Fat Alternatives and Fat Replacers
Also indexed as: Diet Margarine, Margarine
(Cholesterol-Lowering and Diet), Oatrim, Oil Sprays, Olestra, Simplesse®
Preparation, uses, and tips
Cholesterol-lowering and diet margarines can be used instead of butter or conventional
margarine as a spread on toast and sandwiches. Some brands of cholesterol-lowering margarines
are suitable for sautéing and baking. Diet margarines should not be heated, and are to be
used only as a spread. Fruit-based fat substitutes can be used instead of fat in recipes for
baked goods. Follow the substitution instructions on the package.
Cholesterol-lowering margarine (e.g., Benecol®) is a spreadable margarine product
fortified with compounds called phytostanol esters that block the absorption of dietary
cholesterol, thereby lowering blood
cholesterol levels. In September 2000, the United States Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) authorized the use of a health claim on foods containing phytostanol esters that links
the consumption of phytostanol esters with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Diet margarine contains a higher content of water and is lower in fat than conventional
Oil spray (e.g., Pam®) is made of oil combined with lecithin (an emulsifier derived
from soybeans). These sprays prevent food from sticking to pans, thereby eliminating the need
to add cooking oil to the pan, which reduces fat intake.
Fruit-based fat substitutes are used in baking low-fat recipes to provide a texture and
mouth-feel that is similar to fat.
Simplesse® is made from whey (a milk
protein) and egg white and provides about one-quarter as many calories as fat. This product is
used in place of fat in food manufacturing.
Oatrim (Beta-Trim®, TrimChoice®) is made from enzyme-treated oat flour. Oatrim is
used in place of conventional fats in food manufacturing.
Olestra (Olean®) is a non-caloric fat replacement used in the manufacture of low- and
fat-free snack foods. Olestra molecules are very large—too big, in fact, to be absorbed
in the digestive tract. Consequently, Olestra passes through the digestive tract and is
eliminated in the feces without being absorbed. In some people, consumption of foods
containing Olestra causes intestinal discomfort, cramps, and diarrhea. Therefore, foods containing Olestra are
required to bear the warning: “May cause abdominal cramping and loose stools.”
[Benecol®]), 1 Tbsp margarine (14g)
Total Fat: 9g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin E (6 IU)
*Good source of: Vitamin A (500 IU)
Oil Spray (Vegetable), 1/2-second oil spray
Total Fat: 0.0g
Olestra, 1 gram
Total Fat: 0.0g
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular
nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good
source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily