Consider inulin to deal with ‘added sugar’ addition to Guidelines

Added sugar” listings soon could become an added headache for food formulators — and a reason to check out inulin from chicory root fiber. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends people limit their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of total calorie intake. A proposed rule from the Food and Drug Administration also includes mandating the listing of the amount of “added sugars” on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

Inulin, a prebiotic fiber, may be used to reduce sugar content, including added sugar content. HealthFocus International last year produced research for Beneo that showed 63% of the respondents indicated they try to avoid or limit sugar. Beneo’s inulin and oligofructose have a natural, mild sweetness and 1.5 calories per gram, which compares to sucrose at 4 calories per gram.

Jon Peters, president of Beneo

“Oligofructose can also be blended with high-intensity sweeteners to mask the aftertaste they give and provide a more natural, sugar-like sweetness,” said Jon Peters, president of Beneo, Inc., Morris Plains, N.J. “These prebiotic fibers are not digested in the human digestive system, which means that they have no effect on blood sugar levels. Using the principle of ‘sugar out, fiber in,’ chicory root fibers allow the reduction of the sugar content in foods, a better blood glucose management and an increased fiber content at the same time.”

Cargill, Minneapolis, offers chicory root fiber under the Oliggo-Fiber brand that may serve as both a bulking agent and a mild sweetener, said Carol Lowry, senior food scientist.

“It’s a non-digestible carbohydrate that can be used effectively to replace the bulk missing after sugar reduction,” she said. “In addition, food manufacturers can use inulin as a flavor modulator to round out the sweetness profile of high-intensity sweeteners and polyols commonly used in sugar replacement. We’ve even found some reduced sugar applications where inulin adds enough sweetness to meet consumers’ taste expectations, eliminating the need for additional high-intensity sweeteners.”

Chicory root fiber ingredients deliver a natural sweetness that can reach 65% that of sugar while providing an excellent source of fiber, said Scott Turowski, technical sales manager for Sensus America, Inc.

“In addition, chicory root fiber possesses many of the same functional properties typically associated with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, allowing it to serve as a direct replacement of these ingredients in a wide range of applications,” he said. “Chicory root fiber also works well with high-intensity sweeteners by masking off-tastes and helping manufacturers create products that consumers prefer.”

Mr. Peters said more than 150 human intervention studies relate to chicory root fiber. Scientific data confirm the health benefits of chicory root fiber in the areas of digestive health, weight management, blood glucose management and bone health.

Inulin from chicory root fiber may be used to reduce sugar content, including added sugar content.

The European Commission has authorized a health claim with proprietary use for Beneo’s chicory root fiber inulin. It reads, “chicory inulin contributes to normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency.” The beneficial effect is achieved with a daily intake of 12 grams of chicory root fiber inulin.

Studies have shown that 5 grams of chicory root fiber per day, besides adding fiber, also may help feed probiotic bacteria in the gut, said Pam Stauffer, global marketing programs manager for Cargill. As a prebiotic, it enhances the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species,
she said.

“The level of chicory root fiber is easily formulated into functional foods and beverages without a large impact on functionality or product appearance,” Ms. Stauffer said. “Cargill’s Oliggo-Fiber is a soluble fiber that easily incorporates into food and beverages. We refer to it as ‘the invisible fiber’ because it is literally invisible when in solution.”

Mr. Peters said since they are soluble, chicory root fibers may be added to recipe formulations for dairy, bakery, cereal, beverages, confectionery and chocolate.

The Dietary Guidelines lists fiber as a “nutrient of public health concern” because Americans do not eat enough of it. Chicory root fiber is an ingredient to help manufacturers and consumers bridge the “fiber gap,” Mr. Turowski said.

“One of the key benefits of chicory root fiber is its ability to be applied in a wide range of applications without negatively impacting taste and texture,” he said. “In fact, chicory root fiber will often improve the organoleptic properties of most products, helping manufacturers develop products that both address the dietary concerns of consumers as well as deliver the taste and texture that they expect and demand.”