Fat in Food: Beware of Alfredo Sauce

Artery-clogging saturated fat isn’t a problem with most tomato sauces. Few—even Barilla Bacon & Cheese and Prego Bacon and Provolone—top 1 gram of saturated fat per half cup. Not so for vodka sauces. Most are made with enough cream and/or cheese to supply 2 to 4 grams of saturated fat. Still, plenty stayed within a sensible 2 ½-gram limit. Top taste honors went to Victoria Low Sodium Vodka and Monte Bene Low Fat Vodka.

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When it comes to saturated fat, the real troublemakers are alfredos. Their Nutrition Facts don’t look so bad because the use a small, quarter-cup serving. But when we called a half dozen locations of some of the largest Italian chains, most said that they use as much alfredo as tomato sauce. So we analyzed the alfredos based on a half-cup serving.

That gives even “light” alfredos at least 4 grams of saturated fat. Most regulars hit 5 to 9 grams. And alfredos from Buitoni and Mario Batali have more cream than any other ingredient, which means about 15 grams (three-quarters of a day’s supply) of saturated fat and 280 calories in every half cup. Add a 200-calorie cup of pasta, and you’re downing the equivalent of a 10 oz. ribeye from Outback Steakhouse.

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