Walden Farms Products Claim No Calories, Fat, Carbs, Gluten, or Sugar Can They Be Good For You?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Recently we received an e-mail about Walden Farms products. The writer wondered what is in these zero calorie, carbohydrate, fat, gluten and sugar free products and if they were healthy or chemical ridden. We decided to take a closer look. Here is what we found.

Beginning in 1972, the mission of Walden Farms' was, "to develop healthy specialty foods." By using natural ingredients and flavorings, freshly ground herbs and spices, aged vinegars and sweetening with Splenda, they have successfully established what they call "the Walden way". There are many recognizable ingredients instead of sugar alcohols, preservatives, or chemicals. However, there are also many products that contain natural flavors, cellulose and xanthan gums, or propylene glycol alginate for thickening.

If you have been doing without many of your favorite syrups, dressings and dips, Walden Farms products may be an option you would like to consider as long as you keep several things in mind. The first is that they will be costly and can take a bite out of your food dollar. Second, most all the products contain the sugar substitute sucralose or trade name Splenda. If you have noticed any personally adverse responses to this non-nutritive sweetener, you may experience them with the Walden Farms products as well. Lastly, you will want to note that many products state they contain trace calories. By law, this means they provide less than five calories per serving however if you do not monitor your serving size, you could consume negligible calories. These products are also not sodium free so if sodium control is important, you will want to pay close attention to the nutrition facts label.

The Bottom Line

Many times limiting calories to reach a personal goal means saying good-bye to favorite 'extras' like syrups, jams, dips, and dressings. Sometimes pureeing fresh berries and pouring them over frozen yogurt for dessert or a multi-grain waffle for breakfast works just fine. However, other times like holiday gatherings when you really want seafood sauce for your shrimp or BBQ sauce for your ribs, there are limited options without breaking your nutritional bank. Although they will be more costly, for those times when going without just won't do, Walden Farms products might be an answer. The Walden Farms website also provides a helpful store locator tool to help you find their products in your area.

Have you tried Walden Farm products? What do you think of them and how do you suggest others use them.

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ALUKOWSKY 9/29/2017
I like having fat-free, sugar-free and calorie-free options available to me, and I'll use any such product that tastes good. I don't really care whether or not it's "good" for me; for one thing, it IS good for my waist line; for another, I know I already eat a healthy, balanced diet, so these products are just extras. Report
KEKEIKO 8/25/2017
They are very pricey! We tried the dressings and BBQ sauce and didn't like them. They leave a weird aftertaste. Report
I have bought several of their products. Some are good and others not so good Report
I LOVE their Ranch & Chipotle Ranch dressings & most of the salad dressings in their ranges seem pretty good to me. I normally only use half a serving so the sodium isn't so much of an issue.

Some of their other products are not so good though (dairy creamers, nut butters, jam/jellies and any semi-solid dips of theirs that I've tried have been rather 'odd' in both taste & texture).
I never tried them before but I heard about them. I am interested in buying their creamers since they are lower in calories. Anyone try them yet? Report
I used several Walden Farms products while I was on NutriSystem several years ago. I could handle some of the salad dressings and the pancake syrup, but never could get myself used to the (after)taste of many of the other products (chocolate spread, caramel topping, ketchup). Some folks do just fine with them, but I'm currently trying to avoid as many chemicals as possible and they just aren't a part of my life anymore. I'd rather have a taste of the "real" thing. Report
Yes, I use their products. However, recently talking with my SIL who is a well known Urologist, he tells me that sucralose is just another name for corn syrup, so that kind of blew my bubble. Corn Syrup and high fructose can lead to many deadly diseases, including Alzheimer's. Is it worth it? Report
When we initially discovered Walden Farms, we tried almost everything we could find in our grocery: salad dressing, BBQ Sauce, and ketchup. Yes, it was far more expensive but we felt that it was worth it. However, as we went through the products, we discovered that the salad dressings had an unpleasant tang or just too sweet. The BBQ sauce was too sweet and too runny; the same for the ketchup.

The creamy French was the only thing we purchased on a regular basis until the grocery stopped carrying that flavor.

Looking back at that great experiment plus considering my desire to avoid any artificial sweeteners and the change in my eating philosophy, I don't think I would purchase these again. I'd rather "risk" the extra calories to have it more natural than something overly engineered. I'm by no means a "clean" eater, but I'm trying to reduce the amount of processed foods I eat.

