Hydrogenated fats were once a common ingredient in bakery fats, but when clinical studies conducted in the early nineties by Harvard Professor Walter Willett showed a clear link between trans fats (formed during the hydrogenation process) and an increased risk of heart attack, manufacturers where encouraged to remove hydrogenated fats and to actively seek healthier alternatives.
Saturated fatty acids (SAFA) are the natural alternative to trans fats, and palm oil is a rich source, containing a balance of 50% saturated fat and 50% unsaturated fats which help to provide the structure, texture and eating qualities needed in baked goods.
While medical research has failed to identify any link between consumption of SAFA and risk to health, the general recommendation is that, as a nation, we should be consuming less fat and fewer calories.
The challenge to the baking industry today is reducing fat and calories without adversely impacting quality. Most bakery fat manufacturers have now developed lower fat ranges designed to help manufacturers meet this challenge. Ask your supplier for details of their reduced fat and low SFA bakery fats options.
Norman Stark, New Britain Oils Technical Support Manager