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Fat-free / Low-fat versions that taste better than their "full fat" versions?

ipsedixit Jan 27, 2011 02:59 PM

Just talking taste here, not any claimed caloric, health, nutritional, etc. benefits (or lack thereof).

Personally, I like the Reduced Fat Wheat Thins and Triscuits better than their regular versions.

I think 2% Fage is better than the regular full fat version.

I like Baked Lays better than regular Lays.

I like Baked Kettle Chips (esp. the Salt & Vinegar) better than the regular version.


  1. t
    tinnywatty Feb 1, 2011 09:43 PM

    Reduced fat Cheez-its. So much more cheese flavor. I always think that the full fat ones taste bland after eating reduced fat.

    1. j
      jamieeats Jan 30, 2011 10:09 AM

      i prefer the reduced-fat peanut butter, since it actually ends up tasting a little sweeter than the regular brands... probably because there is a little more sugar to make up for having less fat.

      hands-down, i prefer fat free milk, cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and greek yogurt. however, i will NOT eat fat-free or reduced-fat cheeses!

      1. p
        piccola Jan 29, 2011 04:41 PM

        I generally prefer low-fat soups and sauces -- they're not as viscous, which I like. Ditto mashed potatoes. Sometimes fat gets in the way of flavour.

        1. s
          sunflwrsdh Jan 28, 2011 05:48 PM

          I'm learning to like egg whites as a substitute for whole eggs...built up to it gradually, and can't tell a lot of difference in things like omelettes, and egg salad...next trick is deviled eggs.

          10 Replies
          1. re: sunflwrsdh
            piccola Jan 29, 2011 04:36 PM

            I do egg whites for omelettes, whole eggs for poached or soft-boiled (where the yolk actually matters).

            1. re: sunflwrsdh
              ratbuddy Jan 29, 2011 04:42 PM

              Why waste all the nutrition found in the yolk? The yolk is the healthiest part of the egg.

              1. re: ratbuddy
                piccola Jan 30, 2011 06:01 AM

                Not necessarily - it has all the minerals, but the protein is in the white.

                1. re: piccola
                  ipsedixit Jan 30, 2011 09:32 AM

                  There's protein in the egg yolk as well.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    goodhealthgourmet Jan 30, 2011 09:54 AM

                    there sure is. nearly 3 grams in a large one.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      ipsedixit Jan 30, 2011 10:03 AM

                      The yolk might just be the perfect food.

                      (Relax everyone. I said "might" ... don't get your diapers all wadded up for no reason and start a flaming debate about what the perfect food might be ...)

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        goodhealthgourmet Jan 30, 2011 03:11 PM

                        i'd say the *whole egg* might be.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          mcf Jan 30, 2011 03:25 PM

                          I'd say either the whole egg or the yolk could be, but not just the white by itself. The white has no fatty acids, and those are essential to human life.

                          1. re: mcf
                            ipsedixit Jan 30, 2011 05:39 PM

                            The whites aren't even in the conversation. It's all protein, no carbs, no fats, etc.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              ratbuddy Jan 30, 2011 08:09 PM

                              Shh, someone who still thinks a no fat/no carb diet isn't moronic might hear you ;)

            2. s
              sueatmo Jan 28, 2011 05:42 PM

              I agree that 2% Fage is better than either the full fat or the non-fat. This is my favorite yogurt. I also like reduced fat cottage cheese best.

              1. HillJ Jan 28, 2011 04:41 PM

                pretty much agree with everyones post.

                my only absolutely must be full fat dairy is butter. I can't stand butter subs of any kind. otherwise lower fat foods, especially in the dairy category has exploded with so many great choices (almond, rice, soy, coconut) and I love em all....just leave my butter, buttery.

                1 Reply
                1. re: HillJ
                  sunflwrsdh Jan 28, 2011 05:46 PM

                  I am also sort of a butter purist...don't like any of the subs for actual butter, and would rather have just a tiny taste of real butter than a half of a cup of any of the subs....however....lite butter is not all that bad.

                2. n
                  NicoleFriedman Jan 28, 2011 12:30 PM

                  I prefer 2 percent milk to whole in my cereal. Skim tastes like water but whole milk tastes too buttery for me.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: NicoleFriedman
                    lynnlato Jan 28, 2011 03:06 PM

                    Agreed. I like 2% over both whole and skim. Better mouth feel.

