Inulin could help slash fat in cakes, say researchers

By Nathan Gray

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Related tags Nutrition

Inulin could help slash fat in cakes, say researchers
Replacing fats and oils with fibre in the form of inulin could lead to 70% reductions in fat, whilst maintaining good taste and functionality, in bakery products, according to new research.

The study – published in the Journal of Food Science​ – assessed the effects and physicochemical properties of fat replacement by inulin in a sponge cake.

The researchers, led by Julia Rodríguez-García of the University Politècnica de València,​ Spain, reported that oil substitution for inulin in the sponge cake formulations led to reductions in fat content by up to 70%.

Rodríguez-García and her team said they had achieved the reformulation “of a standard sponge cake recipe to obtain a new product with additional health benefits and [that is] accepted by consumers.”

“These high-quality products can be labelled as ‘reduced in fat’ according to U.S. FDA and EU regulations,”​ explained the researchers.

Fat reduction

The authors noted that nutrition-related diseases are increasing “because, among others, energy intake is too high and dietary fibre intake is below recommendations.”

“Because of diet and health concerns, consumers have been urged to consume less fat and more food containing complex carbohydrates,”​ they said.

“As fat has the highest energetic value of all major food constituents, a promising way for the food industry to provide advantageous food is to replace fat by dietary fibre ...So, in response to dietary guidelines and health goals, the food industry has introduced a variety of innovative food products designed to help consumers lower their fat intake,” ​they said.

Inulin has been used to replace fat in several foods, including meat and dairy products, whilst gathered inulin is used in several products such as butter-like products, frozen desserts, sauces, and soups.

Study details

Rodríguez-García and her team investigated the effects of several fat replacement levels (0%, 35%, 50%, 70%, and 100%) by inulin in a sponge cake microstructure. They reported that the substitution significantly decreased batter viscosity, which gave an evenly distribution of bubble sizes – though the bubbles were found to be larger than the control cake.

“The absence of oil—which acts as an interface, stabilizing air bubbles—gave place to a less aerated structure after baking,”​ said Rodríguez-García.

The remaining fat was observed to be located at the bubbles’ interface, “enabling an optimum crumb cake structure development during baking,”​ they said.

“Cakes with fat replacement up to 70% had a high crumb air cell values; they were softer and rated as acceptable by an untrained sensory panel,”​ said Rodríguez-García and her colleagues, adding that cake made with up to 70% fat replacement “did not differ significantly from the control in all the sensory attributes scored.”

“So, a good quality cake with a 70% of oil replacement can be achieved, and it can be labelled as ‘reduced in fat’ according to U.S.and EU regulations,”​ they confirmed.

Rodríguez-García and her colleagues said that further research could investigate ingredients that stabilize air bubbles in fat replaced cakes containing with inulin.

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Source: Journal of Food Science
Volume 77, Issue 2, ​pages C189–C197, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02546.x
Optimization of a Sponge Cake Formulation with Inulin as Fat Replacer: Structure, Physicochemical, and Sensory Properties”
Authors: J. Rodríguez-García, A. Puig, A. Salvador, I. Hernando

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