A Comparison of Fat Content in Original Processed Foods and their Low-Fat Alternatives


  • Mahtab Gill
  • Saba Shahrasebi


Consumers rely on the Nutrients Facts table (NFt) to gain information on the nutrient
profile of the foods they purchase. Presenting precise information on NFts is essential when
considering the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) due to high-fat diets. The objective
of this study was to gauge the accuracy of “low fat” marketing statements in processed foods in
comparison to their brand-matched high fat alternatives. This was done by measuring fat content
by solvent extraction in four high and low-fat food pairs from the same brand (Breton crackers,
Quaker granola, Lays chips, and Wheat Thins crackers) consisting of three replicates each. We
hypothesized that if a food is labelled as “low fat,” then it should contain less fat content than the
original band-matched product following solvent extraction. The original Lays chips (p = 0.007),
Quaker granola (p = 0.027), and Wheat Thins (p = 0.013) had significantly higher fat content
than their low-fat labelled counterparts. We found no significant difference in fat content in the
Breton cracker pair (p = 0.136). While the results seen in the Lays, Quaker, and Wheat Thins
may reflect the accuracy of the products’ NFts and marketing labels, the lack of significance in
the Breton crackers may be due to a low fat extraction efficiency.