                  2. b
                    burlgurl Jan 27, 2011 07:31 PM

                    Carnation Light hot chocolate is by far my favorite hot chocolate instant mix...soo much better than the regular! I even prefer it to the deluxe hot chocolate brands

                    1. m
                      magiesmom Jan 27, 2011 07:14 PM

                      I like neufchatel better than full fat cream cheese on a bagel.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: magiesmom
                        tinnywatty Feb 1, 2011 09:46 PM

                        I agree.. cream cheese always feels too heavy and takes away from the bagel flavor.

                      2. Tripeler Jan 27, 2011 06:20 PM

                        Generally I prefer low-fat cheeses to the regular full-fat versions.
                        I am particularly fond of the low-fat Jarlsberg cheese sold at Trader Joe's.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Tripeler
                          sunflwrsdh Jan 28, 2011 05:44 PM

                          +1 on Jarlsberg lite! It has a great flavor for everything, and I buy it at the deli in "chunks" to grate for onion soup!

                          1. re: Tripeler
                            sueatmo Jan 29, 2011 03:18 PM

                            I like Lorraine Swiss in its reduced fat version very well. I prefer it to Jarlsberg. Another very good reduced fat cheese is the Cabot line. They do a very good reduced fat cheddar and a jalapeno cheddar. I also enjoy buying the Cabot reduced fat cheddar snacks. I don't like the 75% reduced fat cheddar. It doesn't melt and I don't think it tastes like cheese. I also like the reduced feta crumbles I find at the grocer. I use reduced fat blue cheese crumbles, but don't think they are as successful as the feta.

                          2. c
                            Chowrin Jan 27, 2011 05:30 PM

                            turkey bacon (comp. "real" bacon)

                            1. goodhealthgourmet Jan 27, 2011 05:27 PM

                              agree on the Fage and the baked potato chips. i also prefer baked tortilla chips to fried.

                              back in the days when i ate Ben & Jerry's, i preferred the low-fat to the full-fat when flavors came in both varieties - e.g. Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, S'mores...then again, i've never really been a huge fan of full-fat ice cream, period.

                              22 Replies
                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                ipsedixit Jan 27, 2011 05:42 PM

                                Is that true for all ice cream brands? Dreyers (or Edy's), Breyers, etc.?

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 27, 2011 08:37 PM

                                  yup. the butterfat content of regular cream is just unpleasant to me - the mouthfeel is too heavy, and the taste interferes with the other flavors. i much prefer gelato or frozen yogurt.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                    ipsedixit Jan 28, 2011 08:25 AM

                                    Is this true for homemade ice creams as well?

                                    Don't get me wrong -- I love gelato and frozen yogurt about as much as I love getting a free meal at the French Laundray -- but I think there is a massive difference between homemade ice cream and the stuff bought in grocery stores.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      goodhealthgourmet Jan 28, 2011 09:16 AM

                                      the few times i've made it at home i've reduced the fat in it...but it's been ages, and i've been avoiding getting an ice cream maker for the past few years - partly due to lack of space, but also because i'd probably spend far too much time playing with it :)

                                      but you're right - on the rare occasion that i have ice cream at a restaurant (usually as a component of a dessert), it's only when i've confirmed that the ice cream is, in fact, made in-house, and it's always less fatty & heavy than store-bought.

                                      for the record, Josie in SM serves killer homemade ice cream...as does BLT Steak if you ever happen to go.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                        sunflwrsdh Jan 28, 2011 05:43 PM

                                        Also agree...I have an ice cream maker as well, but haven't used it in for ages...and when I did, I used heavy cream as a base. However, I also used it only in the summer, when I could use fresh fruits....hmmm...may be time to bring it out and play with a lower fat base!

                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                      lynnlato Jan 28, 2011 03:04 PM

                                      We were gifted an ice cream maker last year and the first time I made full fat ice cream it messed up my stomach something awful. It was just too much. Then again, when I tried making a reduced-fat version, it didn't set as well and developed ice crystals quickly in the freezer.

                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                    Chowrin Jan 27, 2011 06:16 PM

                                    buy or make some ice milk ;-)

                                    1. re: Chowrin
                                      goodhealthgourmet Jan 27, 2011 08:38 PM

                                      i'm all about gelato & frozen yogurt :)

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                        NicoleFriedman Jan 28, 2011 12:35 PM

                                        I used to crave froyo on a daily basis. However I can no longer stand the texture/sweetness I find with most brands like colombo. Baskin robbins frozen yogurt is actually revolting; it tastes of chemicals and sugar. Also, the calories are still quite high. I was shocked years ago to discover that my average cup of colombo had 400 to 500 calories. I realized it was healthier to just have a scoop of icecream. The exception is tasti-d-lite or the lite choice, though those technically aren't frozen yogurt. For some reason those are insanely good and the calories are very reasonable.

                                        1. re: NicoleFriedman
                                          ipsedixit Jan 28, 2011 02:41 PM

                                          How about Pinkberry or other places of that ilk?

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            cheesecake17 Jan 29, 2011 04:44 PM

                                            I used to *love* Pinkberry style frozen yogurt, but I got over it pretty quickly. It was $6 or so for a medium with fruit and I felt that it had sort of an icy texture. I like the Trader Joe's quart of tart frozen yogurt- same taste but none of the weird texture.

                                            Tasti-D Lite hurts my stomach like something awful. God only knows what's in it. And.. only the vanilla flavor has very few calories. From what one franchise owner told me.. all of the 'oreo' and 'peanut butter' type flavors actually had those ingredients blended in with the base flavors.

                                            1. re: cheesecake17
                                              goodhealthgourmet Jan 29, 2011 07:44 PM

                                              And.. only the vanilla flavor has very few calories. From what one franchise owner told me.. all of the 'oreo' and 'peanut butter' type flavors actually had those ingredients blended in with the base flavors.
                                              actually the vanilla isn't even the lowest-cal flavor there! and yes, most of the flavors are higher in fat & calories than one might expect. they also got busted years ago for claiming their products were lower in calories than they actually were...

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                NicoleFriedman Jan 30, 2011 10:00 AM

                                                My understanding is that it was a single store that blended pb into the base. The lite choice does this as an option but you can see how much pb they use. Also, the ingredients are all natural.

                                              2. re: cheesecake17
                                                goodhealthgourmet Jan 30, 2011 03:00 PM

                                                Tasti-D Lite hurts my stomach like something awful. God only knows what's in it.
                                                from the Tasti-D website:
                                                Vanilla dairy base made with all-natural ingredients: water, nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, cream, guar gum, locust bean gum, carrageenan, vanilla, lactase.

                                                Chocolate dairy base made with all-natural ingredients: water, nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, cream, cocoa (processed with alkali), guar gum, locust bean gum, carrageenan, lactase.

                                                Flavors: Made from a variety of the finest ingredients.

                                                no sugar alcohols or chemical sweeteners to blame, so my guess is that the guar gum was the source of your gastric distress. it's a pretty common culprit - people tend to be more sensitive to it than they are to other gums...or it could be something in their flavor syrups.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                  mcf Jan 30, 2011 03:10 PM

                                                  Or it could be all the concentrated sugars, and the big dose of lactose in non fat milk plus added lactose. Even a normally non lactose intolerant person could have trouble from it. And the gums combined could also do it. Resistant high fiber foods do, as you say, have that effect on some folks. One of the ways that fat free foods end up so unhealthy is the addition of so much stuff in unnatural concentrations and combinations to compensate for the qualities of the missing fat.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                    cheesecake17 Jan 30, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                    I think it may have been all the air that was whipped into the stuff. Or the guar gum, like you said. I stay far away from Tasti now.. there aren't even so many locations in NYC like there used to be.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      Caitlin McGrath Jan 30, 2011 03:14 PM

                                                      Tasti-D-Lite has to be the ultimate "there's no there there" food. It boggles my mind how popular it seems.

                                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                                    NicoleFriedman Jan 30, 2011 09:58 AM

                                                    In the summer it can be nice although quite pricy. However I used to like Colombo because I thought it was a healthy alternative to ice cream. Even my grandpa who had to watch his weight due to heart problems thought so; he'd sometimes eat in place of lunch. I felt duped.

                                                  3. re: NicoleFriedman
                                                    goodhealthgourmet Jan 28, 2011 04:22 PM

                                                    interesting. i tried Tasti-D back when i lived in the city, and THAT tasted like chemicals to me. artificially-flavored whipped air with a nasty aftertaste. i really couldn't fathom why it was popular.

