Reducing Fat the Healthy Way

In our health and wellness blogs, we have touched on reducing sodium and adding highly flavored foods. We also delved into additives, their effects and possible replacements for many. Now we want to talk about fat. Fat provides taste, texture and aroma to foods. It is a carrier of flavor and small amounts have a huge impact on dishes while too much fat covers up flavor.

For years, many have been used to high fat foods in their diets, but two thirds of Americans believe that there is a need for food ingredients that can replace fat in foods. What is important to remember fat free is not the way to go. We do not want to go back to the poor tasting fat-free salad dressings of the 80’s. Instead, reducing fat is much more effective. Reducing fat has a high impact on flavor. Because of this, seasoning must be adjusted. Too much fat covers up some spices, but a small amount of fat enhances flavor, lowering the need for salt.

When utilizing fat properly in our diet, it is important to recognize healthy, beneficial fats and unhealthy fats. Currently, our diet contains many saturated and trans fats, which increases LDL (bad cholesterol) and contributes to coronary artery disease. Hydrogenated oils, butter and rendered animal fats are just a few of the contributors that contain high amounts of saturated and trans fats. Luckily, there are many sources of “good” fats and fat replacements that can be easily substituted in cooking:

– “Good Fats” from Olive Oil and Grape Seed Oil – Both contain high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are known to boost heart health, lower triglycerides and provide nervous system support.

-Purees in Baking: 
Purees of plum, fig, apple and dates maintain flavor in baking.

– Reduced/No-Fat Dairy Items as Butter Replacers: 
Yogurt, Quark, Sour Cream, Mascarpone

-Utilize Powders: 
Bean Powders (Black, Red).Vegetable Powders, Mushroom Powders (Porcini), Vegetable Powders

-Root vegetables pureed for richness

-Light Mayonnaise


Culinary approaches to decrease fat and still maintain flavor:

-Preparations using leaner meats

  • -Remove ¼ of higher fat meat (like beef) and replace with lean

  • meat (like pork, sirloin or venison) plus a small amount of bacon.

  • -Skin-free poultry and fish

-Use non-stick spray instead of fat in a pan

-Pre-blanch proteins such as chicken or pork instead of sautéing

-Limit fried foods

With these methods, a chef can maintain a balanced dish without compromising flavor. It’s important to remember that not all fats are equal, so using the right fat will make all the difference.

“Eat well.”

Culinary Systems Inc

Windermare, Florida 34786


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