Natural Fat Substitute Has Potential
> 1/19/2007 2:25:47 PM

In an effort to reduce the amount of harmful saturated and trans fats in their cafeteria selections, school officials in a suburban Pittsburgh district recently revised their menus to include foods made with a fat replacement product called Z-Trim. Students initially had no knowledge of the transition so officials could gauge their ubiased responses, but early reports indicated few, if any, dissatisfied kids. When told of the change, students registered a collective shrug, stating that the cafeteria food tasted the same or better than before. Z-Trim, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is made from a natural, GMO-free combination of corn, oats, soy, rice and barley, contains no fat, and works as a replacement for the unhealthy, predominately preservative components of foods such as salad dressings, baked goods, processed meats and various snack foods.

Created in federally funded labs during the mid-90's and distributed by FiberGel Technologies, the non-GMO version of Z-Trim made its debut in Europe in 2004 as stricter nutritional guidelines increased government demand for healthy food products that bore no traces of genetic modification. FiberGel also maintains a business partnership with Nestle, using their fat-replacement powder in various Nestle products. Z-Trim has several desirable natural properties: while composed of grains, it is gluten-free, which is important to the significant portion of the population with wheat allergies. Customers also report none of the troubling gastrointestinal side effects so often associated with the consumption of fat-replacement products like Olestra.

While Z-trim's claims to allow customers to manage their weight "without dieting, exercising or giving up the foods you love" miss the point altogether, their method is at least a modest step in the right direction. The experiment would reflect better on the Pennsylvania district in question had they not chosen to change key ingredients  in their foods without letting students or parents in on the plan, but the fact that kids supposedly can't tell the difference between the foods that contain Z-trim and those that don't is encouraging. Still, eating platefuls of cookies or piling ranch dressing on vegetables is not a good idea, whether they're made with this substance or not. And a mission statement that downplays the importance of daily exercise for everyone (not just those looking to lose weight) is unfortunate. Z-trim may put healthier mayonnaise on cafeteria trays, but fried chicken and pepperoni pizza will still draw the longest lines.

Comments kids were subjected to an expirement without parental knowlege or consent. Yeah, yeah I know "it was for their good, they didn't even know the food was different, how could you's cafeteria food!"But still, I think that if some do gooder group got ahold of the ACLU....(oh thats right they are only interested in squashing our American rights). There may be a few lawsuits out of this action.
Posted by: Steve 1/20/2007 9:00:23 AM

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