It doesn’t take a scholar to figure out that olive oil is fat. So why then on one nutrition label will 100% olive oil contain nine calories per gram while on another food label such as, PAM Olive Oil Spray, be zero fat and zero calories? The answer may surprise you and it is one of the tricks the food industry and the FDA uses to sneak calories into our diets.

How Can PAM Olive Oil Spray Really Be Zero Calories?

olive oil nutrition factsYou might be asking, how is it possible that olive oil can contain calories on one label, but on another label, the same exact oil have absolutely zero calories? The reason stems from FDA nutrition labeling guidelines. Current FDA nutrition labeling regulations state that any serving amounts less than five calories can be labeled as zero. There’s also one other interesting trick the FDA has up its sleeve: if the serving size is less than 0.5 grams, then the label can actually read as zero. So let’s take a look at a bottle of olive oil. As you can see, in one tablespoon for olive oil, there are fourteen grams of fat. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one gram of olive oil contains nine calories. So how is it possible that PAM Olive Oil spray can magically be absolutely no calories?

Zero Calories In PAM Olive Oil Spray

Pam Olive Oil Nutrition FactsTake a look at the label for PAM Olive Oil Spray. Notice the nutrition facts – zero calories. But also see something else – the serving size is 1/3 of a second with each serving being 0.266 grams per serving. Because of the serving size being less than 0.5 grams, the food industry can get away with labeling its food as zero calories.

But let’s be honest here, for those of you that use PAM Olive Oil Spray, how many of you can actually say that you adhere to the serving size of 1/3 of a second? Not that using olive oil is inherently bad for you, but this is just an example of how deceiving the food industry and labeling can be.

So how many calories are actually in PAM Olive Oil Spray?

Using the USDA figure of one gram of olive oil equaling nine calories, the 0.266 grams as found in PAM’s olive oil spray would contain approximately 2.39 calories. This is of course assuming that 0.266 grams is made up of only one hundred percent olive oil. But it’s not. As you would know from reading this article, PAM is made up of quite a few propellants and emulsifiers aside from their primary oil ingredient. Regardless, now you can be aware of how the food industry uses the FDA nutrition labeling guidelines to their advantage. Don’t be fooled by PAM’s Olive Oil Spray no calorie claim.


1. N.a. “Basic Report: 04053, Olive Oil, olive, salad or cooking.” United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27. Web. 15 September 2015.