Would he taste the difference?

I have a friend who has somewhat unhealthy eating habits. He piles salt on things, uses tons of regular mayo, and cooks stuff with lots of lard. Now, I’m no saint either, but I usually try to keep the bad stuff to a minimum. I don’t like mayonaise, am perfectly fine with fake butter, and can enjoy friench fries without salt.

My friend claims that foods that are ‘low sodium’ ‘reduced fat’ ‘50% less artery clogging garbage’ don’t taste as good as the normal stuff, but this baffles me on how he can back this claim up. For a while now, I’ve been itching to make him something that was mayo/crisco/lard free and trick him into thinking it was made with the fatty junk. Any suggestions?

We have tastebuds that detect fat. So, no, something defatted won’t taste the same, unless you’re eating something that contains a substance that fools your tastebuds (like Olestra). Those Wow! chips don’t have fat, and they sure taste like normal chips to me.

Olestra: Only your underwear knows for sure!

Yeah that would work good and all, until the Olestra gives my friend anal seepage and in a fury gags me with his soiled underwear.

Let me just scratch those WOW chips off of the old shopping list…

Quick confession. I misread the thread title as, “Would he taste different.” Naturally, I came in here expecting an erudite discussion of things that modify the flavor and mouthfeel of semen. Carry on.

I’ve always gotten a kick out of Derf’s take on Olestra®

Fat, cholesterol and salt are the things that make food palitable. Yes, you can wean yourself off them but it’s really an adjustment at first and you have to want to adjust. I now prefer skim milk to the point that 1% seems like melted Hagen Daaz but it took a while to get there.

Very doubtful you’ll fool your friend. Don’t confuse what you think your friend should eat with what he thinks tastes good.

I read all the dire warnings of Olestra, but I wanted to lose weight and eat chips too. So I nervously tried it. The product is just fine and doesn’t cause trouble unles you eat a whole lot, in which case things do move a little easier.

Some people are allergic to peanuts, others to milk. If Olestra hurts your tummy, then avoid it. But I’d like to get more of it.

Speaking for the lard lobby I’d like to suggest that we have been maligned. Wrongly. Just ask Uke.

Yeah, I was afraid of the anal seepage thing as well. I never had a problem. I suspect all the hype about said seepage was simply because it was too good a joke not to share. In any case, I wouldn’t eat the whole bag or anything, but I have had absolutely no problems.

Anyhow, feel free not to try them. More tortilla chips for me! [Homeresque] Arfm mwaf nmmm amm numm!

Trying to shift the conversation away from anal seepage…

I agree with your friend. “Reduced” and fake stuff generally tastes like crap. If you like it–well, IMHO you’ve brainwashed yourself.

But that doesn’t mean that he has to eat all that junk.

For example, instead of eating a ton of mayo, he should make sandwiches with better ingredients that taste good on their own without overpowering condiments. Or he could eat sandwiches with mustard instead.

There are plenty of good foods that are “naturally” low in fat. Better to reduce your fat intake by eating more of those foods than to try to do it by eating fake food.

Back it up? You mean scientifically prove to you that things taste different to him? It’s a little hard to read folks’ minds, isn’t it?

My experience is that people not only have differences in their food preferences but also differences in their degree of sensitivity in the matter. At one extreme, there are some who cheerfully eat anything and are hard-pressed to name a food they don’t care for. At the other, there are those who are picky enough to like and eat only one brand of something, and discerning enough to be able to tell when they eating it.

I like butter. I do not like margarine. I can tell the difference. Some margarines are less disagreeable to me than others, but none of them taste the same as butter. I know some people who actually prefer margarine (obviously perverted demented freaks). And others who don’t detect any difference.

The message I get from the OP is that YOU can’t tell the difference, and find it hard to believe that other people can. Try your sneaky test and I’ll bet you’ll be disappointed. Some of us are very sensitive in the taste department.


My sister is following the 40/30/30 eating lifestyle, so she doesn’t indulge in full fat items, yet she makes dinners that are incredibly flavorful. Here is one of my favorites.

You need:

A crock pot
Wish Bone Fat Free Italian Dressing
Lean pork chops

Turn crock pot on high, pour in entire bottle of dressing, toss in pork chops, put on lid. Leave the crock pot for about 6 hours.

The results are wonderful. The pork is tender and shredded, and the Italian dressing turns into a beautiful brown sauce. It looks and tastes full fat! Serve over brown rice.

Hopes this helps.

Let’s see: Sweet, sour, bitter, um, salt, and umami.

Nope, no “fat” taste buds.

But, to end my nitpick, “there’s no accounting for taste”. I personally hate mayonnaise and butter and see no reason for them to exist. They just make my mouth feel slippery. Yuck.

