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The Big Question: Diet Cheese Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: Diet Cheese Edition

Guys, I accidentally bought Diet Cheese.

I mean I only HALF accidentally bought it because it was on sale and the idea of “Light Brie” intrigued me. I mean, how is it possible? For me light brie is only double creme and not triple.

Diet cheese can [redacted] right off.

I don’t have a lot of experience buying diet foods –my family, despite being well-off, bought the grossest, cheapest most processed food imaginable and as God as my witness I will never eat Imperial-brand margerine again– so I don’t have vast experience in food betrayal, but I bet a lot of folks do.

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

What is the vilest “diet” food you ever bought?

44 Responses to “The Big Question: Diet Cheese Edition”

  1. wildflower August 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    My condolences! I accidentally bought reduced fat mozzarella once. It was horrible. I tried to suck it up and eat it because I hate to waste food, but then I realized that it wasn’t food, and fed it to my dogs. :)

  2. Jeni August 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    I’m going to have to say diet cheese is the worst diet food I have ever had. I can deal with “light” bread/crackers/ice cream/bacon/hot pocket type items (don’t judge), etc. But “light” cheese is just nasty!

  3. smark August 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Oh man, low-fat cheese, and reduced-salt bacon. Never again.

  4. Mifty August 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    I once bought one of those weird fake-margariney and allegedly “heart healthy” spread things. Put it on toast, and it went watery and turned the bread all soggy. Clammy damp toast –bleah.

    Real food or nothing!

  5. Jacquilynne August 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Weight Watchers makes these little individual snack cake things. Calling them cake is really a misnomer, in so far as sawdust is not normally an ingredient in cake. They are so sad, so tiny, so vile, so tasting of chemicals. I honestly can’t imagine how they made it to market, even as a diet food.

  6. SusanC August 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    At my mom’s senior center they serve something called “ice cream for diabetics” which I ordered by mistake. I’m not sure what was in it, but my guess at the primary ingredients would be guar gum, whey and sucralose.

    One taste was enough- it put me off solid food for the rest of the night.

  7. Jane2 August 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    I bought a bag of Lay’s with olestra by mistake….they tasted like full fat chips, so I ate them. MISTAKE! Oh and any low-fat muffin from anywhere sucks. No exceptions.

  8. cedar August 27, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    I deeply dislike all sugar substitutes and can detect even trace amounts, which means most sweet diet foods taste like crap to me. Sugar-free hard candies are especially noxious. Does anyone else remember the lozenge-shaped ones that always looked slightly dusty, stuck to your teeth and tongue and had to be peeled off leaving a residue of fake fruit that took ages to go away? (shudders)

  9. kristin August 27, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    I don’t know if this counts, but I once got some chicken stir-fry from the university cafeteria (maybe this was my first mistake) and unbeknownst to me, some of the chicken-y looking chunks were actually tofu. I did not discover this until the offending substance was squishing through my teeth in a way chicken never could (my first thought was that I had just bitten into a giant chuck of chicken fat). I am a big texture person when it comes to food, so this was probably the most unpleasant food-surprise of my life. It was also my first and last tofu experience. I understand it can be good if prepared correctly, but… I don’t know if I can ever go back.

  10. Cambiata August 27, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    I once tried fat-free cream cheese. Heavenly days, it was like eating microwave-softened plastic! I can’t believe there’s an actual market for it.

    I don’t have a problem with ‘reduced fat’ cheeses, though. Obviously not as tasty as the full-fat versions, but when I’m making ‘healthy’ bean dip, the cheese is mostly to serve for texture purposes and the flavor isn’t hugely important.

  11. Dawn August 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    I swore off ”diet” food years ago , but there have been some nasty things over the years . The worse thing would have to have been some ”light , no sugar add’d” ice cream . It was vanilla ”ice cream” covered with ”chocolate” and crunchy things that I SWEAR were cardboard . Ugh , it was disgusting ! The ”chocolate” was like wax and had these chewy , flavorless pieces of what was supposed to be crunch in it . Oh , yuk ! Give’s me the heebee jeebee’s just think’n about it ! I like my food as real as possible now-a-days , thank you very much . lol . I think the crap that they put in diet food is SO much worse for you then REAL , whole foods could ever be !

  12. ChristianeF August 27, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    Any kind of diet dessert is horrific and should be avoided.

