Low-fat foods sometimes disappoint consumers because less fat can mean less flavour and poor texture. Now, a researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are working on a new technology that could lead to low-calorie foods that taste like the real thing.
To make encapsulated fats, small oil droplets are formed by mixing oil, water and a surfactant in a process similar to making salad dressing. The surfactant coats the droplets and keeps them separate from the water until fiber is added to the mix in the final step. Layers of fiber, and other substance hold the fat inside the droplets.
How much of the fat can be digested is determined by the number of layers and the types of fiber used.
The process is suitable for encapsulating everything from orange oil to olive oil, and uses fiber obtained from apples, oranges, seaweed or shellfish. All the ingredients are food-grade, so this technology requires no FDA approval to use.
Encapsulated fats can be used foods such as sauces, desserts, yoghurt and salad dressings.
The makers of this product are currently seeking a patent.
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