Fat-Free vs. Sugar-Free? Plus a Recipe Exclusive!

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Hi HG,

Which is better if I'm counting calories: fat-free or sugar-free stuff? Some products, like coffee creamers, are available in both versions. Which should I choose? Thanks!

Josie and the Product Stats

Hi Josie,

This is a great question. Some people think that since fat has more calories per gram than sugar, it's always better to choose fat-free items. This is not true. It really is case by case, so you NEED to check the nutritional panels. That being said, here are a few HG staples -- either sugar-free or fat-free -- that are calorie bargains compared to their alternatives...

Sugar-Free Pudding Snacks - This is a great example of when reading labels can you save you bigtime in terms of calories. Most of the sugar-free pudding cups by Jell-O, Handi-Snacks, and Snack Pack have 45 - 60 calories each, while the fat-free cups usually have 80 - 100 calories per treat.  

Fat-Free/Diet Hot Cocoa Packets
- Nestlé Fat Free and Swiss Miss Diet (which is fat-free) each have 25 calories per packet. Heads up! There is a product called Swiss Miss Fat Free that has 50 calories a packet. CONFUSING! The no-sugar-added versions tend to have 50 - 60 calories each. 

Coffee-mate Sugar Free French Vanilla Powdered Creamer - This is slightly lower in calories than the no-fat stuff. But honestly, they're so close in calories that I tend to grab whichever's easiest to find.

P.S. If you are sensitive to sugar alcohols or avoid artificial sweeteners, you should be aware that many sugar-free foods contain those. And if you're specifically trying to reduce your fat intake, obviously you'll want to opt for the fat-free items.

Thanks for emailing!



I am a huge fan of anything with LEMON. I love lemon bars but, since I know just how fattening they usually are, I only let myself have one bar a year. Do you have a no-guilt version of the lemon bar? Thanks for all the fun stuff!

Love Always, Lemonhead :)

Hi, Lemonhead!

Gotta be honest... In general, I'm not crazy about lemon desserts. But I know that some people really flip for them, so I decided to create a lemon bar recipe a while back. The bars came out so good, I absolutely fell in LOVE with them. The recipe can be found in the Fun with Fiber One chapter of the second HG cookbook, Hungry Girl 200 Under 200. But I'm going to share it with you RIGHT NOW... 

Fluffy Lemon Squares
PER SERVING (1 square): 121 calories, 2.5g fat, 203mg sodium, 25.5g carbs, 5.5g fiber, 7.5g sugars, 4g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3*

1 1/2 cups Fiber One Original bran cereal
1/4 cup light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
4 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda or Truvia) or 2 1/2 tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)  

1 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
1 2/3 cups Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
6 tbsp. whole-wheat flour
6 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 - 3 lemons' worth)
2 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. baking powder 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust, in a blender or food processor, grind cereal to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine butter with 2 tablespoons water. Microwave until just melted. Transfer to the medium bowl. Add sweetener and mix thoroughly.

Spray an 8" X 8" baking pan with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute crust mixture, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press and form the crust. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture over the crust in the pan.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool and cut into nine squares!


Hope you love it, Lemonhead!

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