    What’s the point of chocolate cake (or ice cream or cookies) if it doesn’t even taste good? Just give me a hunk of the real stuff.

  13. Marianne August 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    Fat free cream cheese and fat free sour cream are by far the most disgusting diet foods I’ve ever tried.

  14. Patricia August 27, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Fat-free cream cheese is disgusting. Not only does it have NO taste at all but it has a slimy, slithery consistency in the mouth. The one time I tried it, I had to throw away an onion bagel and if you knew how much I love onion bagels you would realize how AWFUL that poor apology for cream cheese is.

  15. Julie August 27, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I recently tried a new Greek yogurt (it was $.40 cheaper than my usual brand.) When I arrived home, I realized it was fat-free. It tasted like chalk, imitation-vanilla and cake batter, even my dog wouldn’t eat it.

  16. Amy August 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    Ugh!! Fat free cheese. God bless my step mom, she was on weight watchers at the time and replaced all the good shredded cheese in the house with fat free. I didn’t read the label, just saw it was orange and figured it was cheddar, threw it on a tortilla and zapped it in the microwave while I chopped apples. THE CHEESE DIDN’T MELT!!!!!! That’s when I knew it wasn’t edible!!! I refused to eat the plastic cheese.

  17. O.C. August 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    Those tofu shiritaki noodles are AWFUL. They’ve got a nasty squeaky texture, and stink. Literally.

  18. Sharon August 27, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    Marianne has it right- fat-free sour cream is the worst, closely followed by ff cream cheese. I once threw out a plate of otherwise delicious latkes because the sour cream I had liberally doused them with was fat free. Icky, chalky and bitter.

  19. Sarah August 28, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    Pretty much any fat free dairy, except milk (only because I eat it on cereal). Fat free cheddar “cheese” is about the worst for me. Thin sliced turkey bacon also, because it’s just like a little salty breath-strip that has the texture of rubber.

    And they wonder why I don’t want to go back to Weight Watchers. Believing that stuff is food is the very definition of disordered eating!

  20. Susan August 28, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    Diet mayonnaise is the worst diet food ever – vile, vile vile, in ways better imagined than described.

    I like the Light Mini Babybel cheeses, a reduced fat Edam. but I would be highly suspect of anything called low fat brie — how is a thing like that even possible?

  21. Wendy August 28, 2010 at 3:54 am #

    Any “fat-free” dairy product, be it skim milk, low-fat cheese, or 0% fat yogurt. They are universally vile and take all the pleasure out of the food they pretend to be. Also, “low fat” margarine, which is chemicals whipped with water. Quickest way ever to put you off toast.

  22. Cambiata August 28, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    Now, now, I feel compelled to step up to the defense of shirataki noodles. First off they aren’t diet food in the strictest sense – they are a Japanese style of noodles that have been corralled into the dieting world. Now they do stink right out of the bag, that’s why you boil them for a couple of minutes before consuming; once in your dish they don’t smell anymore. And of course they don’t have the marvelous texture of semolina pasta, but if you don’t try to pretend they are anything but what they are, they are actually quite pleasant. If it weren’t for the expense, shirataki noodles would be the only kind I’d buy.

  23. Jessie August 28, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    I can take many diet foods…light cookies..icecream..cheese..chips

    Diet peanut butter is where I draw the line. its goopy, it doesn’t taste good. It tastes like what they scoop up after they make real peanut butter. IT’s an abomination

  24. ChaChaheels August 28, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    I always ask myself just what have these manufacturers put into the “lite” food to replace the fat–check the ingredients list and you’re guaranteed to find, after a brief foray into google–that it’s usually some combination of legal names for “plastic that looks like food” and frank poison. Margarine of any kind, for example, has been single-handedly responsible for the proliferation of plastic-lined arteries in an entire generation and a half in any part of the world where it’s been sold.

    It’s not an accident that the places with populations eating the most fat rich traditional foods (such as the Gascoigne, in France, for example: second lowest level of heart disease in the world, but lots of full fat cheeses, cream, full fat milk, butter, foie gras, walnuts grown to feed the geese and ducks for foie gras, and lots of rich wines, including “fatty” white wines like rich chardonnay in the daily diet) continue to live long lives free of the heart disease that’s supposed to kill us all unless we eat nothing but “lite”.

    My heart goes out to Jane2. I pity anyone who ever makes contact with Olestra, in any of it’s variants. Horrifying.

