My mother-in-law has begun making ice cream with something labeled "fat free half and half". The existence of this product confuses me. Have any of you heard of it? What are the two halves?
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It is to speak to the 'fat-free' diet market. If you check the label, they have removed the fat and replaced it with sugars, usually high fructose corn syrup. It may be 'fat-free' but calories are usually more! Compare for yourself and see. I say, no thanks!
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Funny, but a friend had the same question when this product first came to market, though, she asked the question with a more ironic emphasis.
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There are usually gums and resins added to give it a texture and mouth feel similar to H&H, also artificial colors.
There are at least two approaches. There's Fat Free Half & Half that's half whole milk and half nonfat milk. Perhaps technically correct but misleading labeling if you ask me. 15 cal./serving vs. 35 or 40 for real half and half. And if I've got my math right, the same thing as 2% milk. So, really, half 2%, half marketing.
And there's Fat Free Half & Half that's part nonfat milk, part corn syrup or corn syrup solids (note not HFCS, at least not that I've seen) with carrageenan as an additional viscosity modifier and added stabilizers. Roughly 20 cal./serving. So, half the calories, half marketing?
Thanks for asking this question. I have often wondered about fat-free half-and-half myself. That kind of stuff tends to freak me out a little. Not because I'm super against processed foods (I try to eat as cleanly as possible, but...no one is perfect), but because I tend to use the "fat free" part as an excuse to eat more of them. the same thing happened with Snackwells (remember those?). My roommate and I once made cupcakes with a Snackwells mix and Snackwells frosting and proceeded to eat four a piece. Sort of negated the benefit of using the lower-fat, etc. mix to begin with.
Yucky fake stuff that's not worth using
I like to use it in recipes calling for half and half or heavy cream in soup recipes. You get the creaminess and mouthfeel of the full fat versions without the guilt. No need to be so rigid with this option on occasion. I don't keep it around for daily use for my coffee!
I try to stay away from fat free dairy products. Did you know that skim milk has more lactose in it than full fat? Also, a lot of times, when companies take out fat, they put in all sorts of additives to make up for the loss in flavor and mouthfeel--stabilizers and sugars. No thanks.
Yes I have heard of it. Found it in my mother in law's frig. We sat down and read the list of ingredients together and she has not used it since. Fat free half and half is a tribute to what nutrient based marketing can do in the face of common sense.
In the interest of not having knee-jerk reactions to these sorts of products, I bought it and tried it in my coffee. It sinks to the bottom almost as though it were liquid plastic and does not have flavor. I prefer skim milk to fat free half and half, in my coffee. I suppose it is marketable to those who don't want "fat" or calories, though. For making actual homemade foods, it would be wasteful of time and other quality ingredients, IMO. Certain other dairy ingredients, like fat-free ricotta, seem to have taste and substance, even though they are fat-free.
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