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Fat in the diet - when you can't live without it.

Just as some of us can't seem to eat all the fruits and vegetables we should, cutting out all the fatty foods we've learned to enjoy may be more than some are willing to tolerate. Even among heart patients and others who know that they need to change their eating habits to prolong their lives, the, dropout rate from the diets they've been given is as high as 50-70 percent.

If you're one of those who just can't avoid all those fatty foods, consider an occasional treat using a fat substitute. For ice cream lovers, for example, there is Simplesse, the brand name of a fake fat made from skim milk and egg whites. Used in frozen dairy desserts - which can't be called ice cream because they contain no butterfat - Simplesse feels creamy to the tongue and has a fraction of the calories of butterfat, making it a great substitute for ice cream. Therefore, the product can be an acceptable substitute for real ice cream and can also be used in place of fat in other foods that are eaten cold.

Unfortunately, this fake fat from protein doesn't tolerate heat, so it can't be used in cooked foods. However, another fake fat called olestra can be used for frying or baking.

Made from corn, soy, and cottonseed oils, olestra has the unusual property of being nonabsorbable in the intestinal tract. It does not affect other nutrients in the food, which are absorbed in the usual manner.

Studies in animals and humans have shown olestra to be safe, without known side effects. Simplesse doesn't pose any problem either, because it is nothing more than common food proteins cooked and processed in a special way.

The only drawback in using fat substitutes, therefore, is that they tend to replace more nutritious foods. A piece of fruit for dessert, for example, is far more nutritious than fake fat ice cream-but if you just can't live without your ice cream or other fatty foods, give the fat substitutes a try.
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:May 1, 1992
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