Dietary Fat A Good Thing in Moderation

Despite fat's bad reputation, it is a very important nutrient. Dietary fat plays many critical roles in the body, such as providing essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, and energy. It also serves structural functions in hormones and in cells.

Fat is also a key factor in how foods taste. Fat absorbs the essence of spices and flavors and allows people to experience their full aroma. Not only does fat carry flavor, it also determines whether a cookie crunches or a muf-

Fat substitutes come in several varieties, including carbohydrate-based substitutes and protein-based substitutes. A more recent innovation is the fat-based substitute called olestra, which is an indigestible molecule that cannot be absorbed by the body. [Octane Photographic. Reproduced by permission.]

Fat substitutes come in several varieties, including carbohydrate-based substitutes and protein-based substitutes. A more recent innovation is the fat-based substitute called olestra, which is an indigestible molecule that cannot be absorbed by the body. [Octane Photographic. Reproduced by permission.]

fin crumbles. In other words, fat is one of the main reasons people enjoy food.

Since the 1970s, nutrition scientists have researched the effects of diet on chronic diseases. Eating a diet lower in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol appears to help prevent or delay the development of some serious illnesses, such as certain cancers and heart disease.

Most government health agencies and professional health organizations encourage people five years old and older to eat a diet with less than 30 percent of total calories from fat, and less than 10 percent of that from saturated fat.

Consumers are concerned about nutrition, and they want to moderate the fat in their diet but there are challenges to overcome. Nutrition, price, convenience, and product safety are important, but taste is the key driver behind food selection for most people. And many consumers still think that less fat means less taste. Fat substitutes were developed to help meet consumers' expectations about taste while providing fewer calories from fat.

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