Weight Loss Blog

Never Buy Fat-Free Mayo – Here’s Why…

Posted by Dr. Ray Hinish

Many of you know that I own a natural-foods restaurant called The Flying Avocado Cafe and one of my many responsibilities involves making sure that the food is as healthy as possible.

One of the favorite items on our menu is our chicken-salad and recently someone asked me about the type of mayo that we use in making the dish. At the time, we used a brand-name mayo which I estimated contributed approximately 180 calories (2 Tablespoons) per serving of chicken salad. The chicken-salad was normally served atop a large bowl of organic field greens and came with a homemade dressing on the side. The majority of the calories in the dish could be attributed to the mayonnaise and dressing which utilized a healthy olive oil as a base. They then asked if it was possible to use a fat-free mayo in place of the  standard mayo to bring down the calorie count.

As a business owner, I live by a code…”when your customers talk, you listen” so I went to the local supermarket and evaluated a number of mayonnaise options. After perusing a number of options, I came up with two candidates:

  1. Fat-Free Mayonnaise (From Kraft & Helmans)
  2. Reduced-calorie/Reduced-fat Mayonnaise (From Kraft & Helmans)

I started by looking at the nutrient facts. In this stage of the mayonnaise battle, the fat-free version came out on top  having just 10 calories per tablespoon. The Reduced-Calorie Mayonnaise contained approximately half of the calories of normal mayonnaise with between 35 and 45 calories per tablespoon. Many people end the analysis here as they declare the fat-free version the winner, however, we ALWAYS want to look at the actual ingredients before we choose a product. We want to make sure that we are eating REAL food rather than non-foods built in a laboratory.

Unfortunately for the Fat-Free version, high-fructose corn syrup was one of the ingredients listed.  As you may know, high-fructose corn syrup is on the Cutthefatpodcast.com list of BANNED SUBSTANCES! I looked at both brands of fat-free mayonnaise and both contained high-fructose corn syrup as a core ingredient. In my opinion, I would much rather have a few extra calories of a product that contained “clean” ingredients rather than fewer calories of nutritional junk!

Reduced-calorie Mayonnaise wins the battle EVERY time! Incidentally, I brought the reduced-calorie mayo back to the test kitchen and had the chef whip up a batch of the reduced-calorie chicken salad. I then tested the new recipe versus the current recipe which used regular mayo. The majority of people loved both and many could not tell the difference. The Flying Avocado Cafe now offers a reduced-calorie version of chicken-salad for our Fat Cutter clients! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on healthy eating! Leave your comments below.

Dr. Ray Hinish About the Author
Dr. Ray Hinish is a nutritional pharmacist, certified personal trainer, & certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. He currently practices in Baltimore, MD, where he owns and operates a wellness center and natural foods restaurant. His mission is to help folks to live their health potential so that they can pursue their passions with confidence and endless supplies of energy!
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  • Jette Sorensen

    Thanks for bringing your take on using a less fatty ingredients in you meal planning. I mostly use real products instead of those that contains a lot of superficial ingredients. I believe those are not good for you.
    Yes I get more fat that way, but I know what I eat.
    Also some researchs claim you become fuller by eating a full-fat product versus a low-fat product. Of course everyone should find out for themselves what works for them and where their preferences are.. I know where mine is.
    J.S.

  • Kami

    This is how I have felt for years. Great artical! Real is better with anything that is.

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  • http://illnessisoptional.com kelly

    for me its not about the calories. i dont mind the few extra calories in the low fat vs. fat free. but i look at fat grams. when im trying to stay around 10 grams per meal, 15 at the MOST, 2 tablespoons of “low fat” is almost my whole meal’s fat budget! now, im not a nutritionist, and rarely look at the ingredients, but fat is def more important to me, not calories. foods can have very low calories, yet very high fat.

  • Carolynn N.

    Hi and Thnak You for the great information. However, my problem at the moment is coming up with 100% fat free meals as I prepare for gallbladder surgery in 2 weeks and the Dr. said absolutely no fat. I am desparate for flavour. He also cut me off egg yolk, tomatoes and garlic, making my search even harder. I am going to try and adapt some of your dressing receipes. Thanks for taking such good care of your customers.

  • Dr. Ray

    Hi Carolynn, because this is a special circumstance, you may just have to bite the bullet and go high carb/high protein until after the surgery. If you have gas, bloating, and/or loose stools after the surgery then purchase a bile salt supplement such as Cholacol by Standard Process or Jarrow Bile Salts. These bile salt supplements will usually work wonders for those people who have bowel problems after the gall bladder removal. Let me know if you have other questions! Ray

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    Just curious, what about high-fructose corn syrup is bad for you? Aside from excess calories from sugar, which is true with any sugar, what makes HFCS particularly bad? Can you point me to a link/article? Thanks.

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