Fat Substitutes

Fats are one of the main reasons people enjoy food!

Fat Substitutes

What are fat substitutes?

Fat substitutes are ingredients that mimic one or more of the roles of fat in a food. Fat replacers, provide the sensory and functional qualities normally provided by fat.

They're classified into three categories based on their nutrient source:

  • Carbohydrate-based fat alternates - use plant polysaccharides in place of fat.
  • Proteins and microparticulated proteins - used as fat replacers.
  • Fat-based fat replacers - act as "barriers" to block fat absorption.

What do fats provide to food?

Fat provides moistness in baked goods, texture in ice cream, and crispiness in potato chips. Because fat has so many diverse functions in foods, it is virtually impossible to replace it with a single compound or process.

How are fat replacers used?

The ingredients used in place of fat depend on how a food product will be eaten or prepared. Fat alternates have been developed to decrease the quantity of fat in foods and help people lower their fat intake. Some fat replacers are used as "fat mimetics" to partially replace fat and impart the sensory qualities of fat (taste and feel in the mouth).

Evidence suggests that people who include fat-modified products in their diet may have a reduced fat and calorie intake and improved nutrient profile compared with people who don't use any fat-modified products.

Are modified fats safe and helpful?

Fat-modified products have not been on the market very long so they have little affect to the world of foods as of now. Although fat replacers on the market are considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), their long-term benefits and safety are not known. The cumulative impact of using multiple fat substitutes as they increase in the marketplace is unknown. Still, within the context of a healthy diet that meets dietary recommendations, fat replacers used appropriately can provide flexibility with diet planning.

*Not all fat-modified ingredients are stable when heated, so the type of fat substitute used in a fat-free salad dressing may not work well when baking certain foods*


Fats are the chemically active part of your cell membranes. Without them, nothing works.

The right fats protect you from cancer.

Sources of good fats come from fish, egg yolks, nuts, seeds, olives, durians, and unrefined oils from the health food store.

Bottled unrefined oils spoil more quickly. But they're good for you.

More than 27 percent of adult Americans are obese.


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