                                                    Colombo low fat fro-yo contains between 32 and 35 calories per ounce, so if your "average" cup ran you 400-500 calories, you were actually eating closer to two cups at a time...and a standard "serving" of any frozen dessert is supposed to be 4 oz or 1/2 cup. i'm not saying you should choose it over full-fat ice cream, i'm just pointing out that if you ate a serving that was comparable to a scoop of ice cream it would only run you about 130 calories and a couple of grams of fat.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      mcf Jan 28, 2011 05:20 PM

                                                      Tasti-D is the worst product ever, to my taste. Every single flavor tastes the same, indiscernible from one another, and all of it fake .

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                        NicoleFriedman Jan 30, 2011 10:05 AM

                                                        Keep in mind that the cup will often be overfilled. Most people wouldn't think to ask for less due to the price. You're right that scoop to scoop Colombo has L
                                                        Less calories. However I never felt satisfied with a small cup, whereas a small scoop of good ice-cream is fine.

                                                        1. re: NicoleFriedman
                                                          goodhealthgourmet Jan 30, 2011 03:06 PM

                                                          please understand that i'm not suggesting you should forgo the ice cream. in fact, i tell my clients all the time that i'd rather they indulge in a small but satisfying serving of what they REALLY want instead of substituting a diet or fake alternative...because most people will either end up eating too much of the substitute (e.g. your experience with Colombo), or they'll over-compensate with excess calories later because it didn't satisfy them. it's the Snackwell's syndrome.

                                                          Lite Choice came on the scene after i left, but i just looked up their website...now THAT i can get behind as an occasional guilt-free treat based on the ingredients. well, as long as it actually *tastes* good ;)

                                              3. mcf Jan 27, 2011 05:17 PM

                                                No such thing, IMO. Only reason I eat 2% Fage is calories, I think the full fat is way more luscious.

                                                The only leaner version of anything I think I ever like is smoked bacon made from lean pork.

                                                1. GraceW Jan 27, 2011 04:43 PM

                                                  I do not like Oreos.. but my sister swears the Reduced Fat Oreos are superior to regular Oreos.

                                                  1. j
                                                    jbsiegel Jan 27, 2011 04:41 PM

                                                    Skim milk is WAY better than whole milk - much more thirst-quenching!

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: jbsiegel
                                                      ipsedixit Jan 27, 2011 05:41 PM

                                                      I don't drink milk (although I cook with it).

                                                      But I definitely prefer nonfat chocolate milk to regular chocolate milk. Just tastes so much more chocolately.

                                                      1. re: jbsiegel
                                                        invinotheresverde Jan 28, 2011 12:51 PM

                                                        I definitely agree that skim milk tastes better.
                                                        I also prefer low fat sour cream to regular.

                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                          sunflwrsdh Jan 28, 2011 05:40 PM

                                                          I agree about the sour cream as well....I mostly always use the fat free sour cream, and like it as well, if not better than the higher fat versions.

                                                        2. re: jbsiegel
                                                          sunflwrsdh Jan 28, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                          +1 on the skim milk, and I prefer almond milk to skim...which is even less calories!

                                                          1. re: jbsiegel
                                                            cheesecake17 Jan 29, 2011 04:40 PM

                                                            definitely agree with that. I drink a glass (or two) of skim milk with chocolate syrup mixed in every morning. I once bought 1% and couldn't drink it, tasted too rich to me.

                                                            Thinking about it.. I buy all my dairy products low far or fat free. Part skim ricotta & mozarella and only fat free cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. I aso prefer the lowfat frozen yogurt or double churned stuff to regular ice cream.

                                                            1. re: cheesecake17
                                                              Heatherb Jan 30, 2011 10:02 AM

                                                              Same here!

                                                          2. b
                                                            baseballfan Jan 27, 2011 04:39 PM

                                                            I agree about the wheat thins and triscuits. They just seem crunchier to me. I also like the reduced fat ruffles. They are not so greasy and the ones with the sea salt are good as well.

                                                            1. r
                                                              rizzo0904 Jan 27, 2011 04:36 PM

                                                              I agree on the Greek yogurt.

                                                              Also, I prefer reduced fat oreos. I like the filling better.

                                                              1. o
                                                                obsessed with food Jan 27, 2011 03:47 PM

                                                                They don't make them any longer but Milky Way Light fit into this category for me.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: obsessed with food
                                                                  escondido123 Jan 27, 2011 04:22 PM

                                                                  The zero fat Greek yogurt by Trader Joe's is so rich I couldn't imagine wanting something richer...and I love rich!

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