on her food until she realized that the company had a different take on what calorie-free really means.

So what’s the guideline here when interpreting labels that claim calorie-free? Ms. Praderio quotes Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet advising dieters that, "If it says zero calories, we know it's going to have somewhere between zero and five calories per serving. Just look at how many servings it has and multiply by 5. That would be the maximum, and that way you can at least get an idea of the full calorie potential."

For more about label lies, here is an informative article about whether your natural cereal is actually making you fat as well one about 5 diet foods you should never eat.

Reference: Prevention― “The Zero-Calorie Food That Really Has 832 Calories