Comparing regular fat and low fat foodFeatured science projectScience project video

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
80
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 1 hour for science fair project
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements

Abstract

This science fair project was done to ascertain if people can really differentiate the taste between regular fat and low fat food. The science project experiment involved different types of foods with both regular fat and low fat.

Hypothesis

Most people will be able to differentiate between the taste of regular fat and that of low fat food.

Background

Low fat foods

It is an accepted fact that low fat food does not taste as good as the regular fat version of the same food. Normally, when fat is removed from the list of ingredients, it must be replaced with something else. The only exception is dairy products like milk and yogurt where no other additives are required.

The presence of fat gives our food texture and flavor. Low fat food will normally contain added salt, sugar and other artificial flavorings in order to reproduce the taste and appearance of the regular fat version. Most of the time the low fat version will have higher salt and sugar content.

Just because a certain type of food is labeled as "low fat" we tend to eat more of it. However, there may be little difference, in terms of calories, between the regular and low fat versions.

Scientific Terms

Additives, fat, calories

Materials

The materials required for this science fair project:
- 20 participants –  boys and girls of various ages
- 16 plastic containers
- The following foods in both regular fat and low fat versions :
1. Milk
2. Yogurt
3. Ice cream
4. Jam
5. Cheese
6. Cookies
7. Potato chips
- 20 forms to fill
- 20 disposable plates and spoons
- 20 bottles of drinking water
- 1 black marker pen

Procedure

1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the regular fat and low fat food. The dependent variable is the choice made by the participant in selecting between the regular fat version and the low fat version. The constants (control variables) are size of the plastic containers and the amount of foot tasted, per serving.

2. Eight of the plastic containers are marked “1” using the marker pen and the remaining 8 are marked as “2”. Procedure 3 and 4 below will be done without the knowledge of the participants.

3. The regular fat and low fat versions of the following foods are purchased – milk, yogurt, ice cream, jam, cheese,  cookies and potato chips.

4. The regular fat and low fat foods are then removed from their packaging and randomly placed into containers marked “1” or “2”. A separate list is made to identify by number which food is the regular and which is low fat. This list will be used to check the answers by the participants.

5. A form for the participants to fill up is prepared as shown below in Table 1. The participants are invited to taste the food and select the item they think has the regular fat content. Each of them   is given  one  form to fill, 1 plate, 1 spoon and a bottle of drinking water to wash away the taste.

Table 1 – Form for participant survey



Choice


Milk


Yogurt


Ice cream


Jam


Cheese


Cookies


Potato chip


1
             


2
             


6. After the participants have completed filling out the forms, the results are collected for analysis and the number of correct answers are recorded in the table below.

Observation

Result

Milk

Yogurt

Ice cream

Jam

Cheese

Cookies

Potato chip

Correct Answer

12

15

11

14

9

12

11

Percent

60%

75%

55%

70%

45%

60%

55%

The chart below represents the results of our science project.

The results show that more than 50% of the participants had made the right choice for 6 out of the 7 food samples.

taste of low fat foods science project

Conclusion

The hypothesis that most people will be able to differentiate between the taste of regular fat and low fat food, is proven to be true for most of the food samples tested.

Many people prefer to buy and consume low fat food even though it is more expensive because they believe it is healthier and will help them overcome weight problems. However, these foods are normally loaded with sugar and furthermore, we tend to eat more of it simply because we think that it is lower in fat content!  

Also consider

This science fair project may be repeated, this time, with a bigger group of people to do the sampling.

Modify the science project experiment, having the participants choose the food that tastes better.

References

The Truth behind Fat Free or Low Fat Food Which No One Has Ever Told You - http://munfitnessblog.com/the-truth-behind-fat-free-or-low-fat-food-which-no-one-has-ever-told-you/

Do low fat foods really taste different - http://lowfatcooking.about.com/od/lowfatbasics/a/lowfattaste.htm

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