Nutrition Faceoff: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Original versus Half-Fat

kraft macaroni and cheese showdown

( The grocery aisle can be an interesting place. There is often an overwhelming assortment of products from the same company, making you wonder if any specific product is better than another one made by the same manufacturer. This is the reasoning behind our new Faceoff series, where we compare two products head-to-head!

Nutrition Faceoff: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner

  Deluxe Original
Deluxe Original
1/2 the Fat
Serving Size: 3.5 oz
(approx. 1/4 box)
3.5 oz
(1/4 box)
Calories: 320 kcal 290 kcal
Fat: 10 g 4.5 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g 2 g
Protein: 12 g 13 g
Total Carbohydrates: 45 g 50 g
Fiber: 1 g 2 g
Sodium: 900 mg 850 mg
Vitamin A: 2% DV 2% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV 0% DV
Calcium: 15% DV 20% DV
Iron: 10% DV 10% DV

Dietitian's Take: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Original versus Half-Fat

  • ​The first thing that jumped out is the unrealistically small serving size for both versions. We think an adult could easily consume double the suggested serving, which means an alarming load of sodium, among other things, in one meal.
  • The lower-fat version isn't really an improvement over the original; although the fat content is lowered by more than half, the caloric difference is a measly 30 kcal.
  • The lower-fat version contains slightly more calcium, which may be due to the addition of pasteurized part-skim milk (which does not appear on the original version).
  • The lower-fat version also contains dried corn syrup, which accounts for the higher carbohydrate load.
  • It's not clear what accounts for the higher fiber content of the reduced-fat version; the only additional ingredient we see is durum wheat flour, but it is not clear whether this is whole grain.

Our Pick: Original

Neither product is a winner in our book, but if we had to pick one it would be the original version, for the simple reason that it contains fewer ingredients than the reduced-fat version. Alternately, as we've previously suggested in our No More Packaged Foods series, try making your own homemade whole grain mac instead!

Tell Us: How do you make a healthy mac n cheese?

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