We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but all those zero calorie foods you’ve been munching on with abandon aren’t really calorie-free. Nothing you put in your mouth, chew, and swallow is completely free, it turns out. Per the FDA, manufacturers are allowed to say a food is calorie-free if a serving is less than five calories. Which means that if you’re squirting a lot of that “calorie-free” flavoring into your smoothie, or spraying a bunch of that “no-cal” cooking spray in your pan, you could be getting as much as 20 to 30 calories. Do that several times a week and eventually, you’ll be tacking on pounds to your frame. Here’s a look at some of the biggest “zero-calorie” offenders.
Here are some other ways we’re reading food labels wrong.
Each spritz of cooking spray lasting one-third of a second contains about two calories. If you douse your pan for longer (and who doesn’t?), those calories can quickly add up. If you’re worried about calories, opt for steaming over roasting or frying your produce and proteins. “Most liquid oils contain a similar amount of calories—roughly 120 calories per tablespoon—and this amount isn’t going to differ much from oil to oil,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition. “Olive oil, for example, contains 119 calories per tablespoon, while avocado oil contains 124 calories per tablespoon.” So while this avocado spray lists zero calories on the nutrition label, it most certainly is not calorie-free.