There is much discussion in the media and among individuals today about the use of low-fat food. In fact, if you go to a store you will find the shelves flooded with foods that claim to have as low as only 3% fat. Often we see on television many advertisements of food companies that claim to offer such low-fat food that is perfect for those people who wish to have a low-fat food diet. I have been concerned with such type of food as I wished to make a combination of adequate eating and physical activity to be in excellent physical form. In this short essay, I will demonstrate that many of the foods we are eating today are in reality not that low in fat as they claim. There are many reasons why food with only 3% of fat is just too good to be true. One of the major problems is that the food companies base their figures “on the weight of the product and not the calories the product contains” (Bluman, 2005).
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Fat in my daily foods
This is a crucial point since many people are misguided in this respect and base their daily diet on the wrong principles. Instead, what is important is the calories. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. Thus, the correct way to calculate the fat content of the food is to multiply the number of fat grams by 9 calories per fat gram (Bluman, 2005).
I will examine three foods that I consume daily. Each morning I get a croissant with a cup of coffee. At lunch, I usually get a portion of chicken and noodles. And before dinner, many times I get a cup of chocolate. Each of these products pretends to be almost fat-free or at least very low in fats.
The company that sells the croissant writes in its packaging that this product has 30% less fat than its competition and only 5% fat as a product. It got only 6 grams of fat when competing firms produce croissants with 9 grams of fat. The total weight of the product is 120 grams. That is why they pretend it has only 5% fats and contains 140 calories. Nevertheless, the correct way would be:
- 9 cal/gram x 6 grams = 54 calories of fat (54 / 140) x 100 = 38.57% (that is the real percentage of fat the croissant has, not 5%)
For the chicken and noodles, the company pretends it has only 10 grams of fat for every 350 grams of serving. That means it has around 3.1% of fats. In total this food has 240 calories. The correct calculation would be:
- 9 cal/gram x 10 cal = 90 calories of fat
- (90 / 240) x 100 = 37.5% calories of fat
The chocolate that I drink before dinner is labeled to have only 1 gram of fat every 45 grams of chocolate serving. That means it has only 2.22% of fats. It also states that it has 100 calories per serving. The real story is that it has:
- 9 cal/gram x 1 gram = 9 calories of fat
- (9 cal / 100) x 100 = 9% of real fat
The only thing mentioning in conclusion is that mathematics can help us in our daily life as much as it helps scientists solve complex problems. Regarding the low fat food industry, it is better to do some easy calculations before believing in everything we read or see.
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Bluman, A. G. (2005). Mathematics in Our World (1st ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.