I use Pam cooking spray or a generic spray oil alternative quite often. As a Honolulu Personal Trainer that also tracks macros the made easy way, it’s a great alternative that can be sneaky when working toward body transformation goals! So today while I was doing a macro audit for a client, she told me she does not track Pam cooking spray because it has zero calories.
Allow me to make this very clear: cooking sprays are a great alternative to using butter or oil if you want to save calories.
And nope, the nutrition label isn’t lying to you. But, the label is being a little bit sneaky. Yes, Pam spray is still very low in calories, but it isn’t technically calorie-free.
To summarize it: The FDA says If a serving size is close enough to 0, you’re allowed to round down to 0 calories. In the case of cooking spray, the serving size is so tiny (1/4 second of a spray), which allows them to round down to 0.
1) If a serving has less than 5 calories, it’s rounded down to 0 (like in the Pam food label on its can)
2) If a serving has 5-49 calories, it rounds to the nearest 5. Example: 36 calories rounds to 35 calories.
3) If a serving has over 50 calories, it rounds to the nearest 10. Example: 56 calories rounds to 60 calories.
In the case of cooking spray, a serving has roughly 2 calories, so they’re allowed to round that down to 0. And I don’t know about you, but who really sprays for 1/4 second? My sprays are quick but definitely not 1/4 of a second!
- A serving size is 1/4 second spray. An average spray is roughly 4 seconds. In that case, you will use 16 servings at once, resulting in 32 calories.
- An average-sized can contains roughly 500 servings. Since each serving has calories, it adds up. Typical cooking spray will have nearly 1,000 total calories.
- There is also a trivial amount of fat in cooking spray- about 0.2g per serving. Based on a 4-second spray, an average serving will yield roughly 3g fat, and 95g for the entire can.
Should you track the calories in cooking spray?
Okay, so if cooking spray does indeed contain calories, should you count it towards your daily calories?
Being in maintenance, I never count cooking spray as I’m tracking my calories or macros, because to me, 20-30 extra calories is not enough to worry about.
But, it’s a matter of preference.
If you want to be super strict and be as accurate as possible, you can certainly estimate these calories based on the averages I laid out above!