Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Uncontrolled consumption of fat is often blamed for increasing body weight and the consequent debilitating effect it has on many metabolic functions in human beings. Persistent efforts by the food scientists and the food processing industry to reduce fat in the food have led to formulation of many foods with low fat or no fat but without significantly affecting their eating quality. How ever these products do not satisfy the consumers unless they are forced to take them due to health considerations. These low fat products serve all those who want to control their weight either to bring down their BMI figures or to meet medical contingency. How ever the most ideal situation as far as a normally healthy consumer is concerned is not to compromise the unique taste and flavor of foods made with optimum quantity of fat, if it can be helped. There appears to be some promise to achieve such a possibility if nano technology becomes acceptable as a safe way of food processing. According to a group of scientists nano encapsulation of fat before incorporation into food products can achieve slower digestion rate of the fat component preventing their complete absorption and creating a feeling of satiety with lesser intake of such foods.

"We need to go further into understanding how matter works, and then bring that knowledge into how we prepare food for our products,'' he told Reuters. "We're at the very beginning.'' One thing they might look into is work by scientists at Britain's Institute of Food Research (IFR), who said last month they had found an unexpected synergy that helped break down fat and might lead to new ways of slowing digestion, and ultimately to creating foods that made consumers feel fuller. "Much of the fat in processed foods is eaten in the form of emulsions such as soups, yoghurt, ice cream and mayonnaise,'' said the IFR's Peter Wilde. "We are unpicking the mechanisms of digestion used to break them down so we can design fats in a rational way that are digested more slowly.'' The idea is that if digestion is slower, the final section of the intestine called the ileum will be put on its "ileal brake", sending a signal to the consumer that means they feel full even though they have eaten less fat.

Nano technology is an emerging area of interest to the food industry which sees enormous possibilities of its deployment to radically revolutionize food processing but questions about its safety to human beings, especially its long term effect is coming in the way of fuller exploitation of its potential. Use of conventional wisdom in designing fats which cannot be digested in the GI tract did not deliver the promised effect and these products failed in the market because of their incompatibility with many consumers. The new concept in slowing down fat digestion and causing "ileal brake" appears to be promising and limited clearance can be given for using this new technology for producing foods for extremely obese people and special consumer groups needing "low calorie therapy".


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