Fat-Free Half-and-Half?

It’s not often that one finds a perfect oxymoron, but it happened to me in a supermarket recently when I encountered a pint of “Fat-Free Half & Half.”

In the U.S., half-and-half is typically half milk and half cream and contains about 12 percent fat, so how can such a product be rendered fat-free? Answer: by replacing butterfat (a mostly¬†saturated fat) with corn syrup and adding chemicals and thickeners to simulate fat’s texture and mouth-feel. The ingredients list: skim milk, corn syrup, cream (this is accompanied by a footnote reassuring the consumer that the cream adds “a trivial amount of fat” — I assume because the product contains a trivial amount of cream) and “less than 0.5 percent of the following: Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono and Diglycerides, Vitamin A Palmitate, Color Added (Ingredient not in regular half-and-half).”

Odd as fat-free half-and-half may seem, it’s far from unique. A search for the term “fat-free” in the grocery section on Amazon brings up 3,386 products; “low-fat” yields 3,597. That’s a vast array of food products in which no- or low-fat content is touted as a virtue. Many of them, like the pseudo half-and-half, compensate for the fat’s absence with extra sugar, corn syrup or other added sweeteners.onsumer that the cream adds “a trivial amount of fat” — I assume because the product contains a trivial amount of cream) and “less than 0.5 percent of the following: Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono and Diglycerides, Vitamin A Palmitate, Color Added (Ingredient not in regular half-and-half).”Read More here:¬†http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/processed-foods_b_1474570.html

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