The overconsumption of dietary fat contributes to various chronic diseases, which encourages attempts to develop and consume low-fat foods. Simple fat reduction causes quality losses that impede the acceptance of foods. Fat replacers are utilized to minimize the quality deterioration after fat reduction or removal to achieve low-calorie, low-fat claims. In this review, the forms of fats and their functions in contributing to food textural and sensory qualities are discussed in various food systems. The connections between fat reduction and quality loss are described in order to clarify the rationales of fat replacement. Carbohydrate fat replacers usually have low calorie density and provide gelling, thickening, stabilizing, and other texture-modifying properties. In this review, carbohydrates, including starches, maltodextrins, polydextrose, gums, and fibers, are discussed with regard to their interactions with other components in foods as well as their performances as fat replacers in various systems.


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