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Cooking Spray

December 19, 2013

How can companies claim that cooking sprays are “fat-free” if the first ingredient is oil?

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Cooking spray confidential. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Susanne Bard)

Cooking sprays claim to be fat-free even though the first ingredient is oil. Are manufacturers trying to trick us? Not according to Utah State University food scientist Karin Allen. She says the FDA determines serving sizes, in this case, a third of a second of spray time. And companies are legally bound to state that a serving with less than 5 calories and half a gram of fat is calorie- and fat-free.

KARIN ALLEN (Utah State University):

I don’t think most people have a stopwatch sitting there where they could even time that third or fourth of a second, but that is the law.

HIRSHON:

She says cooking sprays actually contain about 2 calories per serving.

KARIN ALLEN:

So even if we have a little heavier finger, and do 10 times that amount, that would still only give you about 20 calories worth of fat.

HIRSHON:

Which is still much less than liquid oil. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.