Fat Replacers in Food - Topic Overview
Fat replacers are nonfat substances that act like fat in a
food. An ideal fat replacer would be a substance that has no health risks and
tastes and looks like natural fat but has fewer calories. There is no one
substance that is an ideal fat replacer. So several kinds are often used in one
Fat replacers are categorized into three basic types:
- Carbohydrate-based. These are made from
starchy foods, such as corn, cereals, and grains. Most fat replacers today are made from
- Protein-based. These are made by
modifying protein, using egg white or whey from milk.
- Fat-based. These are made by replacing
triglycerides in vegetable oils.
Fat replacers may not be listed by their brand names on the
ingredient label, which makes it hard for people to identify them in the foods
If you are interested in using fat replacers, consider
- Current research shows that carbohydrate- and
protein-based fat replacers don't hurt health.
- A noncaloric fat
replacer, olestra, interferes with the absorption of fat-soluble substances,
including the fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K) and carotenoids.
Carotenoids are substances that give plants their color, and they are
antioxidants in your body. Examples include
carotenes and lycopene (found in tomatoes). Side
effects of olestra include cramping, bloating, and loose
- Foods that contain fat replacers may have fewer
calories compared to foods that contain fat. But some people may tend to
eat more of the food that contains a replacer, which makes up for the reduction
More research is needed on fat replacers. If you want to include fat replacers in your
diet, talk with a