Saturday, April 18, 2009

Life's Little Irritants: Food Labeling

I've been trying to count calories and cholesterol lately, and at times it get's really frustrating. It has to do with trying to look good without necessarily being so. Take an example on a can of Pam Organic Canola Oil Spray.

The label says 0g Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 0mg Cholesterol. Also 0 calories, and 0 calories from fat. Sounds good, right? Well then, look at the serving size: 1/5 second (spray time). Servings per container: 419. WHAT? Did anyone ever try to cook with 1/5 second of cooking spray? It looks like if you can list 0 for a value if the true value is less than 0.50 of a gram, and perhaps less than 0.5% of daily value. At the serving size specified, all the values are zero. The label certainly doesn't tell you anything. It is totally useless. From reading a label on a bottle of Canola Oil, Canola Oil contains about 14g of fat per tbsp., which is also 14g of product.

Doing a little math, it takes spraying about 10 seconds to get 1 tbsp of product by the spray. I probably don't spray 10 secs, but I do probably spray 2 secs. That would make a reasonable serving 2.8 g of fat.

Now why can't they just say that on the label?

Another example is content by deduction. An example, Total fat: 6g. Saturated fat: 2g. Of the 4 grams not specified, any idea how much is polyunsaturated fat and how much is monounsaturated fat? I haven't a clue!

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