Fat mimetics

Fat provides flavor, mouthfeel, taste and odor; it also contributes to creaminess, appearance, palatability, texture and lubricity. The substances used in place of the fat in food systems are generally called fat replacers and are classified as fat substitutes and fat mimetics depending on their chemical conformation and functionalities.

Fat substitutes are molecules that possess the physical and functional characteristics of conventional fat molecules, while fat mimetics are substances that imitate sensory or functional properties of triglycerides but which cannot replace fat on a gram-for-gram basis.

Fat mimetics are ingredients that have distinctly different chemical structures from fat. They are usually protein or carbohydrate based. They have diverse functional properties that mimic some of the characteristic physiochemical attributes and desirable eating qualities of fat: viscosity, mouthfeel and appearance.

Their energy contribution to the diet ranges from 0 to 4 kcal g−1. Fat mimetics are generally not suitable for high temperature applications, such as frying, as they are susceptible to denaturation or caramelization. Fat mimetics are generally polar, water soluble compounds.

Fat mimetics are also referred to as ‘texturizing agents.’ It requires a high water content to achieve its functionality.

For example, polydextrose was tested as a fat and sugar replacer in cakes, brownies and chocolate cookies and formulations were proposed for the preparation of acceptable products with one third lower calories than their full-calorie counterparts. Polydextrose, being a multifunctional food ingredient can be also used as a humectant, texturizer, thickener, stabilizer and cryoprotectant.

Oat-derived fat mimetics have been also reported for partial replacement. Oat fibers were used in order to produce bread or soft-type cookies with one third fewer calories, which presented color and flavor comparable to standard products.
Fat mimetics

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