ua en ru

Scientists devised interesting trick to make unhealthy food healthy

Scientists devised interesting trick to make unhealthy food healthy Scientists have figured out how to make unhealthy food beneficial (photo:

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted an interesting experiment with various types of unhealthy food. The goal of the experiment was to alter the recipes in a way that would reduce the levels of saturated fats, sodium, and sugar while preserving their familiar taste.

The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics discusses the results of this experiment.

How the experiment was conducted

The scientists created three variations of popular dishes, including meatloaf, chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese, pastries, chicken in cream sauce, chili, apple pie, pasta with meat sauce, tacos, and pizza.

In the first version, they prepared the dishes using the original recipes with all the ingredients, including fats, salt, and sugar. These dishes were labeled as OG.

In the second variation, they selected improved recipes in which they attempted to eliminate as many harmful ingredients as possible while preserving the flavor. These recipes were referred to as dishes with improved nutritional value - NL.

In the third stage, the scientists practically created new recipes for each dish, replacing most of the harmful ingredients with herbs and spices, including cayenne pepper, rosemary, and many others. These dishes were labeled as "enhanced flavor and nutritional value" - FENI.

For example, in the original recipe for chicken in cream sauce, they used 107 grams of salted butter, 22 grams of salt, and 931 grams of whole milk.

In the second version, they replaced regular butter with vegetable oil, reduced the amount of milk by half, and decreased the salt content to 9 grams.

In the third variation, they added onion powder, garlic powder, mustard seeds, black pepper, parsley, and cilantro to the recipe.

What did the experiment show

To assess the taste and quality of the dishes, scientists invited volunteers. Study participants tasted all variations of the dishes and completed corresponding questionnaires.

The versions of dishes with chicken according to the FENI recipes were more liked by the volunteers than the original recipes. The same results were obtained for pastries with minimal salt and sugar content.

Five dishes received similar ratings for both the FENI and OG recipes - apple pie, pasta with meat sauce, beef tacos, chili, and meatloaf.

Healthier dishes with reduced fat, salt, and sugar content, complemented by herbs and spices, were equally appealing.

However, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and chicken pot pie according to the FENI recipes did not match the taste of the original recipes.

"This work demonstrates that using herbs and spices to create healthier versions of commonly consumed foods with improved taste has significant potential to reduce saturated fat and sodium consumption. The blind tasting showed that for seven out of ten recipes with altered composition, overall liking was rated as higher or equal to the taste of the unaltered version," the researchers noted.