Dubai (Agencies): A low-fat Omani "healthy halwa" has been developed by researchers in Oman which has become a symbol of Omani hospitality.

A team from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, led by Prof Mohammad Shafiur Rahman of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, has developed the healthy halwa" which is often distributed during celebrations and religious occasions.

"Considering the type and amount of fat and sugar content is used for making Omani halwa, it could be categorised as an unhealthy food specially if consumed in high quantities," Prof Rahman said according to media reports.

According to the researchers, healthy halwa could be developed with reduced input of fat and sugar, and the addition of other compounds considered good for health.

Halwa is a traditional candy in Oman, and is eaten on a day-to-day basis, or during formal social occasions. It's usually served in Omani homes before drinking Arabic coffee.

The people of Oman have passed on the technology of making halwa through generation of artisans and pride themselves in being able to make one of the best in the Gulf.

Halwa mainly constitutes starch, sugar, water, ghee, and aromatised with saffron, nuts and rose water. Omani halwa is usually made with sugar (50 per cent), water (25 per cent), mill flour (10 per cent) and ghee (15 per cent).

"Five types of consumer groups were identified through hierarchical cluster analysis and the preferred key attributes were explored for each group," Prof Rahman said whose team is working with Al Amri Omani Halwa Company in Al Seeb in order to formulate low-fat and low-sugar halwa