Below I have take a picture of two different versions of the same brand of cream cheese. One version is the "regular" kind and the other is "fat-free". Can you tell just by reading the label which one is which?
As you can tell, there are quite a few things that are different - so let's get started! The first label is the fat-free version and true to it's label, it has reduced the fat content of the cheese down to nothing. There's also 70 calories less in the fat-free version than there is in there regular. Should we insert an applause here? Not so fast.
Now look at the number of ingredients in the fat-free cheese in comparison to the regular version. Better yet, how many of those ingredients are actual real food items and not the result of a chemistry experiment?
I’d also like to compare the contents of the ingredients lists. In the regular version of cream cheese, it’s straight-forward: “Milk, cream, cheese culture, salt, carob bean, guar gum (a thickener, similar to cornstarch).” In the fat-free version? There’s… tragedy. And shame. And two “kinds” of salt (salt and sodium tripolyphosphate, a preservative derived from triphosphoric acid.) And twelve more ingredients than you can't find in the regular version.
It takes a manufacturer 18 ingredients (many of whom not found in nature) to present you a cream cheese with the same taste. Sure, it has twice as much sugar and almost 60% more salt, but hey – at least you get fewer calories, right?
Why does this matter? It matters because in the quest for hunting for “fat free,” we’ve neglected the primary purpose of food – nourishing our bodies. If you change the structure of the milk used – from regular to skim – then you change the nutrients available. You change its ability to nourish you and fill you up. You’re sticking more chemicals in your body.
If you spend some time in the grocery this weekend, compare your “regular” versions with your “fat-free” versions – and see how unclean they are. I think you may be quite surprised.
In summary - eat clean, eat food NOT chemicals, READ YOUR LABELS, and eat in moderation.