Indulgent baked foods like muffins can be made healthier by adding dietary fiber.

Recent data from university studies confirm resistant wheat starch as having beneficial physiological effects in the body. Ody Maningat, Ph.D., chief science officer, MGP Ingredients, describes these findings along with functional benefits in this exclusive Q&A with Baking & Snack.

Editor’s note: On May 27, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration published a new definition of dietary fiber related to health claims and voluntary disclosure in the Nutrition Facts Panel on product labels. Readers should contact MGP Ingredients,, for an update on the status of its ingredients as dietary fiber.

Baking & Snack: What is the latest news about resistant starch’s role as a fiber health and wellness? How does it figure into satiety? What other benefits has it been linked to and why?

Ody Maningat: On May 27, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) published a final rule in the Federal Register: “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels” issuing a definition for dietary fiber in which MGP’s resistant wheat starch, Fibersym RW, is included in the definition under “isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by F.D.A. to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.”

The latest news about the role of our resistant wheat starch in health and wellness are contained in two papers published in June 2016 and and August 2016 by South Dakota State University researchers. The June 2016 paper pertains to a 26-week human clinical study that showed resistant wheat starch reduces the risk factors for metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of risk factors (abdominal obesity, high blood cholesterol levels, high blood glucose levels, elevated blood pressure and high triglycerides) that raise an individual’s chance of developing heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes.

In healthy subjects with metabolic syndrome, reduction in plasma total cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol after Fibersym RW consumption was observed compared with the control group. Individuals had lower per cent body fat and trending with lower waist circumference following Fibersym RW consumption compared with control consumption. The lowering of percent body fat combined with a smaller waist circumference indicates a potential reduction in central obesity in these individuals. This study supports the beneficial physiological effects required by F.D.A. in humans, namely lowering of total blood cholesterol levels and reduction of waist circumference and body fat percentage with possible associated obesity reduction outcomes.

The August 2016 study reports on the in vivo effects of Fibersym RW on butyrate production in the cecum and butyrate-associated regulation of inflammatory markers of colon tissues in mice. The 12-week feeding study with mice involved a Fibersym RW diet and a control diet. Butyrate concentration in the cecum was two-fold higher in the Fibersym RW group than in the control group. Analysis of mouse colon tissues revealed the repression of pro-inflammatory mediators indicating that resistant wheat starch may have anti-inflammatory role.

What can resistant starches bring to do for formulating baked foods and snacks that other forms of fiber cannot?

Dr. Maningat: We have university data to show that Fibersym RW has functionality attributes in snacks and breakfast cereals apart from its fiber fortification, calorie reduction and health benefits. At the University of Nebraska, direct and indirect expanded snacks formulated with Fibersym RW demonstrated crispiness attributes. In a published study conducted at Kansas State University, the same crisp texture was observed for extruded breakfast cereals containing Fibersym RW, which extended the bowl life of the cereal.

In white pan bread, we have data to show that Fibersym RW outperformed other dietary fiber sources. For example, loaf volume of bread formulated with Fibersym RW was similar to the control bread (no added fiber), but larger than breads containing oat fiber, cellulose fiber, inulin, RS2 high-amylose corn starch or RS3 resistant corn starch. The fiber sources were added to achieve 5 grams of fiber per 50-gram serving size. The doughs made with Fibersym RW, RS2 high-amylose corn starch and RS3 resistant corn starch had approximately similar absorption levels and processing convenience.

The doughs made with oat fiber and cellulose fiber required higher water absorption, whereas inulin had lower water absorption than the control, but required longer mixing time and adding the water in four stages to produce an acceptable dough. The texture and eating quality of bread formulated with Fibersym RW were similar to that of the control bread and more superior to the other bread samples. Both RS2 high-amylose corn starch and RS3 resistant corn starch yielded breads with very open texture and coarse crumb. Breads formulated with oat fiber and cellulose fiber had very open texture with large cell structures. Furthermore, the breads had poor palatability and mouthfeel. Inulin imparted a tight crumb structure with a firm and dry texture.

Do these ingredients bring clean label benefits to bakery or snack formulations? What are they?

Dr. Maningat: Fibersym RW has limited clean label benefits. However, it has less than 20 ppm gluten, which meets F.D.A.’s definition for gluten-free. In addition, Fibersym RW, as well all our other native and specialty wheat starches, gained Non-GMO Project verified certification during the early part of 2016.

Please also describe your recent product introductions in the resistant starch or starch categories. What do they offer to formulators?

Dr. Maningat: We summarize the important key points for formulators on Fibersym RW as follows:

  • It is one of the richest sources of dietary fiber/resistant starch in the market.
  • It provides fiber fortification for “good source” or “excellent source” of fiber claims.
  • It is highly suitable for flour replacement applications because of its compatibility with wheat flour that contains naturally-occurring wheat starch.
  • It is a smooth, white powder with non-gritty texture.
  • Because of its restricted swelling, it is process-tolerant and exhibits low water holding capacity. Its low water holding capacity is almost similar to wheat flour, so formulation changes affecting water absorption is not necessary.
  • For snack and breakfast cereal applications, it contributes to crispness of finished products and extends the bowl life of breakfast cereal.
It has proven beneficial physiological effects in humans as shown by five independent university studies from Kansas State University, South Dakota State University and the University of Nebraska.