  25. Fabrisse August 28, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    I did a whole LJ post about substitutes versus substitutions. Fat free and aspartame or Splenda stuff is, well, to quote an old episode of Friends “that’s what evil tastes like.”

    Splenda for me is the worst — there’s actually a moment of sweetness before it goes irrevocably wonky. It’s just, NO.

  26. Meredith August 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    I am deeply suspicious of anything labeled “diet” or “lite”. It usually means that all the real food has been stripped out and something nasty like plastic has been added to increase bulk, or something. I’m not a fan of processed food of any sort, so I tend to avoid anything that has been fiddled with.

  27. Constance Kent August 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    I have to second Jane2 above on the Olestra potato chips. After huge fanfare, they quickly disappeared, and it’s easy to understand why. After indulging in these fat-free snacks one evening, my boyfriend and I spent the rest of the night on the toilet.

    I like some “diet” products however. I don’t have any problem with the fat free or lite mayos, for example. Although I’ll admit I have never scrutinized the nutritional info on the label, cuz I’m sure it’s nothing but chemicals and high fructose corn syrup…

  28. Rebekka August 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    1. Any low/non-fat dairy products are evil. (Caveat: I only drink milk in coffee, and there I use whole milk.)

    2. Any fake sweetener is evil. Whatever they put in Cola zero actually gives me a headache, so that is of course public enemy number one. Getting a headache from coke?! It’s supposed to be the other way around!

    3. Low calorie breads. Just, no.

    So, pretty much, nothing in the light-low-non-fake-zero-etc category for me.

  29. Jezebella August 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Just, for the record: tofu is not a “diet food”. If you don’t like it, I’m not judging, but it’s no more “diet food” than, say, chicken breast is “diet food”.

    I like skim milk, but fat-free sour cream is an absolute waste of time.

  30. Abby August 28, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Tofu is not diet food. Says the fat vegetarian.

    Isn’t fat-free half and half or fat-free cream cheese an oxymoron? Am confused.

    I once tried the sugar free syrup something at Starbucks. It didn’t taste terrible, but my guts rebelled in an unpleasant way. Serves me right, coffee should taste like COFFEE.

  31. Cambiata August 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Oh my gosh you guys, can I share with you the best “diet” food I’ve ever tried? I just made it from an interwebs recipe, a it’s still full fat (it’s “raw foods” diet) and it’s simply awesome: Hummus made with blended raw zucchini instead of chickpeas. Crazy, right? But it tastes divine. I wonder if my love of hummus was love of tahini and cumin all along…

  32. Cambiata August 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Also among the best diet food ever: When I was low-carbing, I made a cheesecake recipe that uses crushed almond for the crust. J’adore. I prefer my cheesecakes that way now.

  33. TropicalChrome August 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    I’m right there with you on the fat free cream cheese and sour cream. Throw in fat free cottage cheese and you have the unholy trifecta of Diet Food Which Is Not Food – you might as well go to Home Depot for a container of premixed tile grout and dig in. Horrible.

    I’m afraid I need to disagree with the shirataki noodles – they’re quite good in Asian-flavored soups, with shrimp and greens and a ginger garlic broth. No, they’re not Italian pasta or soba or ramen nor even any kind of substitute for them, nor should they be.

    I also have to disagree a bit with the low fat muffins – Mimi’s Cafe’s low fat blueberry muffins are like miniature angel food cakes with blueberries. Angel Food cake is simply lower fat because fat interferes with the egg whites’ ability to give that heavenly texture. If you’re looking for a traditional crumbly muffin, well no, these aren’t what you’re looking for, but they’re really pretty delicious in and of themselves.

    Which kind of highlights what makes so much “diet food” so awful – it’s pretending to be something it’s not and fails horribly at it. If it can just be what it is, it can be pretty delicious. (I’m also thinking of the silly idea that pureed cauliflower = mashed potatoes. No, it doesn’t. Pureed cauliflower is pretty darned good stuff. It’s just not potatoes.)

    Cambiata, do you have a link for that hummus recipe? I LOVE zucchini, and it sounds wonderful.

