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Baking For Diets and Weight Loss: Counting Calories and Fat

Being on a diet or weight loss program doesn't mean you have to stop baking. Make substitutions for lower calories and fat and enjoy baking recipes and diet

Almost 73 million U.S adults are reported to be obese, according to USA Today. That accounts for 34 percent of the population. Another 34 percent of the population are considered to be overweight. The trend does appear to be slowing down, according to Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics, but the numbers are still pretty high. Weight-loss and diets are common and more baking recipes are becoming available if your love baking but want to respect your diet.

Use Non-Fat Dairy for Diet Baking

You can use non-fat dairy products in your baking, according to Jenny McCoy, a pastry chef in Manhattan who has worked in many of the finest restaurants in the city and now works atA Voce in New York City. She recommends replacing regular sour cream with non-fat sour cream and use skim milk instead of regular milk. The texture of certain recipes like custards may be a little different, but the taste will still be there.

Bake with Sugar Substitutes to Help Your Diet

You can get fewer calories in your recipes buy using sugar substitutes like Spenda or Equal, but the taste and texture will be different. During the baking process, sugar undergoes many changes and reacts in different ways to other ingredients. Sugar substitutes do not react the same way and the outcome will be a little different.

If you don’t want to jeopardize the taste or texture of your recipe but still want fewer calories, try cutting down the sugar asked for. Frosting and cookies, as an example, often ask for quite a bit of sugar and you can usually cut it down by at least a quarter.

Diet Baking With Margarine Instead of Butter

Butter is used to make recipes a bit richer and pie crusts flaky. Margarine can be used to reduce the amount of fat and calories you have in your final product and the texture and taste will vary slightly.

Avoiding Nuts When Baking and on a Diet

Nuts are common in many baking dishes and they are also very high in fat. You may be able to substitute another ingredient for nuts that are lower in fats. Cranberries, for example are lower in fat and higher in sugar. If you are making an apple walnut muffin, you can modify the recipe to be apple cranberry muffins instead.

Nuts are also used as garnishes on recipes. Whole pecans, sliced almonds and ground walnuts are used to sprinkle on top of cakes or cookies are rolled in them. If the recipe won’t be too affected, you can eliminate the nuts when used as a garnish.

If, of course, the recipe centers around the nut, there is not much you can do. A hazelnut torte would not really be a hazelnut torte without the hazelnuts!

Substitute Applesauce for Oil in Diet Baking

Another common substitution is using applesauce instead of vegetable oils. The substitution is quite simple; applesauce can replace the vegetable oil in the same portions the recipe calls for. So if your recipe calls for ¼ cup of vegetable oil, you can use ¼ cup of applesauce instead.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.


USA Today. "U.S obesity rate leveling off, at about one-third of adults"(accessed October 7, 2010)

Medline Plus. "Weight Control"(accessed October 7, 2010)

Newsweek. "Goodies Without The Guilt" (accessed October 7, 2010)

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