low fat food label

Fat substitutes are used in baking to reduce caloric content and to achieve “low fat” labeling.

Fat Substitutes

What are Fat Substitutes?

A alternative substance which takes the place of some or all of the original
fat content of a food, while maintaining similar taste, texture, and moisture consistently.


The main function of utilizing a fat substitute is to reduce the fat content, providing a lower calorie product. This demand is well recognized in the weight loss industry. It is common to see a product with multiple fat substitutes to replace the original characteristics provided by the fat itself. Attributes of varying types of substitutes blend together to cover the different characteristics fat promotes. A replacer for fat can be protein-based, carbohydrate-based, or fat-based. Fat substitutes that are carbohydrate-based exhibit the creaminess of fat and serve the function of adding volume, increasing viscosity and water absorption. Protein-based fat substitutes originate from either milk proteins or egg white proteins and denote similar mouthfeel to fats when utilized in baked products, but cannot be utilized in fried foods. Fat-based substitutes contain modified fats that do not have the capability of being absorbed within the digestive system and impart the same characteristics to items as original fat. Using the correct fat substitutes in a designated product is vital because of the importance fat imparts in a food. Fat absorbs flavor, texture and aroma as well as providing the desired texture, moisture, flavor, mouthfeel and appearance.


  • Carbohydrate-Based:
    Polydextrose: Confections, baked goods, puddings, confections.
    Starch & Modified Food Starch: Baked goods, frostings, fillings.
    Corn (Z-TrimTM): Baked goods
    Hydrolyzed Oat Flour: Frozen desserts, baked goods, fillings and frostings.
    Maltodextrins: Baked goods, dairy products, frozen desserts.
    Inulin: Yogurt, cheese, whipped toppings, frozen desserts, baked items.
    Gums: Reduced calorie foods, desserts.
    Dextrins: Puddings, spreads, dairy products, frozen desserts.
    Cellulose: Sauces, dairy, frozen desserts.
  • Protein-Based:
    Modified Whey Protein: Baked goods, frosting, dairy products.
    Microparticulated Protein: Sauces, dairy, dressings, baked goods.
  • Fat-Based:
    Sucrose Polyester (OlestraTM): Salty snacks and crackers, potato chips. Human digestive enzymes are not able to digest such a massive molecule, so the fat-based olestra is not absorbed. In addition, vitamins from the food itself can also be unabsorbed due to combining with olestra molecules.
    Emulsifiers: Cookies, cake mixes, icing or frosting.
    Sorbitol Polyester (SorbestrinTM): Fried baked goods such as donuts.