Even indulgent donuts benefit for fiber additives, which may help cut added sugars.
The new definition is based on the physiological effects in humans conferred by consuming non-digestible carbohydrates, a.k.a. dietary fiber. This differs from past practice.
“Unfortunately, FDA retained the definition of dietary fiber based on a showing of a beneficial physiological effect, rather than a chemical definition, as is the case for most other nutrients,” said Lee Sanders, senior vice-president for governmental relations and public affairs for the American Bakers Association (ABA).
On Feb. 13, Ms. Sanders filed comments with FDA in which ABA urged the agency to rescind or stay “the unworkable and impractical definition of dietary fiber until it can thoroughly address the unintended consequences, costs and burdens for bakers under the current one.” Specifically, the group asked for additional fibers to be listed, provide examples about how the agency’s scientific evaluation process works, develop a public notification process for fibers it approves in the future, reclassify two fibers already approved and lengthen compliance timing.
Because most people don’t consume enough fiber, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans designated this food component a “nutrient of concern.” FDA took note and, for labeling purposes, increased fiber’s Daily Value (DV) from 25 g per day to 28. “Caloric contribution for an insoluble non-digestible carbohydrate is 0 Cal per g,” said Paula Trumbo, PhD, nutrition programs, Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, speaking to AACC International’s 2016 annual meeting held in October. “For soluble, it will range from 2 to 4 Cal per g. We don’t see this as being any different than in the past.”
What is different, however, is that food processors making dietary fiber claims must track fiber usage. “Record keeping is now required for foods that contain both dietary fiber and added non-digestible carbohydrates that do not meet the definition of dietary fiber,” Dr. Trumbo said.
The nub of the problem for formulators is that no analytical test can ascertain which fibers have or have not been determined by FDA to have physiological effects, explained Amy Fratus, regulatory affairs, Roquette America. “Any product with an added fiber that has been isolated from a plant will have to be reviewed to determine the declarable dietary fiber amount.”
When a food makes a fiber content claim, its packaging must disclose the amount. “Fiber declarations have always been voluntary,” Dr. Trumbo added, “and they still are, even under the new regulations.”
Read on for differences between intrinsic and synthetic fiber ingredients.