KANSAS CITY — The Food and Drug Administration over the past two years more clearly defined what ingredients meet its fiber definition. Several ingredients sourced from grains now qualify.
Achieving F.D.A. claims such as “good source of fiber” or “excellent source of fiber” will become more difficult, but going with grain-based ingredients, including those sourced from wheat, oats, barley and corn, should help food and beverage formulators reach the claim levels. The F.D.A. has raised the Daily Reference Value for dietary fiber to 28 grams from 25 grams. A claim of “good source of fiber,” or 10% of the Daily Value, increases to 2.8 grams per serving while the claim of “excellent source,” or 20% of the Daily Value, increases to 5.6 grams per serving.
One recent survey shows Americans may notice such claims. The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2019 Food and Health Survey found more than 85% of respondents said they perceived fiber as healthy.
The F.D.A. in March had favorable fiber news for MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kas. The agency said cross-linked phosphorylated RS4 (resistant starch 4) should be added to the definition of dietary fiber because RS4 helps reduce insulin levels following a meal containing a carbohydrate that raises blood glucose levels. The statement meant MGP Ingredients’ Fibersym RW, which contains resistant starch from wheat, met the fiber definition.
Fibersym demonstrated lowering of post-prandial blood glucose and insulin levels in three clinical studies that involved consumption of Fibersym-containing sugar snap cookies and nutrition bars, said Ody Maningat, Ph.D., vice-president of ingredients R.&D. and chief science officer for MGP Ingredients.
Michael Buttshaw, vice-president of ingredients sales and marketing for MGP Ingredients, gave several examples of how Fibersym may be used to reach fiber claims. A honey, nuts and oat bar with Fibersym added at 4% of the formulation delivered 6 grams of dietary fiber per 65-gram serving. Other examples were a chocolate chip cookie (5 grams of dietary fiber per 30-gram serving with a 19% Fibersym addition), a nutrition bar (5 grams per 36-gram serving with an 11% Fibersym addition), a chocolate peanut butter crunch bar (3 grams per 35-gram serving with a 4% Fibersym addition), and a pizza crust formula (4 grams per 55-gram serving with a 7.9% Fibersym addition).
Fibersym has a neutral flavor, may be incorporated easily into applications and does not come with any need for major processing changes, Dr. Maningat said.
Wheat flour is another avenue for fiber incorporation. Bay State Milling Co., Quincy, Mass., now offers a HealthSense high-fiber wheat flour that delivers up to 10 times the amount of dietary fiber of traditional enriched wheat flour. Derived from high-amylose wheat, HealthSense flour contains resistant starch. While conventional wheat contains about 25% amylose and 75% amylopectin, the wheat used to make HealthSense flour contains 75% amylose and 25% amylopectin. Amylose is much less susceptible to digestive enzymes, making it more resistant to digestion, which leads to the name resistant starch.
Oat fiber benefits
Oat fiber may be used to achieve fiber claims as well.
“Getting to a good source or excellent source claim is relatively straightforward and typically requires the use of only a single fiber,” said Rajen Mehta, Ph.D., senior director, specialty ingredients for Grain Millers, Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn. “The challenge is when the goal is to maximize the dietary fiber content of a snack. For this, usually two or more oat fibers with distinctive properties need to be used to achieve 9-plus grams of fiber per serving, with the max level dependent on the snack type.”
The F.D.A. in the May 27, 2016, issue of the Federal Register defined dietary fiber as non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units), lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants, and isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates that are beneficial to human health.
Oat fiber from Grain Millers qualifies as intrinsic and intact, Dr. Mehta said, because Grain Millers preserves all the phytonutrients and the multiple fiber types present naturally in the raw material. Oat fibers from Grain Millers are not chemically modified but are modified physically to produce oat fibers with diverse and distinctive properties.
“Recent scientific research on advantages in the understanding of the effect of fibers, especially insoluble fibers, such as oat fiber, and oat beta-glucan effects on gut microbiota is growing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “That research demonstrates that both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as phytonutrients, tend to have a positive effect on the growth of beneficial microbiota such as those belonging to the genus Bifidobacterium and simultaneously reduce the growth of pathogens.”
Besides adding fiber, oat fiber and oats may replace multiple grains and ingredients to shorten the ingredient list in products, Dr. Mehta said. Oat fiber has been shown to reduce breakage, enhance shelf life and provide texture modification benefits, including crispy to chewy and soft to hard, he said. Oat fiber may reduce the perception of oiliness and reduce fat in products.
Barley and corn are two other grains that contain fiber.
Ardent Mills, Denver, promotes several grain-based ingredients for fiber inclusion in formulas. Sustagrain barley contains the highest fiber content of any commercially available whole grain, according to the company. Ardent Mills also has plans for a zero-net-carb mix, a dairy-free, vegan and no-added-sugar mix developed for low-carbohydrate consumers. The “zero-net-carb” term relates to the dietary fiber in a product offsetting the negative effects of other carbohydrates. The mix may be used in many grain-based foods applications, including pizza, tortillas and rolls.
Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., offers a resistant starch ingredient sourced from high-amylose maize that meets the F.D.A. fiber definition. The company’s Hi-Maize 260 resistant starch enables flour replacement and caloric reduction in baked foods, nutritional bars, cereals and pastas. The ingredient supports balanced energy by reducing the glycemic response to foods and improving carbohydrate metabolism, according to the company.