Perplexed by Pudding

Fat Free? Sugar Free? Regular? Snack Packs? Cooked? Instant? Refrigerated? Shelf Stable? I have a degree in food and I can’t figure it out! How is anyone else expected to?!

Every now and then I take a closer look at what I’m putting in my body. It would be nice if I could do it more often, but let’s get real. There just isn’t enough time! But I figure if I look at one food at a time and determine what I feel is my best choice, over time I’ll know all the choices that are right for me. Hey a girl can dream, right?!

TRUE STORY: So I was at the grocery store standing in front of the pudding. First I had sugar free chocolate in my cart. Then I saw fat free chocolate. Quick, look at the calories! Which has less? Same. Damn. Move the cart to the side to let other shoppers through. OK, check out the fat. Duh. That’s no help, one is fat free. I knew that. Back up so others can reach their pudding. Check the calcium. Same. Trip over display jutting out into aisle. Would the protein be different? Hardly. Check on purse to make sure no one is stealing my wallet. Still have no idea which pudding is the one I want. Throw both puddings into the cart because they are on sale for a dollar each. Figure it out at home.

So here I am figuring it out!

I don’t really need sugar free or fat free. I just figured why not keep my calories down where I can. So now I just have to determine where I want my calories to come from…fat or sugar?

Short answer: Neither. Especially when it’s in a form I can’t even pronounce.

Deep down I think I knew this already. Whole food (the food I can pronounce) is what I want in my body. And this is most definitely not that. Here’s what the labels look like.

Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients: Water, Modified Corn Starch, Maltitol, Sorbitol, Nonfat Milk, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Vegetable oil (Contains one or more of the following: palm oil, partially hydrogenated palm oil, sunflower oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil), less than 2% of Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Milk Protein Isolate, Carrageen, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium.

Calories: 80

Total Fat: 3.5 g

Saturated Fat: 2 g

Sodium: 110 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 15 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sugars: 0 g

Protein: less than 1 g

Calcium: 10%

Iron: 4%

Fat Free Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients: Water, Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), less than 2% of: Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Carageen, Artificial Flavors, Color Added.

Calories: 80

Total Fat: 0 g

Saturated Fat: 0 g

Sodium: 140 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 20 g

Fiber: less than 1 g

Sugars: 15 g

Protein: 2 g

Calcium: 10%

Iron: 2%

And just for comparisons sake here is the regular chocolate pudding. I didn’t buy this one, but hey, maybe I want to next time?

Regular Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients: Non Fat Milk, Water, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Vegetable Oil (contains one or more of the following: Palm Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Sunflower Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Less than 2% of: Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Artificial Flavors, Color Added.

Calories: 130

Total Fat: 3.5 g

Saturated Fat: 1.5 g

Sodium: 140 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 23 g

Fiber: 0 g

Sugars: 16 g

Protein: 1 g

Calcium: 10%

Iron: 4%

So let’s keep it real. While I would like to make a nice homemade version of pudding to enjoy, it’s just not feasible. I need some things that are grab and go. In this case I’m going for the fat free. It has the shortest ingredient list without the added fats. I’m not even sure why the fats would be added anyway? Why not just use milk that’s got some fat of its own? And I’d rather have the real sugar than the artificial sweeteners in this case too. I eat them, but I like to add them myself. And when you look at it closely the fat free version is just the other choices (even the regular) with all the funky ingredients take out.

So glad I did this. 🙂

*Disclaimer: These choices may not work in your diet. Talk to your doctor about your specific health condition and appropriate choices for you.

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