Pros: VERY low in calories and fat, with a nice buttery flavor.
Cons: Would be nice if they told you the REAL calories and fat.
Parkay Butter Spray is one of those products that has a permanent spot in my refrigerator. Why? Because it has tons of uses and is a real diet aid. In my household, where everyone is always conscious of the calories and fat content, this product is a real gem.
What is it? It's a 44% vegetable oil spread inside an 8 oz. bottle with a spray top. The main ingredients are water, soybean oil, buttermilk, and salt. Plus a bunch of chemicals that give it a thick, creamy texture, a buttery flavor, and a pleasant yellow color. Basically, you can think of it as a spray butter.
How do you use it? Simply spray the product wherever you would use butter. It works best on hot foods. I spray it on steamed vegetables, baked potatoes, and toast. A slice of toast typically gets around four sprays from me. A serving of veggies gets around five sprays. The other way to use this product, is as a non-stick coating for your pots and pans when you cook.
While the sprayer is easy to use, occasionally it gets clogged. In that case, a quick rinse makes it good as new again.
How does it taste? Pretty good! It's definitely not the same as slathering tons of butter, but it's pretty darned close. As far as the texture goes, I've used other brands in the past, and Parkay definitely delivers a thicker, creamier product.
Here's the part where you have to use some common sense. Because the folks at Parkay are no dummies. The label proudly states all 0's. 0 calories! 0 fat! 0 cholesterol! One would think this is a miracle product, right? And yet, a quick look at the ingredient list reminds us that there's oil and buttermilk in this product. How can it possibly contain 0 calories and fat? Well, it all boils down to legalities. The serving size is listed as 1 spray for cooking, and 5 sprays for a topping. I've never used only 1 spray no matter what I'm using it for; 5 sprays is a lot more realistic. Even so, with a 5 spray serving, they still claim 0 calories and 0 fat. I understand how they arrive at 0 fat. The FDA says that any food containing less than 1/2 g of fat per serving can legally call themselves fat free. So how much fat does 5 sprays of Parkay contain? According to one source I read, just over .4g. In other words, 5 sprays is just under the 1/2 g cutoff where they can call themselves fat free. How come they can say there are 0 calories in 5 sprays? While I couldn't find an exact calorie count, I do know that as far as the FDA is concerned, if there are less than 5 calories per serving, you're allowed to claim 0. So I have to assume that 5 sprays contain just under 5 calories.
What does all this mean? It means that used sparingly, this product is VERY low in calories and fat. But if you're going to pour the entire bottle (1130 sprays according to the label) onto your baked potato, you're asking for trouble. But used as intended - a few sprays here and there - this can be considered a 0 calorie product.
Overall, this is a terrific product for those who enjoy butter, but not the calories and fat. With a nice, buttery flavor, and a creamy texture, I can enjoy my baked potato and not kill my diet. I have been known to bring this product with me when I go to restaurants. Why not? If it means I can eat a hot buttery roll before my meal and a delicious baked potato with my meal, and still stick to my diet, it's worth a few weird looks. Just remember that nothing that tastes this good is really free, and keep in mind the calories and fat if you're going to use a lot of this product.
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