Duck fats have the potential to be a healthier alternative to saturated fats, according to a recent study published in the journal LWT. The study, which reviewed 56 research papers and 17 review papers related to duck fats, explored the advantages of using duck fats in the food industry.
Fats play an important role in the food industry, providing energy and essential fatty acids. They are used for cooking, frying, and as food additives. In addition to their nutritional benefits, fats also act as precursors for producing prostaglandins and steroid hormones, and contain fat-soluble vitamins that are necessary for human health.
Traditionally, edible fats and oils have been derived from plants such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, olive, soybean, and palm. Animal-derived fats, such as those obtained from pork, sheep, and beef, are solid at room temperature. These animal by-products are often wasted, burned, or transformed into value-added products. However, excessive consumption of saturated fats, particularly in processed food, has been associated with adverse effects on human health, including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
Researchers have therefore been exploring alternatives to saturated fats in processed food to reduce the burden of CVDs. While vegetable oils can be used as a substitute, they often have sensory deterioration and are prone to oxidation and thermal shock.
Duck fats, on the other hand, offer unique health properties. Duck meat consumption has been increasing worldwide, resulting in increased production of duck by-products. By converting these by-products into food material, scientists have found that the proteins extracted are rich in gelatin, collagen, and peptides.
The fatty acid composition of duck fats varies depending on the duck’s diet. Ducks that are fed with polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, have higher levels of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in their fats. Duck fats have a unique composition that includes low levels of saturated fatty acids, high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, and high oleic acid content. Compared to other animal fats, duck fats provide potential health benefits to humans.
Although the potential application of duck fats in the food industry has not been extensively studied, research suggests that duck fats have improved thermal, physical, and oxidative properties compared to vegetable oils. In one study, the addition of duck fat to margarine reduced the production of trans fatty acids, which are associated with an increased risk of CVDs, and improved oxidative stability.
Duck fats can also be used as encapsulation materials and oleogels. Oleogels, which are synthesized using liquid oils and oleogelators, are used in various food products such as bakeries, confectioneries, spreads, and dairy and meat products. Duck fat-based oleogels have been found to exhibit improved stability and quality.
Although duck fats have numerous benefits, they do have an unfavorable odor due to the presence of volatile compounds. However, encapsulation technology can be applied to reduce the negative sensory acceptance of duck fats, thus increasing their acceptance as functional foods.
In conclusion, the study suggests that duck fats extracted from by-products could serve as a valuable source of edible fats. They have a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids and high oleic acid content, which promote better oxidative stability during storage. By incorporating duck fats into processed food products, it may be possible to provide healthier alternatives to saturated fats while still maintaining sensory quality and oxidative stability.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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