What are healthy substitutes for fat and sugar in baked goods?

By using healthy substitutes for fat and sugar in baked goods you can have your cakes (or cookies or pies) and eat them too -- without feeing guilty. Some tips:
  • Choose canola. Substitute canola oil or margarine made from canola oil for butter, margarine, oils or other fat in recipes. You'll decrease the amount of saturated fat, increase good monounsaturated fat and improve levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Take the prune plunge. Replace half the fat in recipes with prune puree (sold as prune filling) or baby food prunes. To make your own, puree 8 ounces pitted prunes with 6 tablespoons hot water in a food processor until smooth. Prune puree works well in chocolate cakes, brownies and spiced muffins/cakes/breads. When you use prune puree, you can also reduce sugar by half the amount of puree used.
  • Add applesauce. Replace half or more of the fat in baked goods with unsweetened applesauce. With boxed mixes, you can often replace all of the oil with applesauce.
  • Mash in some veggies. Cooked or canned sweet potatoes and pumpkin stand in well for fat in dense cakes, muffins, scones and bread. Use three-fourths the amount of veggies to replace part or all of the fat.
  • Get daring with dairy. Nonfat buttermilk, nonfat yogurt or skim milk can replace fat in muffins. Other healthy substitutions: skim milk or evaporated skim milk instead of cream or whole milk; plain yogurt instead of sour cream; low-fat ricotta cheese mixed with yogurt instead of cream cheese.
  • Slash cholesterol. For each whole egg, use only the whites from two eggs. This way you add zero cholesterol to your recipe.
  • Sweeten with spice. You can often cut up to one-half of the sugar in a recipe by adding sweetness with flavorings such vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg. Stir in an extra tablespoon of skim milk or fruit juice to keep the batter moist.
  • Turn down the oven. When using fat substitutes, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the baking items several times.
Ozgen Dogan
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Olestra is a fat substitute that has been used mainly in different brands of chips. Foods fried in it taste pretty much like their high-fat counterparts minus the calories and cholesterol. However, for some people it causes diarrhea. Common sugar substitutes are saccharin, aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal) and sucralose (Splenda). They can be found in reduced-calorie foods and light/diet drinks. They are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Even so, many health advocates are against the use of artificial sweeteners. Some believe the use of saccharin is linked to bladder cancer and aspartame to brain cancer, but this has not been proved. Using them is a personal choice.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.