For the price you pay for Waldens, you could use natural ingredients. Sure, the convenience isn't there, but neither are a bunch of chemicals. Report
I'd rather have extra calories than chemicals thank you. (And I MAKE many of my own condiments) Report
What is up with the coleslaw? I have been eating it for years. Now all of a sudden it is pepper hot! And only certain bottles... Report
I don't like the flavor of anything I've tried. In fact, a few of the products really didn't taste like much of anything. I'd much rather have "real" foods and just be careful with the serving size. I'm not a fan.... Report
I have just started eating these products. I agree that the pb tastes real weird but tastes better when I add some stevia to it. It just was not quite sweet enough to be like peanut butter but now I like it a lot this way. Sodium levels were the only real concern for me. Report
Call me weird but I loved the 1000 island dressing. The catsup and the pancake syrup are really not that bad either. It's just an acquired taste. Report
I suggest that we may all want to make suggestions to companies like Walden Farms as they have put a lot of work into these products. For example if they tried to come up with some certified organic products and use ingredients like Organic Erythritol rather than Sucralose, or Malitol that are not healthy or cause intestinal cramping. Stevia is Ok but it leaves a bitter after taste for many. An alternative zero calorie like Organic Erythritol costs a bit more but is good for you and your kids and even reduces dental carries. Trying to create an organic product would solve a lot of issues as a lot of these ingredients you have mentioned would not be allowed . Report
I think the problem is with anyone who doesnt like these products is.. When you eat what a lot of people in the US eat. Sugar, unhealthy fats, unhealthy carbohydrates so on.. Your body acquires those flavors..
And most fast foods , processed foods are made so you want them, crave them..
Like caffeine .. When you change your diet to healthy unprocessed foods
No sugars and only good carbs after awhile your body likes these natural flavors and all the bad foods you have been eating all your life taste nasty.. Not the se all.. You cant go cold turkey into trying something much better for you and expect your body to like the taste.. I havent tried all the products but the ones I have tried I like most of them.. And my husband does too.. We have both been on medifast and both lost a lot and both eating things we never ever liked before..
He even likes brussle sprouts now!! Mikeshain.tsfl.com
Thanks !! Report
I'm a choosy fan of Walden Farms products. We regularly buy their chocolate syrup, pancake syrup, and a few of their dressings. I have Walden Farms chocolate syrup in unsweetened almond milk every night for a sweet, low calorie treat. Their balsamic vinegarette is great, too. I'll take whatever they put in it for the zero calorie benefit any day! Report
I have tried the Walden Farms products. I really like using the chocolate dip. I put it in my PB2 (45 calorie peanut butterw/ chocolate) It is really yummy. Does it taste exactly like chocolate. No... If you are trying to count your calories and want to be able to enjoy things you normally can't have then by all means Walden Farms is the way to go. I have used the Honey Mustard dressing, chocolate dip, carmel dip ( I put it on apple slices) Even my husband who does not need to worry about weight enjoys the products. I have lost 19lbs in the last 8 weeks. I am not an obese person just need to lose 25lbs. Walden Farms lets me enjoy the things I crave without the guilt. Like someone said earlier. If each serving was actually 4.9 calories for the jar of chocolate dip, eating the entire jar would give me less than 60 calories. Only artificial ingredient is the sweetener. Report
Wow - a lot of anger towards a company that's trying to help us, don't you think? OBVIOUSLY it's not going to be the same as what they're attempting to simulate - otherwise, EVERYONE would switch and they'd be gabillionaires. But - for things that I normally wouldn't eat at all - even in moderation (Bleu cheese dressing), their substitute is passable. The Italian dressing isn't bad either. I typically make my own - that does eat up a lot of fat (even if it is a healthier one like EV olive oil) Report
I have liked the products that I have tried. The trick is that they have to be ON something. If you try the product by itself, you might think you don't like the taste. But try it on something, and it's not bad. Of course, a zero calorie substitute won't be as good as the real thing. I have used all of the salad dressings and prefer the bacon ranch the best. You can get these in single-serving packets, which I really like. I have also used their pancake syrup, chocolate syrup (in milk and on ice cream), and four of their jellies: strawberry, grape, orange marmalade, and blueberry. Some of the salad dressings seemed too thin and not a flavor I will buy again. But none of the things I have tried would I call nasty or even bad. Again, try them on something, not "straight." Report
I just tried the Walden Farms Balsamic Vinegarette and I LOVE IT! Report
I'm not going to argue the point that real food is better for you. I'd agree Walden products aren't that tasty either, but then I grew up in the age of some really off-putting artificial sweeteners in the 60's too.

I'd simply like to offer up two points or uses I've made of their products. Key being, taste and ignore the labels since mostly it's the same stuff recombined. Point in case is I bought the alfredo sauce. It has no earthly resemblance to real alfredo sauce but it did sort of taste like something else: Cole Slaw. I see now they have a cole slaw dressing I haven't tried but what I do with this is cut in half the mayo in my homemade cole slaw with this product. I happen to use splenda anyway to help cut calories and you don't have to, but you mix 1/2 and 1/2 Miracle Whip light and Walden's Alfredo sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt, dried/fresh chives, little mustard, garlic powder, lemon juice or whatever moves your rocker for your taste buds. Sure there are other ways to extending the mayo, but this is one way.

