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Ways to Replace Saturated Fats in a Rich and Healthy Way: Science Supports

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Spices have sparked wars in times past, and now that we have hundreds of them at our disposal, we don’t use them well. Unless you are a cooking enthusiast, we usually opt for prepared sauces and condiments that greatly shorten cooking times. However, it is possible to eliminate excess unhealthy fats, sugar and salt from some preparations and make them taste the same or tastier. The trick is in the correct use of spices to obtain alternative recipes.

Recipes are more flavorful with healthy spices than with fat, salt and sugar.

In the 1990s, ‘fatphobia’ began, pointing to all fats as the culprit of all diseases. The food industry changed its products by eliminating fats and selling them better under the “low-fat” label.

From that stage emerged foods that are totally discouraged today, such as margarine, which replaced butter . The strategy to sell more products was to eliminate fats, which are what give that flavor and texture, and add sugars to compensate for that deficit .

These are the condiments most used by the Japanese that you can imitate at home to improve your health

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The problem came when carbohydrates began to be the bad guys in the movie, and now that strategy was beginning to be no longer valid. Today we know that neither carbohydrates nor fats are the bad guys in the movie , but rather the food that contains them.

The fat in an avocado has little to do with the trans fats in industrial pastries. A refined cereal does not even generate the same impact as a whole grain, both being rich in carbohydrates.

What can I do then to get my recipes right?

Choose healthy foods , not macronutrients like carbohydrates or fats. To deal with the intense flavor that the industry has created in its sauces and ultra-processed foods, it uses something that we have at our disposal , but that even generated wars centuries ago: spices.

A publication in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highlighted the importance of the taste of food if we want to eat well . That is the main reason why we like chocolate (sugar cocoa) more than pure cocoa, for example.

The researchers’ main conclusion is that the participants actually preferred some of the recipes in which much of the saturated fat and salt was replaced with herbs and spices . To reach this conclusion, the people in the study worked with culinary experts in three different scenarios:(1)

  • First scenario : Typical amounts of saturated fat, sugar, and salt used in classic meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, and brownie recipes.
  • Second scenario : they improved the recipes nutritionally by eliminating excess saturated fat, sugar and salt, without adding anything extra.
  • Third scenario : It had the same nutrient profile as the second, but also contained added herbs and spices, such as garlic powder, ground mustard seeds, cayenne, cumin, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.

The goal of the study was to reduce unhealthy ingredients due to their excessive sugar, unhealthy fat and salt content, and replace them with spices that would improve the flavor of the recipe. The result is as surprising as it is understandable: participants liked some of the recipes from the third scenario more than the original ones from the first scenario.

Eating well and eating rich are compatible.

The number of people who cook healthy recipes is increasing, as we are realizing that there are food groups and spices that enhance the flavor even more than unhealthy options. The only problem is that it requires time cooking and basic cooking skills.

The take-home message from this article is that we have so many spices at our disposal that we don’t even know about them, and we would be surprised by the flavor our dishes can achieve if we use them well. If you are looking to improve your diet, get a good assortment of spices and enjoy your healthy recipes .

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  1. Using Herbs/Spices to Enhance the Flavor of Commonly Consumed Foods Reformulated to Be Lower in Overconsumed Dietary Components Is an Acceptable Strategy and Has the Potential to Lower Intake of Saturated Fat and Sodium: A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Analysis and Blind Tasting;




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This content is based on scientific research and written by experts.

Our team of licensed health professionals, nutritionists and fitness experts endeavor to be unbiased, objective, honest and to present each sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1,2,3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific researches.

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