Bakers Journal

Features Technical
A Healthy Baking Fat


November 14, 2007
By By Donna Shaw

Topics


With
a ban on trans fats imminent in Canada, and a functional food market
growing faster than the conventional food market, the time is right for
the baking industry to develop new baking products that provide a
healthier nutrient profile. So the question "should we change?" now
becomes "how can we change?" According to professor Alejandro Marangoni
at the University of Guelph, and the team at CoaGel Corporation, the
answer is easier than you might think.

The skinny on a Canadian-made fat substitute

With
a ban on trans fats imminent in Canada, and a functional food market
growing faster than the conventional food market, the time is right for
the baking industry to develop new baking products that provide a
healthier nutrient profile. So the question "should we change?" now
becomes "how can we change?" According to professor Alejandro Marangoni
at the University of Guelph, and the team at CoaGel Corporation, the
answer is easier than you might think.

Marangoni is the creator of Coavel,
an emulsified, water and vegetable oil baking margarine that debuted in
the Bakers Journal January/February 2007 issue. Since that time, Prof.
Alejandro Marangoni and CoaGel Corporation vice-president, Steve
Bernet, along with a team of talented baking scientists, have
reformulated dozens of typical baking products for companies in Canada,
the U.S. and the U.K.

If you are considering entering the
functional food market, here's some new information on an alternative
to trans and saturated fats that could provide a boost for your buns
and a catch to your cakes.

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What It Is

Coavel
is simply a mixture of water, vegetable oil (for example, soybean,
canola or other locally produced vegetable oils) and a monoglyceride
emulsifier. These are common ingredients currently found in many of the
foods we consume, however it is not the ingredients, but the process by
which they come together that gives this fat its unique properties. As
a result of the emulsification process, the fat droplets are
microencapsulated into what is referred to as "nanospheres." These
nanospheres hold on to the water; in fact, microscopically, the water
is actually held in layers. The increased water content of the fat is
responsible for not only the reduced calorie density, but also for the
increased shelf life of products made with it.

Basically a shortening alternative, Coavel
has roughly half the calories of ordinary shortening, margarine and
baking fats. From a health claim perspective, baking products made with
Coavel are low in saturated fat, trans fat free and provide a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

As reported earlier this year in Soft Matter,
a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the microencapsulation of
the oil in Coavel also regulates the release of fats and fatty acids
into the body, which in turn controls the amount of insulin produced
after a meal. Previous research suggests that a diet high in fat is
associated with insulin resistance – the definition of Type 2 Diabetes
and a strong contributor to cardiovascular disease; therefore,
strategies to control the release of fat in the diet show promise in
the prevention of this serious condition.

For bakeries looking
for a way to ride the new wave of functional foods, Coavel represents
another method for improving the nutrient profile of the foods we love
to eat. Consumers are demanding healthier food choices, and given the
health problems associated with consuming too much of the wrong fat,
the time for products such as this has come.

Donna Shaw is a
food and nutrition marketing professional with a focus on the
communication and promotion of functional foods to the growing number
of health-conscious consumers. She has a B.Sc. in Nutrition, an MBA in
Agribusiness and over 20 years of health-care marketing experience.
Donna can be reached at by e-mail at: donna.shaw@rogers.com .


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