Study finds pawpaw a tasty fat substitute in baked goods

Athens, Ohio A mango-like fruit that grows in the eastern United States and Canada could make low-fat baked goods more palatable to the health-conscious consumer, according to a new study published this week.

Researchers asked 114 people to taste test three types of muffins a higher-fat recipe that used vegetable oil and two low-fat alternatives, one made with applesauce and the other with pawpaw, a fruit that tastes similar to mango or banana. Study participants rated the muffins made with pawpaw as highly as those made with oil and more desirable than those made with applesauce, said Ohio University nutritionist Melani Duffrin.

"A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Consumers might choose a low-fat food product if they think it tastes as good as the full-fat product," said Duffrin, an assistant professor of human and consumer sciences in the College of Health and Human Services and lead author of the study, published in the spring issue of Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal.

Participants ate the muffins in random order and ranked their appearance, tenderness, flavor, texture, aftertaste and overall acceptability on a scale from 1 to 9, with one being the most favorable response. Overall, the pawpaw muffins were rated between 1.7 and 3.5, or about the same as the higher-fat muffins.

Both the applesauce and pawpaw recipes use less oil (one tablespoon) than the other muffin recipe, which called for one-quarter cup of oil. But participants expressed some dissatisfaction with the texture of the foods made with applesauce. The pawpaw muffins scored higher marks in this area.

Duffrin used a puree of the pawpaw fruit in the study to determine if it would be a better fat substitute than applesauce. Pawpaw has a higher fat content than apples about 13.5 percent fat compared to 5.5 percent fat in an apple but the study suggests its taste and texture may make it a

Contact: Andrea Gibson
Ohio University

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