Truth about "0" Calorie Butter Sprays

A lot of my friends on here have been logging popular butter spray! I just wanted to post this article that helped me understand that butter spray certainly is not a "freebie."

article found here: http://strengthsystems.wordpress.com/2008/01/13/spray-butters-and-food-labels/


-> The topic of this article is the growing popularity of spray butter substitutes. There are several on the market, Parkay and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter being the two most popular.

For some time I have been looking for the nutrition information related to the calorie content of Parkay Fat Free Butter Spray to change. When this product first hit the market I, as I am sure many other people, thought it should be in consideration for product of the year. A product that tastes like butter, no cholesterol, zero trans fat, in fact zero fat period (or at least that is what the bottle claimed). Then I looked at the ingredients:

Water, Soybean Oil, Buttermilk, Salt, Soy Lecithin And Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids (Emulsifiers), Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate And Sodium Benzoate (To Preserve Freshness), Lactic Acid (Acidulant), Artificial Flavor, Colored With Beta Carotene (Source Of Vitamin A), Vitamin A Palmitate.

Now, let’s ignore the long list of preservatives (some of which are potential carcinogens) and emulsifiers and focus on the second and third, soybean oil and buttermilk. Now it doesn’t take a food scientist to realize there is fat in both of those ingredients. After a quick search I have run across several websites that tout these products as a great substitute to real butter and definitely margarine, which is typically made up of hydrogenated oils (more on the negative health benefit of those here). Most of these sites use the nutrition label that is directly from the bottle.

With all the confusion around and attempt to educate the public on food labels and serving sizes over the past few years, it seems a label with nothing but zeros on it would be simple to understand. Just use a couple sprays, but with information like 0 calories it would be like telling someone to eat just one potato chip. I decided to contact ConAgra (owner of the Parkay brand) regarding the contents and here is what they confirmed.
March 24, 2005

Thank you for contacting us. The Parkay Spray was developed to give you the buttery taste of real butter without the fat calories. There are .8 calories in 1 spray and 4.0 calories in 5 sprays. Fat content is .085grams in 1 spray, .4grams in 5 sprays. We appreciate your interest in Parkay.

ConAgra Foods Consumer Affairs

050469237A


That means that in the entire bottle there are 813 total calories from 90 grams of fat. Now you may be wondering why it is they can list it as 0 calories. Phil Kaplan, who runs PhilKaplan.com, has the answer.

The FDA labeling law says that if there’s less than 1/2 gram of fat in a serving, a food can be labeled “Fat-Free.” The catch is, nobody regulates what the food companies refer to as a serving size.

I guess the ideal situation for the food and beverage industry would be to set the serving size on every product so small it could be considered ‘fat-free.’ Fortunately this tactic has been receiving increased scrutiny over the past couple of years most often with soft drinks and snack foods.

I do agree that this is a good product, in fact I have two bottles in my refrigerator. The problem with this labeling occurs when a person does not realize there are ‘hidden’ calories and decides to use it in a manner inconsistent with a ‘few sprays,’ such as with baking. What is thought of as a 0 calorie replacement for butter in your dishes is simply substituting one fat for the other.

I hope you have found this article educational and should you choose to try or continue using one of these products, you can do so a little smarter. For a decent list of products you can choose from in this category I recommend the following page: Better than Butter.
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Replies

  • quitmakingexcuses
    quitmakingexcuses Posts: 909 Member
    Thank you so much for posting this!! I have been using that and I think I'll be throwing it out ASAP! :)
  • you're welcome! I found out early enough, shortly after purchasing Smart Balance 0 calorie butter spray. I read the ingredients and was confused on how it could be totally calorie free. So, after returning home looked up some information and thought a lot of people on here would like to know!
  • LG30
    LG30 Posts: 72
    That is good to know., thank you for sharing! :D
  • IMYarnCraz33
    IMYarnCraz33 Posts: 1,018 Member
    good info. thanks for sharing
  • LovingMe19
    LovingMe19 Posts: 380 Member
    Love this! Thanks!
  • kmeekhof
    kmeekhof Posts: 456 Member
    Just like "trans fat free" is if there is less than 0.5g per serving.
  • netsirk419
    netsirk419 Posts: 30 Member
    Thank You! Very informative!
  • krueandliz
    krueandliz Posts: 32 Member
    This is very helpful. I was aware that nothing is really calorie free but I was surprised at just how much fat are in those sprays.
  • Danahimself
    Danahimself Posts: 279 Member
    Great post!
    Thanks
  • anna_lisa
    anna_lisa Posts: 486 Member
    bump
  • thanks everyone. Share with your friends! A lot of people have been misinformed thanks to the Nutrition Facts on the bottle.
  • HollyTsiaussis
    HollyTsiaussis Posts: 415 Member
    Thank you so much for posting this!! I have been using that and I think I'll be throwing it out ASAP! :)

    Agreed!
  • tigersword
    tigersword Posts: 8,059 Member
    Anything under 5 calories per serving can be rounded down to 0 calories. Not just spray butter, ANY food.

    And there is certainly not a lot of fat in those sprays, do you have any idea how much one bottle really is to spray out at once?

    .085g per spray is very, very little. Yes, 800 calories in the bottle, maybe. Also, 900 servings. There's a reason it's a spray, it diffuses so you can use much less of it to cover much more area.
  • Anything under 5 calories per serving can be rounded down to 0 calories. Not just spray butter, ANY food.

    And there is certainly not a lot of fat in those sprays, do you have any idea how much one bottle really is to spray out at once?

    .085g per spray is very, very little. Yes, 800 calories in the bottle, maybe. Also, 900 servings. There's a reason it's a spray, it diffuses so you can use much less of it to cover much more area.

    Diet Pepsi, Splenda, etc. Very true. This is more or less just to inform people, so they can log differently if they so choose too. I also know people may use this stuff to cook with, and could easily result in a hefty meal.
  • JenFer5
    JenFer5 Posts: 25
    Great info! Thanks for sharing :)
  • Rilke
    Rilke Posts: 1,202 Member
    Gahhh. Just use real butter, people. That ingredient list just makes me cringe.
  • coralcrepe
    coralcrepe Posts: 10
    very informing! i've always wondered about this, thank you :) luckily i've always strictly used one or two sprays.
  • NeedANewFocus
    NeedANewFocus Posts: 898 Member
    Good to know. I had no idea. Thanks!
  • cydonian
    cydonian Posts: 361 Member
    Great post. Many foods that are labeled as low fat and low/0 calorie are not actually so. Splenda and other artificial sweeteners are the same way... they contain something like 50 calories per half a cup, but because they label the serving size as smaller than that and it's under 5 calories in that serving, they don't have to label it per the FDA. Anything under 5 calories doesn't have to be labeled, and I believe anything under 1g of fat doesn't have to be labeled.

    There's calories in almost everything, is what it comes down to.
  • PJilly
    PJilly Posts: 20,377 Member
    I got this oil mister from Bed Bath and Beyond, and I love it!

    11472416643637P.JPG
    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=16643637