If you're debating between giving up your favorite dessert and breaking your diet, you should consider altering the recipe you're using. For example, you can substitute applesauce for oil to lower the fat content of your food.
Avoid These Oils
Some substitutions in baking goods are made out of pure necessity. Sometimes you find yourself short of a key ingredient, such as eggs or butter, which puts your baking on hold as you run to the store. Other substitutions are planned out to give your food different taste, texture or nutritional value.
Oil is used in many tasty treats, such as cake, brownies and cookies. It adds moisture to your food and depending on what kind you use, a little flavor. Some oils, though, are high in saturated fat and may affect your cholesterol levels, according to a May 2015 study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Researchers found that palm oil, which is high in saturated fat compared to other vegetable oils, raises LDL (the "bad") cholesterol. However, other options, such as olive oil, which is low in saturated fat, don't have a significant effect on cholesterol levels.
In fact, according to a December 2018 study published in Maturitas, including olive oil in your diet may help protect against cancer and diabetes mellitus.
Not all oils are bad for you, but they're all high in fat. If you're trying to lower your fat intake, you can use applesauce instead of oil in brownies and other desserts.
Substitute With Applesauce
Surprisingly, applesauce can take the place of oil in many baked good recipes. You may also use bananas, prunes and pumpkins. All of them add a different flavor to your food, so you should consider experimenting with different options.
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When you substitute applesauce for oil in a recipe, use the same amount. If the recipe calls for one cup of oil, simply replace it with one cup of applesauce. The moisture in applesauce can be overpowering, so you may want to drain out some water first.
Aurora Health Care offers a great tip. You may use half applesauce and half coconut oil or butter to keep some fat in the recipe. They recommend using this combination for sweet baked goods, such as muffins.
NorthShore University HealthSystem suggests substituting only half of the fat in a recipe with applesauce. When you use applesauce instead of oil in a cake, for example, you're lowering the fat content and raising the carbohydrate count.
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Applesauce and Apple Nutrition
A half-cup of unsweetened applesauce contains 13 grams of carbohydrates, according to the USDA. The same amount of sweetened applesauce, by comparison, provides about 22 grams of carbs, depending on the brand.
It's better to opt for the unsweetened version since apples contain natural sugars that will add flavor to your dessert. Plus, chances are that you'll add plenty of sugar to your baked goods to make them sweet.
Since it's lower in fat than oil or butter, applesauce is lower in calories. Fat provides 9 calories per gram, while carbs have only 4 calories per gram. That can potentially cut out a significant chunk of calories from your baked goods.
An apple a day might not be enough to keep the doctor away, but eating them regularly has some health benefits. An October 2016 study published in Public Health Nutrition suggests that eating apples could protect against certain types of cancer, such as colorectal, breast and digestive tract cancers.
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- Public Health Nutrition: "Apple Intake and Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "How Many Calories Are in One Gram of Fat, Carbohydrate, or Protein?"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Applesauce Unsweetened"
- NorthShore University HealthSystem: "Eating Better: Healthy Baking Recipe Swaps"
- Aurora Health Care: "Substitutes That Help Cut Calories and Fat in Your Baking"
- Maturitas: "Olive Oil Consumption and Human Health: A Narrative Review"
- Journal of Nutrition: "Palm Oil Consumption Increases LDL Cholesterol Compared With Vegetable Oils Low in Saturated Fat in a Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Sweetened Applesauce"