Fat replacers are non-fat 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. Fat replacers can be found in foods such as baked goods, cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, margarine, salad dressing, sauces, and gravies.
Fat replacers are categorized into two basic types:
Carbohydrate-based. These are made from
starchy foods, such as corn, cereals, and grains. Most fat replacers today are made from
carbohydrate. Examples include cellulose, gelatin, dextrins, gums, and modified dietary fibres.
Protein-based. These are made by
modifying protein, using egg white or whey from milk. Examples include whey protein and microparticulated egg white and milk protein (such as Simplesse).
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 want to use fat replacers, think about
Current research shows that carbohydrate- and
protein-based fat replacers don't hurt health.
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
Other Works Consulted
International Food Information Council Foundation (2009). Questions and answers about fat replacers. Available online: http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Questions_and_Answers_About_Fat_Replacers.
International Food Information Council Foundation (2009). Uses and nutritional impact of fat reduction ingredients. Available online: http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=IFIC_Review_Uses_and_Nutritional_Impact_of_Fat_Reduction_Ingredients.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator Colleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian