Archive for Wednesday, December 9, 1998


December 9, 1998


I know that some sugar and fat is needed in baked products to maintain quality. Are there any recommended minimum proportions to use?

Both sugar and fat can have an important impact on the foods we prepare in terms of tenderness, browning, texture and flavor. However, many of us would do well to make our recipes leaner. Of course, some would say that the products are too lean, but adding more spices such as cinnamon and cloves will help retain flavor. It's always a good idea to gradually cut sugar and/or fat in recipes and see your family's reaction. Here are some suggestions for just how much you can cut back and still have an acceptable product.


Quick Breads

Minimum sugar: 1 or 2 tablespoons per cup of flour. The result is a quick bread that tends to dry out, is less tender and has more tunneling.

Minimum fat: 1 tablespoon per cup of flour. The result has a coarser texture.


Minimum sugar: 1/2 cup sugar per cup of flour. The result has a more open texture, pale crust and is drier.

Minimum fat: 2 tablespoons per cup of flour. The result is less tender and less moist.


Minimum sugar: 0 to 1 tablespoon per cup of flour. The result is less tender and less moist.

Minimum fat: 1 tablespoon per cup of flour. The result has a lower keeping quality.


Minimum sugar: 1 teaspoon per cup of flour. The result is less tender and moist and browns slowly.

Minimum fat: 1 tablespoon per cup of flour. The result has a lower keeping quality.


Minimum sugar: 1/3 cup per cup of flour. The result is less tender, paler and spreads less.

Minimum fat: 1/4 cup per cup of flour. The result is less tender.

Custards and puddings

Minimum sugar: 1 1/2 tablespoons per cup of milk. The result is firmer and requires a shorter cooking time.

Can you tell me how many calories are in one tablespoon of oil?

Yes, there are 120 calories in 1 tablespoon (13.5 grams) of oil or fat. Butter and margarine contain less fat (only 100 calories per tablespoon) because they contain some water. Spreads and whipped products have even fewer calories.

Just in case you're interested, there are 9 calories in one gram of fat or oil. That means fat contains more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates (starch and sugar) or protein, both with 4 calories per gram. When limiting calories, the first and easiest way is to eat less fat.

Furthermore, dietary fat is efficiently stored in fat cells. For example, 97 percent of dietary fat calories are stored as body fat, whereas only 77 percent of carbohydrates can be converted and stored as body fat. Thus, carbohydrate calories are not as "fattening" as calories from fat.

I hear a lot about trans-fatty acids, but I really don't understand what they are. Could you explain them?

Trans-fatty acids are a by-product of hydrogenation. Some nutritionists now question hydrogenation because it can change the unsaturated fatty acids into trans-fatty acids. These trans-fatty acids act more like saturated fatty acids and can raise blood cholesterol levels just like butter.

Main sources of trans-fatty acids are the hardened vegetable shortenings used in processed foods and deep-fat fried foods. So far there are no recommendations for safe levels of trans-fatty acids, but most researchers believe that the current average intake of 3 to 5 grams is safe.

To reduce your trans-fatty acid intake, eat less fat, choose softer margarines, and use oil for cooking and salad dressings.

Is it best to choose monounsaturated fats?

Registered dietitian Mary Clarke, K-State Research and Extension specialist in nutrition education, says, "Usually a balanced diet of about equal amounts of all three fats -- saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated -- is best. However, sometimes more monounsaturates and less of the other two may be recommended for heart disease and diabetes."

Studies suggest that monounsaturated fats lower the "bad" LDL-cholesterol in the blood while protecting the "good" HDL-cholesterol. Whereas, in susceptible individuals, saturated fatty acids tend to raise blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fatty acids tend to lower both LDL- and HDL-cholesterol blood levels.

Is it true that the fat in olive oil is not 100 percent monounsaturated?

You're right! Olive oil is not 100 percent monounsaturated. Instead, 77 percent of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated.

Here is a listing of various fats and the percentage of fat coming from either saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Fats with 40 percent or more saturated fatty acids:

Coconut oil, 92 percent

Palm kernel oil, 82 percent

Butter, 66 percent

Cocoa butter, 63 percent

Lamb fat (tallow), 50 percent

Palm oil, 49 percent

Beef fat (suet), 47 percent.

Fats with 40 percent or more monounsaturated fatty acids:

Olive oil, 77 percent

Canola oil, 65 percent

Peanut oil, 49 percent

Beef fat (suet), 49 percent

Hard margarine, 47 percent average

Pork fat (lard), 47 percent

Chicken fat, 45 percent

Hydrogenated soybean oil, 45 percent

Fish oils, 45 percent average

Shortening, 44 percent average

Fats with 35 percent or more polyunsaturated fatty acids:

Safflower oil, 77 percent

Sunflower oil, 66 percent

Corn oil, 62 percent

Soybean oil -- not hydrogenated, 61 percent

Cottonseed oil, 54 percent

Sesame oil, 44 percent

Soft margarine, 35 to 65 percent

-- Susan Krumm is an extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper. She can be reached at 843-7058.

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