Yes your friend would taste the difference. Why do you doubt him?

Fat is not necessarily a flavoring (although most fats do impart an important flavor to food,) but they’re very important for carrying the flavor of certain spices (such as paprika, which is not water-soluble) or for keeping meats moist during roasting and stewing. Try to make a homemade sausage with lean pork and you’ll get a ghastly hump of meat with no flavor and the most god-awful texture. Trust me on that one. I think America has gotten way too crazy on this lean meat trend. Better to eat less meat with more flavor and fat then to subsist on poorly prepared lean meat. (Don’t get me wrong; lean meat has its uses, but more often than not, it’s badly prepared and dried-out.)

Salt is also important as an agent which melds flavors together. It is not simply there to make something taste salty. It also has the ability to enhance and bring out flavors naturally occuring in food.

The problem with most low-fat, low-salt food is that it tries to emulate high-fat, high-salt cuisine. I’m sorry, but no matter how hard you try, you’re not gonna create a respectable low-fat cheese and pepperoni pizza. So why try? Same problem with vegetarian food which tries to emulate meat. What the hell’s the point? If you like meat so much, then eat meat dammit. Good vegetarian food is wonderful, and never pretends to be a “veggie burger” or “wheat sausage” or some other lifeless, unimaginative abomination.

And don’t even get me started on rice cakes.

Point is, you’ll be hard-pressed to fool your friend. The closest you may be able to come is barbecue grilled chicken breast or something like that. Otherwise, forget it.

You can still achieve a very rich, filling flavour without salt or fat. It doesn’t all have to be bland and watery. Eg roast root vegetables (sweet potato, carrots) using just a little olive oil.

Using lots of chilli and lemon juice in cooking gives food tang and flavour and negates the need for salt quite a bit.

Rich tomato-based sauces for pasta (eg using a lot of condensed tomato puree) also taste often as creamy as real-cream based ones. Personally I hate yoghurt but you can sometimes substitute it for cream.

There are masses of healthier oil alternatives to lard, some of which have beneficial properties (though being fats they will still have calories) - eg olive oil, canola oil.

OK. Here’s a recipe for spinach/artichoke dip using low-fat mayo. It is absolutely great, and you can’t tell the difference. I won’t pretend, however that the recipe is low-fat, as it’s piled with cheese. And, it’s pretty salty too.


1 can artichoke hearts, or 1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 small package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 package (2 cups) grated Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup finely chopped red onion
1 t. Tony’s Cajun seasoning or Lawry’s seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Drain and roughly chop artichoke hearts. Drain spinach, and squeeze until very dry. Combine all ingredients and place in baking dish. Bake until cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Recipies and anal seepage! I’m marking this thread!

Agreed with the other posters who suggested more flavorful food rather than the low/no-fat alternatives to mayo and so on. I’m a vegetarian and my husband is not, so we used to cook our own (separate) food. He’s not very good at coming up with different dishes to cook and so he tended to stick to a few high-fat dishes that he liked the taste of. After he began gaining a lot of weight, especially after he broke his leg and was off his feet for a couple months, I took over cooking for both of us. He lost well over 50 lbs and loves my cooking. I’ll admit what I cook isn’t totally fat-free/cholesterol-free, etc., and I do still cook meat for him, but I try my best to find tasty recipes that he’ll like, and choose a lot of “international” cuisines with a variety of spices - Indian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, etc.

Find ways to bring out the flavor in foods. When appropriate, lightly ‘dry-roast’ spices in a frying pan before cooking with them (works great for Thai and Indian food, certainly). As mentioned by istara, oven-roast root vegetables; they have natural sugars that this will bring out. Broil red bell peppers and then let them cool in a brown paper bag; peel off the charred skin and voila, roasted red peppers to add to a dish. In a frying pan, caramelize onions with a small amount of margarine - slow cook to get them to turn a nice rich brown, which also releases natural sugars and adds to flavor.

As Padeye mentioned, if you work at changing things like what milk you drink, eventually you may not want the fatty stuff any longer. My husband always knew the taste of skim vs. “2%” milk and hated skim; now after years of drinking 1% and skim he doesn’t mind it, while I nearly gag at the taste of “whole” milk.

With reduced/low/no fat products, you have to shop around, and find ones that don’t taste “like crap”. Try different brands. Sometimes, the “lite” version tastes worse than the “no fat” version from the same manufacturer.

I think you get used to whatever you do. I don’t salt anything except french fries, and don’t want more salt. The down side, for both reduced fat and reduced salt, is you have to deal with food that’s too salty or greasy sometimes. For example, we get reduced fat triscuits, and the regular ones taste oily and not as crisp. Also, french fries and other foods often have too much salt for my tastes. If you like lots of salt, you can always bring it up to your level, but I’m out of luck.