Whey-protein could give reduced fat deep-fried foods: study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Whey protein Nutrition

Whey protein isolates may reduce the fat content of deep-fried foods without affecting the hardness or crunchiness of the finished food, says new research.

Including the isolate as an ingredient in a post-breading dip led to a darker and less yellow food, but no general changes in the mouthfeel sensation and flavour of chicken patties breaded with either crackermeal or Japanese breadcrumbs, according to findings published in the Journal of Food Science​.

“Despite the significant effect of the whey protein isolate post-breading dip on the colour, hardness, and crunchiness of the deep-fried, battered, and breaded chicken patties, these changes may not deter consumers who place more emphasis on reducing their fat consumption,”​ wrote the researchers, from Ohio University.

The Athens, Ohio-based researchers note that the global popularity of battered and breaded food products is on the rise. However, this is juxtaposed with efforts to reduce fat intake, thereby creating significant challenges to food scientists.

Previous attempts to lower the fat content of friend foods “have met with varying degrees of success”​, said the researchers.

Study details

Chicken-patties were prepared and breaded using the two types of breadcrumbs. They were then dipped in a solution containing different quantities of whey protein isolate (WPI), ranging from zero to ten per cent. Different pH levels were also used for the dip: pH 2, 3, and 8.

The higher WPI con concentration led to darker patties when Japanese breadcrumbs were used. A lighter product was achieved when the high WPI concentrations were used with the crackermeal breadcrumbs.

A trained panel of tasters found that only the colour, hardness, and crunchiness of the patties was affected.

In terms of fat reduction in the finished product, the patties prepared using Japanese breadcrumbs, 10 per cent WPI and pH 2 showed the highest fat reduction, without any changes in the hardness or crunchiness of the food, said the researchers.

The patties with the lowest lipid content were those formulated with crackermeal breadcrumbs, 5 per cent WPI, and pH 2. Moreover, these products were lighter, more yellow, harder, and crunchier, said the researchers.

“In short, while there is still room for improving this treatment to minimize the effect on colour and texture, the usage of WPI as a post-breading dip is a promising alternative in reducing fat content in fried foods since it does not alter the flavour profile of a full-fat product,”​ they concluded.

Source: Journal of Food Science​Published online ahead of print, Online Early, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2008.00973.x“Reduction of Oil Absorption in Deep-Fried, Battered, and Breaded Chicken Patties Using Whey Protein Isolate as a Postbreading Dip: Effect on Flavor, Color, and Texture”​Authors: E. Mah, R.G. Brannan

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