Adding spice to fat reduction efforts

by Jeff Gelski
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A full-fat product has its advantages. For one, it probably has full flavor. Reduced-fat products may need assistance in the flavor area. Formulators may wish to consider such ingredients as onions, rosemary and milk fat flavor.

A study presented July 14 at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in Chicago revealed evidence of such assistance. Researchers from the University of Colorado in Denver replaced dietary fat with herbs and spices in entree and side dishes in a study that had a randomized, three-period, crossover design.

A total of 150 people ate lunch on the same day for three consecutive weeks. They ate one of three meals: a full-fat entree with two full-fat side dishes, a reduced-fat entree and two reduced-fat side dishes (all with herbs and spices), and a reduced-fat entree and two reduced-fat side dishes (all without herbs and spices).

The full-fat meal contained 610 calories. Both reduced-fat meals contained 395 calories. Spices such as onion, oregano, paprika and garlic were used.

The full-fat meal and the reduced-fat meal with spices both scored about a 7.0 on a nine-point Likert scale. The reduced-fat meal scored about a 6.25.

Reduced-fat meatloaf with spices scored a 6.75, which compared to the full-fat version at 6.50 and the reduced-fat version at 6.0. Reduced-fat vegetables with spices scored a little above 7.0, which compared to the full-fat version at a little below 7.0 and the reduced-fat
version at a little below 6.5. The reduced-fat version of the creamy pasta scored a 6.5, which was below the full-fat version of 7.25 and above the reduced-fat with no spices at 6.0.

“Substituting herbs and spices for fat may be a promising strategy for helping people meet the Dietary Guidelines, especially if it’s simple stuff you can buy in the store that doesn’t require any exotic training,” said John C. Peters, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver.

In reduced-fat applications, spices and flavors may be used in many instances, including a creamy clam chowder, dairy products that melt on the tongue and buttery flavor in potato products, said Meredith Bishop, principal development scientist with Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings and who is based in Cranbury, N.J.

She likes to use rosemary in savory products.

“At really low levels, sometimes rosemary can give you the taste of butter,” she said.

Formulators should keep the rosemary amount at a low level so consumers may perceive a taste of butter without knowing rosemary is in the product, Ms. Bishop said.

For a creamy soup or clam chowder, formulators may need starches and gums as well as flavors, such as a milk fat flavor.

When reducing fat in dairy products, formulators may wish to keep slipperiness in the texture, such as when the product melts on the tongue. Starches, gums and flavors may be needed, Ms. Bishop said.

Formulators may need to perform a balancing act between the functional attributes, including texture, and the flavor of reduced-fat products.

“Those two things, they go hand in hand,” Ms. Bishop said of texture and flavor.

Solutions for saturated fat reduction

A number of exhibitors at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition offered ways to reduce saturated fat in applications. Attendees at the event held July 13-16 in Chicago had opportunities to learn about new ingredients, including emulsifiers and oils.

Formulators already have begun to experiment with new high-oleic soybean oil. The United Soybean Board, Chesterfield, Mo., and Qualisoy, an effort in the soybean industry to help bring enhanced soy oil traits to the marketplace, pledged $60 million over five years to expand seed production, cultivation and geographic availability of the new soybean varieties.

“We project that high-oleic soy could be 25% of the U.S. crop eventually,” said Steve Poole, director of nutrition and public relations for the United Soybean Board.

High-oleic soybean oil has no trans fat. Plenish high-oleic soybean oil from DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa, has 20% less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil. Vistive Gold, a high-oleic soybean oil from Monsanto, St. Louis, is not yet on the market. Plenish high-oleic soybean oil is now available from Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill., and Bunge North America, St. Louis. Cargill, Wayzata, Minn., and Perdue AgriBusiness should launch next year.

“Demand for products with zero grams trans fat and lower saturated fat continues to grow,” said Richard Galloway, a consultant for Qualisoy. “High-oleic soybean oil offers an economical and secure solution for food companies to meet that need as well as enhance functionality to make their businesses more successful. High-oleic soybean oils deliver highly stable products without sacrificing flavor.”

Palsgaard, Morris Plains, N.J., now offers Emulpals 110, an emulsifier system that enables the creation of cakes with lower amounts of saturated fats and shorter ingredients lists. The solid fat may be replaced by liquid oil.

The global food emulsifiers market was at $2,108 million in 2012 and is expected to reach $2,858.6 million by 2018 through a compound annual growth rate of 5.2% during that time period, according to a report “Food emulsifiers market – Global trends and forecast to 2018” from Research and Markets, Dublin, Ireland.

“The food emulsifier market is considered one of the fastest growing segments of the food additives market due to the growing trend toward reducing fat content in food products,” Research and Markets said.

AarhusKarlshamn (AAK) USA, Inc., Edison, N.J., at the I.F.T. promoted its Cebes LS, a zero-trans coating fat with a saturated fat content of 60%. Cocoa butter generally has 66% saturated fat content, and most cocoa butter substitutes are about 95% saturated fat, according to AAK. Enrobed candy bars may contain as much as 58% saturated fat. Replacing the compound coating fat alone with Cebes LS60 has been shown to reduce the saturated fat in the whole product by as much as 26%.

The level of monounsaturated fat in Cebes LS is comparable to that of cocoa butter, but it has considerably more polyunsaturated fat than cocoa butter. Cebes LS is non-tempering and exhibits excellent crystallization properties, good bloom stability and excellent compatibility with cocoa butter. Cebes LS was formulated specifically for enrobing applications, including those for breakfast bars, energy/sports bars, cookies and other enrobed bakery products and enrobed confectionery products.

Also at I.F.T., Caravan Ingredients, Lenexa, Kas., promoted Trancendim, a line of high diglycerides that delivers zero-trans, reduced saturate alternatives for structuring fats and oils. Dow AgroSciences, L.L.C., Indianapolis, promoted its omega-9 fatty acid oils with no trans fat and low levels of saturated fat. The oils sourced from sunflower are 3% saturated fat, and the oils sourced from canola are 7% saturated fat. 

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