Do you have a bottle of Canola oil in your pantry? If so, get it out and look at the fat content. Does it have fat? Mine does.

Recently I picked up a can of non-stick cooking spray. This product supposedly provides a fat-free way to keep things from sticking to your frying pan. Printed on the can was “Made with 100% Canola Oil”. That got me thinking, how does it have an ingredient known to have fat but is labeled fat-free? I found my answer when I turned the can around.

Listed under the nutritional facts it said total fat was 0% but in the ingredients next to Canola Oil was an asterisk. The asterisk was explained as adding a trivial amount of fat. So the product isn’t really fat-free but free of all but a trivial amount. Further inspection of the nutritional facts proved how they can make the claim of being fat-free. The serving size was a quarter of a second worth of spray. Yes, less than half a second worth of non-stick spray. How much spray can you get in a quarter of a second? I tried it and I don’t think I could cook anything with how little product was placed in the pan. Maybe you can, but for me, I need a few seconds. That is 8 to 12 servings which I assume is much more than a trivial amount of fat.

In order for the producer to promote the product as fat-free (trivial amount), they had to make the serving size very small. The amount per serving is too small to actually be able to perform the task it was created to do. The reality is the marketers can promote the product as healthy, only if they stretch the numbers to say what they want it to say. It’s kind of like my statistics professor taught us. You can make the numbers say anything you want.

I know what some of you are thinking. You argue the amount of fat in percentage of total daily allowance is still very small. I know. The product is relatively healthy. The point is marketers use tricks to convince us of something that may not be true. If we buy based on the misinformation, we are allowing their chicanery to influence us.

Before buying something because a salesperson, advertisement, or company promotional material says something, do your own due diligence to see if what you are buying really is what they are selling.

This investigation just might keep a few unneeded products out of your house and more money in your pocket. That is the essence of being thrifty.

Now, regarding non-stick cooking spray, I will still buy it because it really does what it supposed to do. Just not fat-free.

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