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Food Science and Nutrition Alumni

Flax Seed Meal May Be an Acceptable Substitute for Oil in Banana Muffins for Those Concerned With Health

by Cecelia Brown and Delia Vargas

Cecelia Brown and Delia Vargas

The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not substituting flaxseed meal for oil in banana muffins would be an acceptable alternative.   Flaxseed is the leading source of omega-3 fatty acids from plant sources, and flaxseed meal is high in fiber.  A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is associated with decreased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancer-related tumors, and fiber is good for gastrointestinal motility.

Three samples were used in this study.  The control sample was prepared using a traditional banana muffin recipe, including ¼ cup of cooking oil.  A half-flax/half oil variation was made by using 1/8 cup of oil and 3 ounces of flaxseed meal.  A whole flaxseed meal substitution variation was made by using 6 ounces of flaxseed meal and no oil.  The amount of water added to flax variations was 2.25 ounces and 4.5 ounces, respectively, to make up for the added dry ingredient content.

Objective tests to measure center height and edge height revealed significant differences in center height only.  Compression force showed no significant difference, however penetration force did.  Sensory tests included smell, tenderness, banana flavor, and moistness; all showing no significant differences. The triangle and preference tests did reveal significant differences.

After extensive data analysis, it was determined that flaxseed meal was not an acceptable alternative to cooking oil in banana muffins for the general public.  It may, however, be an acceptable alternative for those concerned with overall health, fiber intake, and reduction in heart disease risk factors.

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