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Ingredient Information

Oil Spray

I have a can that sprays oil after being pumped. These are available at kitchen shops for about $10.00 and are great because you can put any oil you like in them.

I get questions all the time about how oil spray can have no fat or calories. As usual, this is a trick by the food manufacturers. Well, not really a trick, but careful use of the FDA rules.

The amount of fat listed on cooking sprays (as with all Nutrition Facts) is measured by the “Serving Size.” The FDA sets the serving size for foods as the “customary” amount. It appears that they consider the customary amount of oil spray as 1/3 of a second. This is supposedly long enough to cover 1/2 of a ten inch frying pan.

This is only about 2 calories (or about 1/4 a gram of fat) and because the FDA says that any product that has less than a half a gram of fat per serving can be called “nonfat” so the spray oil becomes magically nonfat.

Spraying for a full second will get you close to a gram of fat (or nine calories). Not really fat free since most of us spray and spray and spray. Still, most nutritionists do feel that it's a good way to control the total amount of fat in recipes as long as you're careful.