  34. Brenna August 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    Fiber One muffins. ‘Apple Cinnamon’, my tush. I took one bite and immediately regretted the purchase. My husband tried to argue with me, “oh they can’t be that bad.” He took a bite and said, “They’re not great, but they’re not the worst banana nut muffins I’ve ever tasted.” To which I replied, “They’re apple cinnamon and they’re horrible!” I have a feeling all Fiber One muffins have that samey taste of gritty cinnamon hate. Never again….

  35. ZaftigWendy August 29, 2010 at 2:18 am #

    For me, the worst are the “diabetic” desserts. After being diagnosed as diabetic, I went out and bought and ate some, and while the taste wasn’t terrible, the side effects were. No one told me that the sugar alcohols they’re sweetened with have HORRID effects upon one’s lower digestive system. I mean truly TRULY terrible.

    I really hope I don’t have to go into more detail.

  36. Cambiata August 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    @TropicalChrome: Here’s the recipe: http://courant.typepad.com/raw/2008/04/hummus-without.html

    Soooo good.

  37. Nancy August 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Hands down, fat-free cream cheese. There are not words adequate to describe its awfulness.

  38. Retna August 30, 2010 at 3:56 am #

    Low fat ice cream is bleeaaah. It tastes like …nothing but leaves an unpleasant feel in the mouth. When I want indulgence and comfort; I want the real thing. And that means real ice cream. Thinking of which…I’d like some now.

  39. HillaryGayle August 30, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    Fat free dairy is the most horrible thing ever. Sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream, all of it.

    My least favorite OTHER thing packaged as diet food are those “100 Calorie Packs” from Nabisco, though. Back when I was in my misguided Weight Watchers period, I ate those things. “I really want an Oreo,” I thought, so I ate my little package of “crisps” and then felt vaguely weird because I still wanted an Oreo. “What’s wrong with me? That’s supposed to cure my craving for Oreos.” Looking back? No. Creepy, gross little Oreo-flavored cracker-things are NOT gonna substitute for Oreos.

  40. Joani August 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    1. Anything containing aspartame, sucralose, or sugar substitute. I can taste it almost right off, and it will go into the trash. Yogurt, diet soft drinks, Coke Zero, etc. I don’t know how my boyfriend drinks it.

    2. Any Lean Cuisine prepared meals that I’ve ever eaten. Wood chips would taste better.

    3. Low-fat cottage cheese. I’m not the biggest fan anyways, but LF cottage cheese is even worse. Guess you can lump any low-fat cheese with that. It just doesn’t cook or taste right.

  41. Melissa August 31, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    My sweet, darling, misguided mother had her beloved daughter – me – on NutraSystem at the tender age of 13. All I’m going to mention is the astronaut package of spaghetti and meatballs and let your imagination bring it home.

  42. De August 31, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    The worst diet food I ever encountered was the Low Sodium – 98% Fat Free Campbells Chunky Clam Chowder.

    How I thought taking away the delicous part of a chowder (the heavy cream and the SALT) was going to make it better, I’ll never know.

    It. tasted. so. bad.

    And….after letting it sit in the bowl for a few minutes while I debated dumping it or inflicting it on my husband (“sweetie, i’m not going to finish this do you want it?”)….IT SEPARATED. The ingredients started to pull apart from one another like old gravy or uncreamed peanut butter….I was Horrified. I freaked out. I dumped it immediately, apologized to my husband for even THINKING of feeding it to him and then apologized to MYSELF for feeding it to ME by homemaking some garlic potato chowder that night.

    Thinking about what little I DID eat gives me shudders….

  43. Bree September 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    “Heart Healthy” spaghetti sauce by Francesco Rinaldi. It was on sale, but I grabbed the lite version by mistake and when Pop and I sat down to dinner and started eating, he said the sauce tasted weird. Horrid was more like it. Never will I make that mistake again.

    The one diet food I can do is Cool Whip Lite and Cool Whip Fat Free. I can’t even taste the difference. Splenda and Equal doesn’t bother me either, but I only use it in lemon water and iced tea. Sweet & Low has the worst aftertaste.

  44. Ms. Moran September 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    I’m with the fat free cream cheese people. Even if you mix it with everything, you can still taste that weird after-taste.

    For me it was nutrisystem. I wanted to lose weight and look at how well Marie Osmond was doing (just kidding). I ordered the two weeks of food. I opened it, looked at the boxes of dried eggs, dried bacon, dried fungus on toast or I don’t know what, packed it back in the box, and sent it right back. Looking at the packaging made me nauseous.