The Role of Fat Replacers in Healthy Diets
The age of reduced-fat and fat-free options is upon us. Fat replacers have opened the door for a new generation of reduced-fat foods that have the taste and texture of the high-fat foods consumers enjoy, but without unnecessary calories, cholesterol or fat.
As the American Dietetic Association has stated, “Fat replacements provide an opportunity for individuals to reduce intake of high-fat foods and enjoy reduced-fat formulations of familiar foods while preserving basic food selection patterns…. Indeed, many of the fat replacements in use today can be incorporated into foods that reflect the changing tastes of Americans. Traditional and new ingredients and technologies provide flavorful, satisfying foods, such as salad and cooking oils, cheeses, ice creams, bakery products, and salty snacks and crackers, that are reduced in fat or contain no fat.”
But Fat Replacers Are No Substitute for Nutrition
When limiting dietary fat, consumers still need to satisfy their basic nutritional needs. No product is a panacea. Additional reduced-fat products will not replace a person’s need for moderation and good nutrition. However, they do provide palatable alternatives which can make the difficult task of compliance with a reduced-fat and/or reduced-calorie diet easier. Thus, when incorporated into an overall balanced, nutritious diet, reduced-fat foods and beverages can play an important role in helping consumers reach and maintain their goal of reducing consumption of dietary fat, cholesterol and calories.
Fat Replacers – Warning
Commercial snack foods containing fat-replacers are not ideal foods for anyone with a weight problem who wishes to improve eating habits. Nor are they suitable for someone following a calorie-controlled diet who wishes to lose weight.
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