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Monday, June 3, 2013

Cool Whip/Whipped toppings: light, fat free, or sugar free? Which is best?

After the last post about strawberries, it is only appropriate to discuss whipped toppings-a topping commonly used in strawberry dishes.  Which is best regular, light, fat free or sugar free...that is the question. We made a chart to compare not only calories, fat and sugar, but also to compare the ingredients in the products.  Check it out below:

image sources: Cool Whip, Reddi Wip

What does all this mean?  All of the Cool Whips are 15-25 calories/2 tbsp while the Fat-Free Reddi Wip is 5 calories/2 tbsp.  The Regular Cool Whip has more sugar and fat (which is expected) than any of the others compared.  The Sugar-Free Cool Whip and Fat-Free Reddi Wip has less sugar and the Fat-Free Cool Whip and Fat-Free Reddi Wip has less fat than the others.  By calories, fat and sugar alone, the Fat-Free Reddi Wip wins big. 

Looking at the ingredients, water is the first ingredient in all the Cool Whips while cream (imagine that) is the first ingredient in the Fat-Free Reddi Wip.  Note: the Regular Cool Whip has cream, but it is the 6th ingredient listed on the label.  Remember, the ingredients are listed in order of amounts that are actually in the product.  So, the higher on the list the more of it the product contains.  Each of the Cool Whips contain corn syrup (a source of sugar), hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans fat), and high fructose corn syrup (a source of sugar) while the Fat-Free Reddi Wip does not have any hydrogenated vegetable oil or high fructose corn syrup.

The bottom line: The Fat-Free Reddi Wip wins in all categories and is the best choice to top your strawberries this season based on calories, fat, sugar & ingredients.  You can find it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, unlike Cool Whip which is located in the freezer section.  

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