Also, a few years ago while going to weight watchers we had one about chocolate. I'm not big into it but some people are. I'm one to like to experiment cooking and I remembered that Walden's has their chocolate dipping sauce. Hadn't tried it but picked up a jar. Kind of tastes like some of the less hot chocolate drinks made with water or a cocoa not chocolate-chocolate. But, I had an idea to suggest to the group. I took a piece of wax paper, the Walden's Chocolate dipping sauce and put dollops of it (small ones) then froze it. It has to stay frozen and you can't keep them in teh freezer forever or it starts to bloom a bit. But if you are just craving a little something you can make a small batch for a week and pop a little to melt in your mouth which extends the sensation of I just had a bit of chocolate.

Other move I made was to take a similar dollop of Smucker's Apricot sugar free preservs and froze them. Once frozen then you dip them in the chocolate and in the freezer again. It makes a nice treat to have a bit of chocolate and the burst of apricot. All you splenda-phobic people will have fits about that because the preserves have it in it too. These are only teaspoon sized treats and for some it might be enough to curb a full-out binge. Report
Okay I have tried the BarBQ sauce, Strawberry Syrup and Chocolate Dip. All were very good. I am 6 months out from Gastric Bypass so I have to watch calorie and sugar intake. It is nice to be able to have something every once in a while. The BarBQ sauce may not have been Sweet and Spicy like the one I usually get but it was still good. Report
I'm glad I read all these comments before buying. It is hard to find substitutes for fattening foods that don't tast weird. Report
I haven't seen or heard of these products. I live in a real small town so thats probably why. I am also reading labels on products like this but have yet to purchase any . I can make my own dresings if need be. I like to make my salad a while before a meal and just add spices and it will make its on dressing .Yummy Report
I've tried a couple of the products too, very bad Report
I thought I had hit pay dirt the first time I saw their products locally!! After trying their cole slaw dressing YUCK!!!...I threw the entire bottle in the trash! It was so horrible tasting that I wouldn't give it to my dog!! (I don't have a dog LOL)...but if I did...since then, I haven't dared buy any more of their products, even though they have some that are enticing. Report
As someone who is gluten-free, I know that others, as they transition into the diet, think these products are helpful. Personally, I'm a lemon-juice or apple cider vinegar and olive oil on my salad gal. And I don't use any sweeteners.

Tarotgarden -you gave a thoughtful reply. I have to add that if given a choice, I'd choose the Walden product over the Kraft. I don't like soy products in my food (as they're overused and estrogenic), MSG - it's a neurotoxin, nor the other chemicals of which there are more in the Kraft.

FWIW, xanthan gum is a thickener used often in gluten-free food to replace the elasticity that "GLUe"TEN* provides in "regular" mass produced processed food.

What some people might want to understand, too, is that we NEED FAT to help digest the fat soluble vitamins in your salads (A, D, E, & particularly K). You need salads (which are prebiotic) to help feed GI bacteria which help promote vitamin synthesis and calcium absorption INTO your bones, not your tissues. Keep eating those salads/greens! jmho and all that.

