How to Test Foods for Fat

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Some foods obviously contain fat because they are greasy to the touch. Others foods may not feel greasy but still may contain fat. Here is a very simple way to test foods to determine whether or not they contain fat.

Things You'll Need

  • Food samples
  • Knife
  • Brown paper bag
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Obtain food samples. Here are some suggestions: raw meat, cooked meat, fish, regular cheese, processed cheese (like American cheese), various fruits and vegetables, snack foods, pieces of breakfast cereal, granola bar, pie crust, cookies, cake, bread, peanut butter, ketchup or mustard.

Cut the food samples into chunks that are about the size of a marble. Make sure all the pieces are very close to the same size. If the food cannot be cut (like potato chips) just try to get a piece, or a couple of pieces, that are equivalent to the other samples. If the food is very wet, just make sure the blob covers the same space on the paper as the other samples.

Cut the paper bag into pieces that are about 2 inches square.

Place the food samples on the pieces of bag, one sample on each piece.

Write the name of each sample on the edge of its paper.

Rub each sample on the paper for half a minute then leave it on the paper.

Let the samples sit for an hour or so. You can let them sit for several hours if you want to be really thorough. During this time, fat will "ooze" out of the food samples and stain the paper.

Remove the samples and let the papers dry. If you need the papers to dry quickly, use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. This drying process will remove water marks from the paper so that any stain left will be grease.

Look for grease spots on the papers. Any moisture should be gone, so wet-looking spots will be grease, not water.

Determine which samples contained the most fat by comparing the size of the greasy stain left by each. Food with more fat content will leave larger grease spots.

Tips & Warnings

  • If students are cutting the samples, make sure they are supervised as they use the knives.

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