Servings per container: 557?


One of those people with a good sense of the absurd?  Here is something absurd that’s probably right in your kitchen.  Get out your favorite brand of cooking spray (found in almost all American homes) and check the serving size.  Chances are, it will be somewhere between 0.25 and 0.33 seconds.  That’s between 1/4 and 1/3 of a second.  The servings per container will be between 350 and 600. 

This is a perfect example of why we have such a problem with achieving health in this country.  No, not cooking spray.  Misleading information presented as fact.  Maybe somewhere, in some test kitchen, a trained professional can spray for only .25 seconds but everyone I know really wants to coat that pan with ‘non-fat’ cooking spray.  Problem is, used the way most people really do, it is not non-fat.  In fact, it is oil.  Pure fat. 

For comparison, a can of cooking spray is about 6 ounces. A stick and a half of butter is 6 ounces.  Imagine cutting that stick and a half of butter into 557 pieces.  Now, spread one on your toast.  Congratulations, you have just had ‘fat-free’ butter.

We have been led to believe that non-fat cooking spray is much healthier than oil.  So which is better?  Well, one comes in a spray can with propellants.  At least with the pure oil most people would try to be judicious. 

In fact, if you are using non stick pans, then the cooking spray is redundant.  If you are trying to cook with no fat, it would be preferable to cook  just with broth or water.  Yes, you really can sauté in just plain water.  I prefer broth or wine for flavor but water works just fine.  Plus, it’s free –no spray can needed.

Dr. Michalene Elliott is a chiropractor in Rochester who writes for RochesterChiro’s blog and has tried to spray for less than half a second but, sadly, cannot.


  1. Kara said,

    September 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I never really thought about it before. Really good point. What would you suggest for baking? That is really the only time I use a spray with flour. While I know it takes more than a 1/4 second spray (is that even possible?) I think it would still have less fat than coating the baking pan with butter and then flouring.

  2. Jennie Schaff said,

    September 1, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Very interesting!! You do a fantastic job of making us see the misleading information that we see and ‘digest’ on a daily basis. Thank you for your informative posting!

  3. September 2, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Great question. For baking you have several options. The most cost effective is to use parchment paper to line your pans. For square or rectangular pans cut a piece as wide as your pan but about 9 or 10 inches longer. You can then line the bottom of the pan and leave some extending over two sides to use as “handles” to simply lift the food out. This works extremely well. It makes cutting things like brownies very easy because the food is already out of the pan. No digging in the corners and no weird white stuff on the sides! The next option is to get very high quality non-stick pans and replace them as soon as there is wear to the surface. Also, I have heard good things about the new flexible silicone pans but haven’t tried them personally.

  4. September 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..


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