Sweet-tasting fiber, not added sugar
Among the most common dietary fiber food ingredients is chicory-root fiber, also known as inulin. Although it currently is not on the F.D.A.'s list of fiber ingredients, per the agency’s May 20 definition of dietary fiber, major suppliers jointly submitted a petition to the agency on Sept. 12 requesting this ingredient, in its varied forms, be added to the list. Prior to the May 20 rule, suppliers and manufacturers qualified and quantified chicory-root-fiber inulin as dietary fiber by AOAC analysis.
The petition provided the F.D.A. with comprehensive studies showing that chicory root fiber inulin meets the F.D.A.’s dietary fiber definition as an isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrate (with three or more monomeric units) determined by the F.D.A. to have physiological effects beneficial to human health.
“Inulin-type fructans from chicory are one of the most studied food ingredients in the world,” Mr. Volz said. “It is defined as fiber in Europe, Canada and the rest of the world. We are very confident it will be defined as fiber as we go through this process with the F.D.A., possibly even before the year ends.”
Such recognition will assist bakers in their efforts to boost what the F.D.A. calls a “nutrient of concern” in baked goods to help consumers meet their daily requirements of dietary fiber. Its use will also help reduce added sugars in baked goods. Its “not a sugar” status is supported by written legal analysis from Covington & Burling LLP, which specializes in food law. The firm determined that chicory root fiber inulin ingredients, which have varying degrees of sweetness, do not fit the F.D.A.’s definition of added sugar. This means that chicory root fiber inulin ingredients can assist with taking sugar out and putting dietary fiber into baked goods.
These are dietary fibers that provide natural sweetness at only 2 calories per gram vs. sugar’s 4 calories per gram. Some ingredients provide more sweetness than others, and their ability to work synergistically with other no-added-sugar sweetening systems varies, too.