`Researchers in Spain Finding Ways to Make Fat in Chocolate and Meats Healthier - Olive Oil Times

Researchers in Spain Finding Ways to Make Fat in Chocolate and Meats Healthier

Mar. 10, 2016
Alexis Kerner

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It seems like if you ask three health spe­cial­ists about dietary fats you are likely to get four answers. To make mat­ters worse, every day there are new stud­ies that mud­dle our ideas on diet and the fats we con­sume. However, if there is one rule of thumb that experts are able to agree on, it is that we should reduce our intake of sat­u­rated fats and replace them with mono and polyun­sat­u­rated fats. By doing so, we can reduce our risk of heart dis­ease and other chronic health prob­lems.

Health pro­fes­sion­als are not alone in these rec­om­men­da­tions. The European Union has also made a push for dietary improve­ments. The EU´s Framework for National Initiatives on Selected Nutrients, calls for a reduc­tion in total fat con­sump­tion, espe­cially sat­u­rated fats in meat and dairy prod­ucts.

This can be sad news for the Spaniard who enjoys eat­ing chorizo, the American who loves a good ham­burger and all of the choco­holics out there. But maybe the answer should­n’t be sim­ply cut­ting these foods from our diets or remov­ing their fat. Could there be a way to con­vert these foods into healthy, guilt-free ver­sions? This is the ques­tion Spain has been work­ing to answer through numer­ous projects.

Many of these research projects are car­ried out in the spe­cial Cooking Lab of Citoliva in Mengibar, Jaen. The lab pro­vides a space for sci­en­tific inves­ti­ga­tion and tech­nol­ogy to be trans­formed into new food prod­ucts that con­tain the added ben­e­fits found in olive oil and its deriv­a­tives.

For exam­ple, Inoevas, was a project com­pleted in 2010 that brought together the knowl­edge and efforts of two Innovation Business Groups (IBG): one that focuses on the advances of olive goods, Inoleo; and the other on indus­trial meats, Asincar.

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The project has been deemed as an exam­ple of suc­cess” by Mari Paz Aguilera, head of the Cooking Lab. The project ulti­mately for­mu­lated a way to replace 45 per­cent of the sat­u­rated fats in meat with monoun­sat­u­rated fats from olive prod­ucts. By doing so, it also decreased the over­all calo­ries of the meat. The prod­uct is cur­rently in the process of being patented and should be on our plates soon.

A more recent project, named ChocoAOVE, answers the call of those with an unyield­ing sweet tooth. After inquir­ing about the details, I was told that much of this choco­late lover’s project is still under wraps.

However, from the lit­tle infor­ma­tion we can squeeze out of Inoleo (the IBG respon­si­ble for the ini­tia­tive), the project focuses on the design and devel­op­ment of spread­able choco­lates, can­dies and chips to reduce the con­tent of sat­u­rated and trans fats. It hopes to par­tially or entirely sub­sti­tute harm­ful fats for ones for­mu­lated from olive oil, while find­ing ways to increase the shelf life of these prod­ucts.

The projects will imple­ment vir­gin, extra vir­gin and organic olive oils to cre­ate prod­ucts that are health­ier and stom­ach-friendly, while at the same time, reg­u­lat­ing cho­les­terol, pre­vent­ing can­cer­ous dis­eases, and reduc­ing glu­cose lev­els.

Attention choco­holics: Dark, white and milk choco­latiers just might unveil new and health­ier ver­sions of your favorite indul­gences soon.

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