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Fish Protein Could Aid In Reducing Fat In Fried Foods

UNITED STATES Thursday, September 27, 2012 FIS

Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have been working on drastically reducing the fat content in fried seafood using fish protein found in surimi thanks to donations from the Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF), according to the National Fisheries Institute (NFI).
Surimi consists of refined fish proteins that can be made from a variety of species into products including popular imitation “crab.” It is popularly used for a fried dish in Asian countries and has an unusually low fat content of approximately 2 per cent.
“After doing some initial tests with typical fried US products like chicken nuggets and French fries, we saw that the fried surimi product was consistently low in fat,” said Dr Jae Park, professor at OSU’s Department of Food Science and Technology and OSU Seafood Research and Education Centre (Astoria, OR). “We thought if it’s the fish protein that is minimizing the fat uptake, how can we use that on other fried seafood to get the same results?”  
Two years of research later, Park and his team have developed a fat blocker solution from surimi protein that they have successfully used to cut the fat content of fried shrimp.
“Typically when you fry chicken nuggets or fish, you get a fat content of about 16 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively,” explained researcher Angee Hunt. “When we fried the breaded shrimp by coating it with our fat blocker solution, the treated shrimp had 15 to 20 per cent less fat compared to untreated shrimp.”
The scientists think the fish protein places a protective layer around the food to reduce the fat uptake and retain the product’s moisture, without altering its taste or texture.
“This fat blocker solution could potentially have a huge impact on the whole food industry,” Park said. “At a time when Americans need to eat more seafood and choose healthier fried seafood options, this could be an easier way for them to improve their diets while still allowing people to eat some of their favorites.”
The work is ongoing and to continue the research, the team is seeking more funding to achieve their goal of fat reduction of 50 per cent or more.

 

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