Improving digestive health, part 1

by Laurie Gorton
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By developing foods aimed at improving gut health, formulators can help many Americans improve their health and wellness. In the first of this exclusive Formulations Update series, Beth Peta of Cargill discusses specific concerns about texture, flavor and choice of ingredient.

Baking & Snack: How does dietary fiber foster better digestive health in humans? Can you share recent research that supports this capability or describes mechanism for this activity?

Beth Peta: Increasing interest in digestive health and increasing fiber consumption is occurring:

  • 38% of US consumers are currently managing a digestive problem
  • 70% of the body’s ability to ward off infection and disease begins in the digestive tract
  • 68% of adults are making an effort to strengthen their immune system, 79% are trying to increase fiber
  • Most people consume about half of the daily fiber requirements of 25 to 30 g per day
  • Fiber is a top weight loss method – two-thirds use fiber as a weight loss tool.

Source: NMI Health & Wellness Trends, Gallup Report on Probiotics, IFIC Food & Health Survey

What do formulators need to know about the way these ingredients perform during preparation and processing? Are there limits — regulatory and/or practical — on usage levels in formulations?

Cargill’s application scientists work closely with customers to overcome these challenges and formulate great-tasting baked foods and snacks with increased fiber. We are continuously exploring new and innovative solutions to help our customers formulate around the growing consumer demand for food products with digestive health benefits. Common formulation challenges with adding fiber include:

  • Tastes like cardboard
  • Dry texture
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Viscosity
  • Density.

Are your ingredients better in some applications than others? What types of baked foods and snacks make the best use of these materials?

Our ingredients are designed to work in a wide variety of foods and snacks. Working closely with customers to understand their product goals and the specific challenges they have encountered allows us to provide the right solutions; the best ingredient solution will always depend on the application and the customer’s product goals. For instance, do they want to increase the fiber but also reduce sugar and/or fat, are they looking to make any claims, etc?

What ingredients does Cargill offer that help create such applications in the baked foods and snacks categories?

ActiStar Resistant Starch

  • Provide process tolerant fiber source to market products with an “excellent source” of fiber claim.
  • Type 4 Resistant Starch
  • Caloric reduction
  • Good digestive tolarance
  • Clean bland flavor
  • 85% dietary fiber – dry basis
  • Heat and extrusion stable.

Oliggo-Fiber Inulin

  • A soluble fiber that helps consumers maintain a healthy digestive tract
  • Fat mimetic
  • Bulking and masking agent
  • Body and mouthfeel enhancement.

MaizeWise Corn Bran

  • An insoluble fiber that can boost dietary fiber at low to moderate inclusion rates
  • Provides minimal impact to flavor, texture, color and processing characteristics.

Barliv Betafiber

  • A concentrated beta-glucan soluble fiber derived from whole-grain barley
  • Clinically shown to reduce cholesterol when consumed as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet
  • Authorized for an FDA health claim*
  • Patent-pending product characterized by high purity (>70% beta glucan) and low molecular weight (low viscosity).

* “Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 3 g per day of beta-glucan soluble fiber from barley benefiber may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Horizon Milling GrainWise Wheat Aleurone

  • Allows incorporation of nutritional benefits of whole grains into processed foods
  • Contains 45% dietary fiber, essential vitamins, important minerals, most major antioxidants and many phytochemicals
  • Preserves the pleasing sensory qualities consumers enjoy in foods made from while flour — soft texture, high volume, mild taste and light color.
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