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'Mystery Fat' Popular with Students

January 23, 2007

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A fat substitute being used in at least one school district in Pennsylvania is a big hit with students.

It's called Z Trim, and it's a plant-based "mystery fat" that is being used in ranch dressing at schools in the Plum Borough District, in suburban Pittsburgh. Z Trim, despite its name, has not fat at all. It's made from the hulls of barley, corn, oats, rice, and soy; and it's been around since the mid-1990s, the product of labs owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Z Trim is sold as a gel or a powder and is a natural additive to things like ranch dressing, which students find delicious. Many students, when asked whether they noticed a difference, said they had not. The "mystery fat" had been in the dressing for a few months, and the use of the ranch dressing has actually increased.

Z Trim can also be used in sauces, snack foods, and all kinds of baked goods. It doesn't fry well, which is just as well, since that would add fat to it anyway.

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