Report Explores Possible Causes for Rise in Saturated Fats
Responding to pressure from health groups, the government and consumer demand, food companies have been reducing levels of sugar and salt in their foods, the Washington Post reports, but levels of saturated fats in the updated recipes for these reduced-salt or -sugar foods have surged. The Post cites a November 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that purportedly found a significant rise in saturated fats in four of the five food categories examined—cereals, yogurts, snacks and frozen/refrigerated meals showed increases, although candy did not—while the same categories largely showed decreases in salt and sugar.
Food scientists who formulate products with reduced sugar and salt told the Post that decreasing one nutrient often results in increases for others to account for the weight and volume lost, especially when less of the replacement ingredient is required, such as the use of stevia to replace sugar. The author of the USDA report speculated that the rise in saturated fats may be attributable to efforts to reduce or remove trans fats but noted that further modeling would be necessary.