If you’re looking for a dessert that you can eat without the guilt, you may have a tough time. Unfortunately many of the ready-to-eat, low-fat sweets that sound too good to be true really are.
Processed foods marketed and labelled as 'low-fat' aren’t always a healthy choice, as they often contain higher amounts of sugar or sodium.
These foods can also be just as high in kilojoules as their full-fat counterparts – all the additions to make up for the loss of taste and texture tend to increase the kilojoule count.
According to the Retail World 2010 Annual Report, the market leader in the dairy desserts category is Nestle, with 29.9% of market value. Le Rice and Fruche also rank in the top five, with 14.2% and 12.7% of market value respectively. These top sellers have many products labelled as low-fat - in fact, the entire Le Rice and Fruche range is ‘low-fat’.
CHOICE analysed the nutrition information panels of low-fat, ready-to-eat desserts from the fridge and freezer section of supermarkets and applied our traffic light criteria. None of the products we reviewed received the green light across all four of the key nutrient criteria. All have too much sugar - however, some fare worse than others and were given the red light. We didn’t include yoghurt or ice-cream in this review as they belong to separate market categories.
Don’t assume you’re making a healthier choice when buying products that make 'healthy' claims. Remember to read the nutrition label – there’s a difference between the positive claims on the front and the more comprehensive picture given by the nutritional panel on the back of pack.
What desserts to look for
- No more than 600kJ per serve.
- Gets a green or amber light for sugar and
- A green light in all other categories
The desserts in our What to Buy list meet this criteria. However, keep in mind that these products should only be eaten in moderation - just because they’re low-fat doesn’t mean they can be eaten regularly. Rather than eating one of these desserts, consider picking up a piece of fruit.
For more information on Groceries, see Food and health.
Or, to find out more about CHOICE's recent campaign activity see the Better Food Labelling campaign.
- Brooklea Vanilla Custard 97% fat-free
- Coles Light Apple Pie 35% fat-reduced
- Coles Lite Pouring Custard 99% fat-free
- Dairy Farmers Dairy Selection Vanilla Lite pouring custard 99% fat-free
- Dairy Farmers Dairy Selection Vanilla Thick Custard 98% fat-free
- Fruche Strawberry Fields 98% fat-free
- Fruche Tropical Mango 98% fat-free
- Fruche Vanilla Bean 98% fat-free
- Fruche Vanilla Bean with a berry layer 98% fat-free
- Nannas Lite Apple Pies 45% less fat
- Nannas Lite Mixed Berry and Apple Pies 40% less fat
- Nannas Original Waffles 1.2 grams of fat per waffle
- Nestle Aero Chocolate Mousse 97% fat-free
- Nestle Diet Chocolate Mousse 97% fat-free
- Nestle Diet Dark Chocolate flavoured dessert 97% fat-free
- Nestle Diet Creme Caramel 99% fat-free
- Nestle Diet Lemon Cheesecake flavoured dessert 99% fat-free
- Pauls Custard Low Fat Vanilla 99% fat-free
- Pauls Custard Vanilla 97% fat-free
- Weight Watchers Belgian Eclairs
- Weight Watchers Double Chocolate Pudding
- Weight Watchers Sticky Date Pudding
- Wicked Sister Rice Pudding Luscious Vanilla with Blueberry 97% fat-free
- Wicked Sister Rice Pudding Luscious Vanilla with Caramel Dulce de Leche 97% fat-free
- Wicked Sister Rice Pudding Luscious Vanilla with Cinnamon 97% fat-free
- Yoplait LeRice Apple and Cinnamon 97% fat-free
- Yoplait LeRice Classic Vanilla 97% fat-free
- Yoplait LeRice Limited Edition Chocolate Coconut Rough 97% fat-free
- Yoplait LeRice Raspberry and White Chocolate 97% fat-free
- Yoplait LeRice Smooth Caramel 97% fat-free