WASHINGTON — Inulin and inulin-type fructans, high-amylose starch (resistant starch 2), and polydextrose were among eight additional non-digestible carbohydrates recognized as fiber by the Food and Drug Administration on June 14. The F.D.A. ruled mixed plant cell wall fibers, a category that includes fibers like sugar cane fiber and apple fiber, also met its fiber definition as did arabinoxylan, alginate, galactooligosaccharide and resistant maltodextrin/dextrin. More details may be found here.
The eight approvals give food manufacturers additional clarity in updating their labels as needed ahead of the compliance date for the F.D.A.’s new Nutrition Facts Label, which is Jan. 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales and Jan. 1, 2021, for smaller manufacturers.
The F.D.A. in the May 27, 2016, issue of the Federal Register defined dietary fiber for the first time as non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants; isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by the F.D.A. to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.
Isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates not listed as dietary fiber by the F.D.A. at that time could provide citizen petitions to the F.D.A. explaining how the carbohydrates provided physiological effects beneficial to human health. The F.D.A. received citizen petitions for each of the eight non-digestible carbohydrates approved as fiber on June 14. The F.D.A. is evaluating other petitions.
“Our expectation is that we will continue to evaluate additional dietary fibers on a rolling basis, and we expect that additional fibers may be recognized in the future,” said Scott Gottlieb, M.D., commissioner of the F.D.A.
The F.D.A. gives examples of beneficial physiological effects as lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels; lowering blood pressure; increase in frequency of bowel movements (improved laxation); increased mineral absorption in the intestinal tract; and reduced energy intake (for example, due to the fiber promoting a feeling of fullness).
The F.D.A. ruled the eight carbohydrates met its fiber definition based on specific beneficial physiological effects. Examples were a beneficial effect on blood glucose and insulin levels for arabinoxylan, a beneficial effect on post-prandial glucose levels for alginate, a beneficial effect on bone mineral density and absorption of calcium for inulin and inulin-type fructans, a reduced post-prandial insulin response in the absence of a rise on post-prandial glucose for resistant starch 2, a beneficial effect on calcium absorption for galactooligosaccharide, a statistically significant reduction in energy intake at a subsequent meal because of polydextrose intake, and increasing calcium absorption for resistant maltodextrin.