Scientists Say New Fat Replacers Enable Fat-Cutting with Minimal Loss of Taste

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Fat replacers ingredients that can take the place of the fats in food can make it much easier to lower total fat consumption, concludes a panel of physicians and scientists affiliated with the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).

For many people, decreasing fat intake is an important step toward a healthy diet. But according to a new report from ACSH, Fat Replacers: The Cutting Edge of Cutting Calories, simply removing fat from foods results in unpleasant changes in taste and texture and taste usually has the greatest effect on consumers' food selection. Adding fat replacers to foods from which fat has been removed restores some of the lost taste and texture. The use of fat replacers thus can increase the variety of low-fat and "reduced-fat" foods available to health-conscious shoppers. Fat replacers include both lower-calorie fats and zero-fat substances that mimic fats.

"Consumers must remember that a 'reduced-fat' product is not the same as a 'calorie-free' product," says Dr. Ruth Kava, Director of Nutrition at ACSH. "It is possible to gain weight on a diet of low-fat or 'fat-free' products," she adds. "If a person's calorie intake even from low-fat foods equals or exceeds the number of calories burned, he or she won't lose weight. A good strategy is to substitute reduced-fat foods for ordinary foods throughout the day while following a balanced, moderate diet. Eating lower-fat versions of favorite foods can help diminish a dieter's cravings and sense of deprivation, and can help prevent the passive intake of excess calories."

According to ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, "Fat replacers have a great potential for helping Americans meet the dietary goal of limiting their fat-calorie intake to 30 percent of total calories."