*Gluten is hidden under many disguised names, including 'artificial' or 'natural' ingredients. For that matter, MSG is also hidden ... Report
The ones I've tried were so bad that I'm not willing to try anything else. The marshmallow stuff is actually disgusting! Report
I just tried the chocolate dip -- naturally not as good as pure, sugary, fatty chocolate (which I do eat in moderation!!) but I tried it with a tablespoon of reduced-sugar peanut butter, and it was like a couple of Reese's cups without the sugar. Report
I've never tried them, but I honestly don't use a lot of condiments, never have, so I don't really miss dressing, dips, and such. I have found that some of the Maple Farms dressing are the best as far calories and natural products. I swear by the Balsamic Vinaigrette it is YUMMY! Report
I tried the peanut butter. It wasn't even edible. The texture was runny and slimy. The flavor did not taste like peanut butter. I tried the ranch, it was ok but I wouldn't buy it again. The pancake syrup, the same as the dressing. Report
I have tried multiple Walden Farms products. I've always been pleased with the taste (understanding that anything without the added fat, sugar etc. is going to taste a little different from the original). They're a nice way to save some calories but still get some of the "extras". I don't use them very often though because they are VERY expensive. Report
I have used the Walden Farms brands of jelly and syrup as well as a few of their salad dressings, I do like them. The jelly I use most often to sweeten my old fashioned oatmeal and than I don't need to use any other sweetener. It's also very good mixed in cottage cheese to add some flavoring. Report
The bacon ranch dressing is good a backed potato. Report
I won't use anything with sucralose (Splenda) in it. It has caused rapid and erratic heartbeats for me in the past, so I won't touch it. It just isn't safe for some of us. Report
HI everyone...I wish to leave a comment that as long as you eat the healthy foods you don't need to worry about about fat, cholestoral and so on....
In otherwords, eat small portions of healthy foods, so you'll feel fuller.. Report
I've been using Walden Farms salad dressings for years. I take the Vinaigrette with me to restaurants. The Bleu cheese makes a wonderful topping for turkey burger or dip for broiled chicken. I have not tried other Walden Farms dressings, but do recommend most of the salad dressings. Report
I've tried several of the Walden farms products. I didn't really care for the marinara sauce that much or the ranch dressing (although I could live with it if I had to) or the french onion dip and the alfredo sauce was not even close. I don't know, but for me...I'd much rather just puree a tomatoe and make my own sauce and season it the way I like without sugar. I've also learned to use the fat free sour cream and add hidden valley ranch dip mix...less fattening and plenty of flavor for dipping veggies. The rest, I'll learn to live without if I have to or learn moderation. I never tried the syrups. I use great value sugar free syrup whenever I want to have bisquits or pancakes and it tastes great to me (significantly cutting calories too). Report
I believe real food is better for you, and would prefer not to put anything in my body that isn't made by God. I've rarely drunk a diet soda or eaten fake food.... til I was diagnosed with Diabetes two years ago. Then I gradually began to realize that while a diet drink isn't good for me, neither is high blood sugars which kill cells. Now I do drink a diet soda now and then, and use some other "diet" things, but I try to keep it in moderation because I still feel that they aren't good for me. But they sure help with a sweet tooth. Report
I have used a number of their products and have really enjoyed many of them. The chocolate syrup and chocolate dip are good as is the caramel dip. The marshmallow cream was so-so. The salad dressings tend to be a bit thin but I do like the flavor of the thousand islands. I also enjoy the flavor of the barbeque sauce for grilling chicken. Since the expiration dates are normally far in the future, I stock up when there is a sale and hoard the rare coupon that I find for their products! Report
It is nice to be able to read other opinions on products before trying them. The comments provide some great feedback for where I might begin looking for alternatives for my sweet tooth! Report
I have tried some of the products and had mixed results - some I like, others I won't bother purchasing again. Even family members who aren't necessarily watching calorie intakes like some of the products. Report
I've tried a few of their products, and haven't liked any of them. Ah well, such is life, lol! Report
I had never heard of this company, so thanks for sharing. May have to try it. Report
I definitely love their pancake syrup to add to my oatmeal in the mornings to add a little maple flavor and sweetness. Most of their other items I don't like, either taste or texture are off to me. Glad to hear they're not 100% chemical goo, though! Report
I have tried many of the Walden Farms products from netrition.com. I use them in moderation, like everything else. The pancake syrup is very good. I use it as a sweetner in many things, and mapley good in hot tea too. I also like the veggie ranch dip for dipping baby carrots. The ranch dressing is also good. I like the coleslaw dressing on cabbage. The balsamic vinagette is very good, and I use that as seasoning in stir fry and soups. The only jelly I liked was the raspberry. The others tasted off, and the apple butter has a medicine aftertaste. The peanut butter spread is weird. I didnt want to waste it, so I mixed it with some powdered peanut butter also from netrition.com, and it was really good, especially with the raspberry jelly. Not a fan of the marinara, scampi or the alfredo sauce, but they were not horrible. Maybe mixed with other sauce, they would be better. I do like the bbq sauce, but it is a little spicy for me. The catsup was bad,,not like catsup at all. Tried a few other salad dressings, and I have liked them all. Everyone is different, so try a few different things before you pass judgement on the whole line. I am happy to have these as options, and some have become staples in my kitchen. Report
I've wasted so much money on Walden Farms. I keep convincing myself "this one will be different" but no matter what product of theirs I buy, it tastes disgusting. The caramel and chocolate dips aren't unbearable, but the peanut butter tastes like paint (or at least what I imagine it'd taste like) and the alfredo sauce tastes watered down and stale. I wouldn't recommend Walden Farms products to anyone. Report
I haven't tried them and can't get them nearby but they sound like some sort of scientific experiment. I find artificial sweetners leave a nasty taste behind and can make me thirsty. I much prefer natural sweetners in fruit or else a real sugar very sparely. Report
I try only to use natural products. If something is altered to make it "good" I'm really not a fan. A lot of their products you can make at home, they will be healthier, there are ways to make homemade items without all the fat and sugar. Although, I think that you have to have a taste for most of the foods Report
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