January 06, 2004


Back to the old Net-browsing routine, including good old Obscure Store.

Robert Ligon is going to federal prison for 15 months for mislabelling his donuts as low-fat (when each one contains 18g of fat and 530 calories) and selling them to health-food stores. Apparently the grease ring left behind by the "low-fat" donut was the giveaway. The FDA was led to investigate when customers complained that the donuts just tasted too darn good to be health food.

More interesting than some two-bit fraud case was the background story of the apparently paradoxical notion of the low-fat donut. Not even corporate donut giants and fancy food labs (as described beautifully in Fast Food Nation) have been able to chase down "the Holy Grail of the food industry."

Perhaps no other bakery good is so dependent on fat. After the batter is shaped into rings and dropped into hot oil, the deep-frying process preserves the shape, gives the doughnut a crust and pushes out moisture, allowing for the absorption of fat. The fat itself is responsible for most of its flavor. A doughnut contains as much as 25% fat; the bulk of that is the oil absorbed during frying, according to the American Institute of Baking, a research and teaching outfit funded by the baking industry.

The low-fat doughnut, declares Len Heflich, an industry executive at the American Bakers Association, is "not possible."

Wall Street Journal, January 5th, 2004

No, baking the batter doesn't count, "but doughnut-makers say that's cheating: If it's baked, it's a cake."

Now I think I'll go have myself a low-fat Double-Double and a low-fat order of fries (no salt, please), and wash it down with some low-fat Coke. Hey, it's been a while. For a healthier dose of carbohydrates, stick to rice. The cooking of which seems to be the most important practical application so far for fuzzy logic. Sure, we still have the old dumb on-off cooker at home for steaming, but for the actual rice-cooking it's all about the hot-rod Zojirushi fuzzy-logic.

Posted by mikewang on 01:57 PM