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Fat makeover for muffins

india Updated: Jan 22, 2012 01:38 IST

A group of Harvard scientists has waged war against the low-fat diet myth, singling out the muffin as its first target.

For decades, full fat has been cast as a villainous food group. But scientists are beginning to change their tune, pointing out that low-fat diets can actually be more harmful than high-fat foods for some, due to the amount of extra carbohydrates and sugars used to compensate for the absence of fat.

Last week, in a partnership with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health developed five muffin recipes, some low-fat with healthy fats and whole grains, and consequently, less salt and sugar.

They found that a regular blueberry muffin has 450 calories. A low-fat version may have the same amount of calories, but it’s also likely to contain even more carbohydrates and sugar and 60% more sodium than a regular muffin.

Healthy muffin tips

For home bakers, the CIA and Harvard experts also offer a few more tips on how to build a healthier muffin:
Downsize portions
Use whole grains instead of white flour
Slash the sugar
Use heart-healthy oils like canola, olive, corn and sunflower
Use nuts for extra protein
Scale back on sal