Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the same texture and mouth feel in our food without fat? It would be wonderful because we have two or three big reasons to cut back on the amount of fat that we eat.
The obvious one is that fat has more than twice as many calories per gram as protein and carbohydrate (9 compared with 4). Anyone with diabetes who is trying to lose weight or to keep off weight that we have lost knows that fat is not their friend. And almost everyone with diabetes – a full 85 percent of us – need to lose some pounds to get down to a normal weight.
Less obvious is the high level of advanced glycoxidation (or glycation) end products (AGEs) in fatty foods. AGEs cause oxidative stress and inflammation, which seems to have a special connection to diabetes. A lot of the AGEs in our bodies comes from what we eat, and fatty foods are some of the highest in AGEs.
A third reason might be the generally accepted connection between fat and high levels of bad cholesterol, leading to heart attacks. However, the work of science writer Gary Taubes is beginning to call that into question.
His contrarian article, “What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?” in the July 7, 2002, issue of The New York Times Magazine challenged this conventional wisdom. For the past five years he has been honing this thesis that poor science underlies the apparent connection.
I am immersed in his new book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, about the confused reasoning that led the medical establishment to stigmatize fat for its effects on our heart. If I am convinced of Taubes’s reasoning after finishing his book, you can count on my reporting that here.
But even if Taubes is right to question the link between fat and heart health, the first two reasons for controlling the amount of fat we eat still hold. The big problem is that almost all of us love fat’s texture and mouth feel.
Now, however, we can have that texture and mouth feel with much less fat in our diet. The answer is a new product made totally from fiber called Z Trim.
I have been testing it on your (and my own) behalf. Z Trim is nothing like earlier versions of fat substitutes that make food taste like cardboard or that add sugar. Z Trim can replace butter, eggs, and oil in just about all our recipes and pre-packaged products with essentially no change in texture or flavor.
You don’t replace all the fat. The manufacturer, FiberGel Technologies of Mundelein, Illinois, suggests that you replace up to half of the fat.
For me, that meant using just half of the amount of salad dressing that I use both on salads and many vegetables, substituting Z Trim for the other half. The salad dressing that I like best has 8 grams of fat per tablespoon. Z Trim has nothing but 0.6 grams of fiber per tablespoon – no fat and no calories. So for every tablespoon less of salad dressing that I use I reduce my fat intake by 8 grams and 72 calories.
I also use mayonnaise on dishes like tuna or salmon salad. The mayo that I prefer has 11 grams of fat per tablespoon. By mixing it half and half with Z Trim I reduce my fat intake by 11 grams and 99 calories.
You may also be able to reduce the fat in baked goods, meat products, cheeses, and confectionery products. But those things aren’t a big part of my diet, and I haven’t tested Z Trim with them.
I know of only one downside to Z Trim. Its cost. Ordering from the company's website, I paid $11.96 for a 1.18 pound bottle of Z Trim Fat Replacement Gel (including $4.99 for the product and the rest for shipping charges).
That’s certainly not cheap. But I’m not cheap either when it comes to my health and weight. Are you?