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A Promising New Fat Substitute

For 30 years, U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher George Inglett has wrestled with the realities of American taste buds, reports CBS News Correspondent John Roberts.

"Americans are in love with fatty foods and sometimes, the fatter it is, the more they will eat," says Inglett, who announced Monday that he has found a way to satisfy those desires with none of the consequences.

The product is called "Nu-Trim," a creamy fat substitute made from oats. What's more, Inglett's new product is brimming with beta-glucan, a substance proven to lower cholesterol levels.

"The beauty is that we reduce the fat by 95 percent in using this type of product and we cut the calories in half," he says. "It could very easily improve your heart, possibly prevent cancer."

This new fat substitute is just one of a whole generation of functional foods that will change the way Americans eat. They're called nutraceuticals -- a marriage of food and pharmaceutical technology that is expected to produce foods that are not only good for you in the traditional sense, but may actually improve your health.

In January, for example, the makers of Tylenol will introduce Benecol -- a margarine substitute from Finland that has been shown in clinical trials to reduce blood cholesterol levels by 15 percent. Scottish researchers are working on eggs that are said to strengthen the immune system.

George Inglett's colleagues, meanwhile, are exploring the medicinal qualities of corn oil.

Nu-Trim still needs FDA approval, which is months away. However, several large companies are excited about its potential to make food medicine that's easy to swallow.

Reported by John Roberts
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