Muffins, popular in all dayparts, get a nutritional boost from added dietary fiber.
The case for inulin

Omission of inulin from the May 2016 lists surprised most food ingredient industry observers. It is probably the most studied of all isolated dietary fibers and has well-acknowledged prebiotic properties, an important function of dietary fiber. The inulin that plays such an important role in supplementing a food’s TDF content is extracted from the roots of chicory plants.

Several inulin producers submitted comments in a joint petition to FDA.

“The review [of the joint petition] is still ongoing,” said Scott Turowski, technical sales, Sensus America, Inc., “but we fully anticipate chicory root fiber to gain approval and maintain its status as a dietary fiber.

“A great deal of clinical research has been conducted with chicory root fiber in the area of digestive health, establishing its position as a proven, prebiotic fiber,” he continued. “There is also emerging research that has shown positive indications linking chicory root fiber to improved immune function, an area that will continue to be researched. In addition, research has shown that chicory root fiber consumption can lead to a decrease in daily caloric intake, making it a potential tool in the area of weight management.”

Mr. Peters of Beneo noted another move. “Along with other European inulin producers, we have also submitted a citizen petition on inulin-type fructans.” He expected that FDA analysis would take place over the next few months.

Oliggo-Fiber chicory root fiber (inulin) made by Cosucra in Belgium is distributed by Cargill in the US and Canada. Cosucra is also a participant in the joint petition. “Given the wealth of data on chicory root inulin’s beneficial physiological effects, the major inulin producers and Cargill are confident that the additional information supplied through the citizen petition will aid in the review and approval of inulin as a dietary fiber,” said Pam Stauffer, global marketing programs manager.

Vegetable, grain isolates

Cereal grains and vegetables qualify as “intrinsic and intact” fiber when used in their whole food form and as flakes, cracked grains, flours and powders. But when further processed to extract their soluble and insoluble carbohydrates, they move into the category of “isolated or synthetic.” Many such fiber additives are offered for their ability to contribute healthy qualities to processed foods.

MGP Ingredients derives its RS4-type resistant starches Fibersym RW and FiberRite RW from wheat. The patented ingredients are based on technology developed at Kansas State University. They fit within the new definition’s requirements for isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrate fiber sources having at least three monomeric units, according to Ody Maningat, PhD, vice-president of R&D and chief science officer. The company submitted a citizen petition for both. “The petition includes supporting evidence demonstrating three beneficial physiological effects in humans. First is lowering total blood cholesterol levels; second, reducing waist circumference and body fat percentage, which can reduce the risk of being overweight or obese; and third, lowering post-prandial glucose levels,” Dr. Maningat said.

Corn, another cereal grain, figures into other fiber additive choices. Soluble corn fiber did not make FDA’s initial cut. Roquette wants to change this and plans to submit for listing. “Only 3% of Americans get the minimum recommended adequate intake of fiber,” Ms. Fratus said. “Given the breadth of scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of soluble corn fiber, we anticipate FDA approval.”

Roquette turns to a variety of plants to create its food ingredients. “Peas, corn and wheat are three main crops we work with to bring ingredients like plant protein, fiber and starch to the food industry,” Ms. Beall said. “Within baking and snacks, Nutriose soluble fiber is used to impart the health benefits of dietary fiber; for sugar, calorie and fat reduction; and to provide excellent taste and texture. All Nutriose soluble fibers are made in France and are non-GMO.”

Citrus fruit — specifically its pulp and peel — are the source for Fiberstar’s portfolio of Citri-Fi fiber additives, noted Kurt Villwock, PhD, director of R&D. “The Citri-Fi 100 series qualifies as dietary fiber according to the new rules,” he said, describing them as meeting intrinsic and intact qualifications. “This product line has been derived solely from a citrus source, with citrus fiber being its only ingredient.”

He described the manufacturing process. “The orange juice pulp raw material (also known as pulp cells, juice vesicles, segment membranes and rag/core) are washed with water, heated, dewatered, sheared, dried, ground and screened to make the finished product,” Dr. Villwock said. “That is, the patented process to manufacture the dry ingredient does not use chemicals to modify or purify it, leaving the fibers essentially in their natural form.”

At Taiyo International, sunflower seed yields Sunfiber, a tasteless, colorless and odorless dietary fiber. Scott Smith, vice-president, noted that this is one of the truly low-calorie fibers, accounting for less than 2 Cal per g. “Sunfiber does fit within FDA’s recently updated definition for dietary fibers,” he said, crediting the large volume of human clinical research that has been performed with it.

There’s no doubt that consumers have a complex relationship with dietary fiber. Currently, they don’t get enough in their daily eating patterns, but it’s a food component that continues to appeal to them. The changes wrought by FDA in the wording and content of the Nutrition Facts Panel may help remedy this under-consumption.

So, even though “Team Total Dietary Fiber” faces a third-and-long situation, the players are taking the right steps through FDA’s petition and comment process to maintain the diverse supply of fiber additive ingredients.