Working out isn’t working….the lowdown on lowfat

3 piece cakes Overindulgence–I mean the holidays, are upon us.  If you are contemplating your New Year’s resolution, why not start now? If like previous years it includes weight loss, now is perfect time to start.

While this early jumpstart borders on obscene to many, let me explain.  What I’m discussing here has more to do with what is deemed low-fat, and the subsequent choices you make because of this label.  So I’m not asking you to skip the sweet potato pie, homemade fudge, or any of the countless treats associated with this time of year–just yet.  What I am suggesting is if your favorite goodie is being hailed as low-fat, see if it measures up.


Low fat is a term that can be quite misleading.  Oftentimes, it leads us to believe we can double up on something, because it’s low-fat.  That’s not really the manufacturers’ fault.  It’s what in our head–the idea that is planted is what gets us into trouble.  Well nothing uproots the subjective, like the objective.  So here it is.


Before we make our fat-free discovery, let’s look at what protein, carbs, as well as fat equals.  This is a calculation I learned from an ACSM seminar for personal trainers.

Carbohydrates and proteins contain the same number of kilocalories.  That number is 4.  Fat equals 9.  So to recap, you might want to remember:

Fats=9 kcal/gram

Carbs=4 kcal/gram

Protein=4 kcal/gram

Let’s suppose you want to buy low-fat RED VELVET ice cream.

According to the label, it contains 5 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 12 grams of fat.  Caloric content per serving is 140 calories/half cup.

By percentage, this is how our ice cream breaks down.

Protein:  5 x 4kcal (protein)=20 calories   20 divided by 140=0.143 or 14%

Carbs:    6 x 4kcal(carbohydrate)=24 calories   24 divided by 140=0.171 or 17%

Fat:        12 x 9kcal(fats) =108 calories   108 divided by 140=0.771 or 77%

If our calculations are correct, our ice cream is almost 80% fat.  Is this still the choice you would make, if you truly want low-fat?


By now, most of us realize labels touting “low-fat, sugar-free, gluten-free,” doesn’t mean “calorie free.”  Artificial sweeteners have been linked to actually making our bodies crave real sugar.  Gluten free foods often substitute fats and sugar to give the food texture and taste, to replace gluten.  Naturally, if you are gluten sensitive or require gluten-free foods, that’s another story.  Low fat?  Well…

If you are going to indulge over the holidays, and let’s face it, few don’t–keep it real.  Better to eat a little less, exercise a little more, and consider an intermittent fast, if you are able.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at

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