Examining the hot topic of fiber’s contribution to digestive health, Neelesh Varde, PhD, senior project manager for fiber at Roquette America, advises formulators about options in soluble dietary fiber.

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?

Neelesh Varde: We have performed a few clinical studies showing NUTRIOSE soluble fiber derived from corn or wheat [a product of Roquette America] has a good prebiotic effect — it boosts some of the good bacteria in the gut, while decreasing the concentration of some strains of pathogenic bacteria. Many soluble fibers have prebiotic effects, but sometimes these come at the expense of digestive tolerance. With NUTRIOSE, we have good prebiotic effects and an excellent digestive tolerance of 45 g per day, as proven in our clinicals. More recent clinical studies have shown the effect of satiety — 8 g per day of NUTRIOSE was shown to have a statistically significant impact on satiety.

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?

NUTRIOSE is one of the most stable soluble fibers on the market. It does not degrade during thermal or shear processing, so there is no need for added expense on overage. At 85% fiber, 3 g NUTRIOSE are needed for a "good source" claim and only 6 g are needed for an "excellent source" claim.

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

NUTRIOSE really works well in all applications, primarily due to its low viscosity and invisibility. We have customers in all submarkets of snacks as well as baked goods. Some use it simply to make a fiber claim; others use it for more specialized uses as a functional bulking ingredient for sugar reduction.

What do you hear from customers and consumers about the finished products made with these ingredients? How well have they been accepted in the marketplace?

The most common feedback we've received from customers is its ease of use in formulating finished products. We've had a lot of projects develop from customers who are developing snacks with whole grains, but then realize that the whole grains aren't providing much fiber. NUTRIOSE makes it easy for formulators to appeal to consumers who want both whole grains and fiber.

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

Our main ingredient is NUTRIOSE, a soluble fiber derived from either corn or wheat. NUTRIOSE offers non-GMO and natural label claims, and the corn-based version is not a major allergen. We like to call NUTRIOSE an invisible fiber, because it has no taste or sweetness, so it can be easily incorporated in most baked foods and snack applications.

NUTRIOSE is also sugar-free and we have several clinical studies performed on its nutrition aspects.