KANSAS CITY — An increasing awareness of the low-FODMAP diet may present opportunities for fiber ingredients. Both Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., and MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kan., received low-FODMAP certification for specific ingredients from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-di-, mono-saccharides and polyols, which all have been associated with abdominal symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome and bloating.

Previously, certain foods or beverages like dairy products, some fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes became known for causing the abdominal symptoms, said Ody Maningat, PhD, chief science officer and vice president of R&D for MGP Ingredients.

“Scientific advances led to the identification of the food components responsible for triggering the unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, which consist of lactose, fructose, fructans, galactooligosaccharides, and polyols (sorbitol, mannitol and erythritol),” he said.

Ingredion conducted a study of more than 750 Americans in August 2019. When introduced to low-FODMAP products, 68% said they felt such products were good for digestive health and 53% said they would be very likely to purchase them.

Monash University has researched FODMAP for 13 years, said Jane Muir, PhD, associate professor at Monash. Gaining low-FODMAP certification involves registering for an account, applying for pre-assessment, lab testing, confirmation of low-FODMAP criteria and signing a license agreement. Ingredion’s Novelose 3490 resistant starch, which received certification this year, is an insoluble fiber derived from tapioca that has been shown to work in a variety of foods, including baked foods, pasta, snacks and nutrition bars.

“The low-FODMAP certification of Ingredion’s dietary fiber is already spurring new, innovative product development, which may help expand the momentum of this diet from niche to mainstream markets, conceivably similar to how gluten-free grew from niche to mainstream,” said Diane M. Nieto, senior manager, business development, starch-based texturizers United States and Canada, for Ingredion.

MGP Ingredients received certification for its Fibersym RW and FiberRite RW resistant wheat starches. Fibersym may be used in items like baked foods, pasta, tortillas, pizza crust, cereal, snacks, pastries and bakery mixes to add fiber, even enough to quality for a “good source” or “excellent source” of fiber, said Dr. Maningat. Such claims also may be attained by using FiberRite, which typically is used in baked foods for fiber fortification.

Comet Bio, Schaumburg, Ill., is exploring the process to certify its Arrabina arabinoxylan fiber with Monash University, said Hannah Ackermann, corporate communications manager.

“We also conducted our own clinical trial on digestive tolerance and found no statistical differences in key GI tolerance indicators, including gas, bloating and nausea between those taking 12 grams of arabinoxylan per day versus those taking a placebo,” she said.

Grain Millers, Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., offers oat fiber that may add a minimum of 5.6 grams of fiber per serving for a “high fiber” or “excellent source of fiber” claim in food applications, said Rajen Mehta, PhD, senior director, specialty ingredients.

“It has been clearly established through a clinical study that oat fiber improves laxation,” he said. “Fibers in general are well-known to enhance the microbiome, which in turn increase SCFA (short-chain fatty acids) in the gut, and further through a complicated mechanism enhance immunity.”

Oat fiber may be used in foods and beverages designed for a low-FODMAP diet.

“However, there is limited research demonstrating the direct effect of insoluble fibers on IBS and other related diseases,” Dr. Mehta said.

The low-FODMAP diet excludes a proper fiber intake and limits the consumption of fruits and vegetables as fruits and vegetables deliver undigestible but fermentable carbohydrates, said Anke Sentko, vice president of regulatory affairs and nutrition communication for Beneo, Inc., Parsippany, NJ. Studies have shown digestive benefits for the company’s Orafti inulin. One study showed long-chain inulin like Beneo’s Orafti HPX is recommended to avoid fiber loss in the production process due to yeast being present.

“Yeast fermentation needs sugar and can breakdown inulin into its sugar components glucose and fructose,” Ms. Sentko said. “The long chain inulin resists breakdown longer. Once the bread is baked, the fiber is stable and provides proven prebiotic and digestive health benefits.”