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Scientists add ‘invisible fiber’ to foods for a healthier food plan



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Scientists have converted native starches equivalent to wheat, corn and cassava to dietary fiber that may be added to food to make it healthier without changing its texture, color or taste.

Researchers at RMIT University worked with Microtec Engineering Group, a technology-based engineering company that supplies starch processing equipment, to develop the starch-based product, called FiberX, which resists digestion within the human gut, identical to fiber.

Not only is FiberX smooth and tasteless, but it surely’s also suitable for fortifying low-calorie and low-GI foods and may be gluten free. Moreover, it’s suitable for adding to low-fiber foods equivalent to white bread, cakes, pasta, pizza and sauces to make them healthier.

Project lead from RMIT’s Food Research and Innovation Centre, Associate Professor Asgar Farahnaky, and his team used advanced starch modification technology with approved food grade materials to create what they describe as “invisible fiber.”

“We are able to now add extra fiber to foods like white bread and other staples without changing the taste or texture, which has been one among the predominant issues with many commercially-available fiber supplements so far,” he said. “Our product isn’t even noticeable once added. It’s identical to a parent hiding vegetables in a baby’s meal to make it more nutritious.”

The importance of fiber

Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that isn’t digested within the human gut, and it may well help improve the health and performance of our digestive system. It will possibly also help prevent obesity and kind 2 diabetes, and reduces the danger aspects of some cardiovascular diseases.

Increasing the fiber content of food products by 10 to twenty% while also maintaining nice taste and texture is a challenge across the food industry. Current foods with added fiber can have a tricky texture or different flavor to the unique product.

As a part of the research, Farahnaky’s team conducted taste tests and texture evaluation on bread and cakes with various amounts of added FiberX. They found they were in a position to add as much as 20% fiber to food while maintaining the unique taste and texture of the product.

“This latest technology means we will increase the quantity of fiber that goes into the food so we will receive our beneficial every day intake, even while consuming less foods, which has potential to assist with weight management and diabetes,” he said.

How does it work?

RMIT University co-researcher and Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Mahsa Majzoobi, said the structure of starch was modified on a molecular level and tested to see the way it reacted with digestive enzymes.

“Once the resistant starch goes through this process, it must have high levels of resistance to be counted as a successful conversion to dietary fiber,” she said.

Using this latest technology, the team can convert greater than 80% of starch into dietary fiber, Majzoobi said.

FiberX was tested using internationally approved methods at RMIT and the accredited Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre. Farahnaky said his team at the moment are the subsequent phase of FiberX technology, which is able to use green alternatives to convert starch to fiber.

Reducing food waste

Farahnaky explained that beyond the health advantages, FiberX technology also has the potential to enhance supply-chain challenges, reduce food waste and increase local jobs.

“Australia currently exports large amounts of grain for creating value-added products, equivalent to plant-based meat. We then should import these products back to Australia and wait for them if there are delays in the provision chain, as we saw with COVID,” Farahnaky said. “As a substitute of growing and exporting more grains, we must always be using existing grains to create value-added products here in Australia.”

To do that, Microtec and RMIT’s Food Research and Innovation Centre have also partnered with Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre to stop starch and fiber-rich by-products of plant protein production from going to waste.

Australia currently produces 5,000 tons of pulse protein a yr, which generates 30,000 tons of waste. Farahnaky explained that by processing this waste into dry pulse starch, FiberX technology can convert the starch to fiber on a big scale.

“Not only will this partnership help reduce food waste on an enormous scale, but it is going to result in creating latest premium food products which are high in dietary fiber,” he said.

Ready for expansion

With the assistance of Microtec, FiberX technology is now ready for the food industry to take up and use for large-scale production of dietary fiber.

“This latest technology will enable the production of dietary fiber using a cost- and energy-effective process at a big scale,” Farahnaky said. “Scaling this technology will mean the food industry may have access to large quantities of invisible dietary fiber at an inexpensive price to offer high-fiber foods to consumers.”

Provided by
RMIT University

Scientists add ‘invisible fiber’ to foods for a healthier food plan (2022, November 23)
retrieved 23 November 2022
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