It’s the fat that makes ice-cream, chocolate and cheese so irresistible.
Fat free ice cream won’t stay on the tongue long enough to give that lingering, rich, creamy flavor.
These tempting food are full of fatty acids and a sweet-tasting glycerol molecule known as TAGs.
TAGs are essential to the body but and excess can lead to problems like diabetes.
Now scientists at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada are trying to find out how to mimic the satisfying fats with healthier alternative.
When food manufacturers replace saturated fats with unsaturated alternatives to improve nutrition, the product can lose its mouthwatering taste and structure and store differently.
“Fats are complex systems,” said Fernanda Peyronel, research associate at the University of Guelph.
“Some edible fats like plant oils might contain only a few TAGs while milk fat contains more than 200.”
“Food production is very much like chemistry,” said Jan Ilavsky, a scientist in Argonne’s X-ray Science Division.
“You can keep testing ingredients and trying out substitutes, but that isn’t very efficient.
“If you know what you’re looking for and have the tools to model your prototype recipes or processes, you can find solutions faster and cheaper.”
The team is working on calculations for cooling and heating rates, composition and mechanical properties to find out why the fats are so attractive and to create healthy alternatives for consumers.
To study the molecular structure of edible fats, researchers from the University of Guelph are using X-rays at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy Facility at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.