Why Foods Contain

Fat offers sensory qualities that make food taste good. As an ingredient, fat carries flavor. It also gives a smooth, creamy texture to foods such as ice cream and peanut butter. When foods such as a brownie seem to melt in your mouth, that's just what's happening—the fat is melting! From meat to baked foods, fat makes many foods moist and tender, or brown and crispy.

Can you cut the fat in a recipe? To a certain extent, yes. The recipe may work if you use less. But eliminating fat altogether may not give the result you expect.

In baked foods. Fat tenderizes; adds moisture; holds in air so baked foods are light; and affects shape, for example, in cookies. With too little fat, baked goods might be tough or dry, or may not rise properly.

In sauces. Fat keeps sauces from curdling and forms part of an emulsion. An emulsion is a mixture of two substances, such as fat and water, that stay together instead of separating, as they normally would.

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