Formulators face a tall order when devising baked foods that support weight management — especially when developing baked foods and snacks for kids. Grownups, too, can be fussy about high-fiber foods, no matter how healthy they are.

Foods targeted for weight management must rank low in calories and far down on the glycemic index yet high in fiber. Ideally, these foods should also exhibit good shelf life without moisture problems, and they must be well tolerated by the body and create no gastrointestinal distress.

And they must taste good.

Resistant starch, sourced from potatoes, answers many of these formulating needs. As experts at supplier Penford Food Ingredients, Centennial, CO, pointed out, the company’s PenFibe RS resistant starch is also non-allergenic, non-GMO and suitable for gluten-free applications.

“Snack food trends favor low-calorie and nutritionally enhanced products,” said Ibrahim Abbas, PhD, Penford Food Ingredients’ senior R&D manager. Products already on the market use the company’s PenFibe RS for caloric reduction benefits in extruded snacks, and the ingredient has proven useful for making snack products for children.

Derived from potatoes, this resistant starch carries 85% insoluble dietary fiber and adds just 0.7 Cal per g. “For baked foods and snacks, the formulator can generally replace 20 to 25% of wheat flour without the need to reformulate,” Dr. Abbas said. Higher amounts may require adjustment of water.

Usage levels determine whether a fiber claim may be made by foods containing PenFibe RS. When present at 3 g per serving, the resistant starch provides 2.5 g dietary fiber, which qualifies the food as a “good source” of fiber. At 6 g per serving, it contributes 5 g of fiber, allowing a “high in fiber” claim. Other finished product attributes such as fat type and content must also conform to the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling regulations governing such content claims.

This fiber does not sequester water, meaning that it can be added to most products without affecting texture or moisture content. “Also, it is very robust and can hold up to most commercial manufacturing processes,” Dr. Abbas said.

There’s good consumer acceptance for potatoes, the source of PenFibe RS. Potatoes are non-allergenic, a key formulating trend identified by Dr. Abbas.

Two overarching criteria govern foods that succeed in the weight management market: flavor and gastrointestinal tolerance. Failure to get over either hurdle will rob a product of its chance for market success.

PenFibe RS has little impact on the way the finished product tastes. “The bland flavor profile prevents flavor interference,” Dr. Abbas said.

Unlike many forms of dietary fiber, this one has no gut tolerance issues in terms of dosage, a fact that the company backs up with clinical studies. “This is true even at high levels of up to 30 g per day of total dietary fiber,” Dr. Abbas said.

“Additional clinical studies are currently under way to build more scientific evidence for its gastro­intestinal and glycemic health benefits,” Dr. Abbas said.

PenFibe RS performs well in bread, rolls, pasta, nutrition and breakfast bars, ready-to-eat cereals and extruded snacks. Jennifer Stephens, marketing manager for Penford Food Ingredients, reported success in gluten-free foods, too.

For details about PenFibe RS from Penford Food Ingredients, go to