Fruits are important sources of dietary fiber that can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease. As a result, many manufacturers are seeking to increase fruit fillings in yogurts and baked or sweet goods. Nevertheless, many fruit preparations in processed foods carry more calories than some dieters would prefer to ingest.
“A lot of manufacturers are looking for fruit preparation recipes that are low in sugar and calories,” says Connie Lin, applications manager at Sensus America (Monmouth Junction, N.J.). Sensus' Frutalose[r] L85, a liquid form of inulin/fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), is a 100% GRAS, natural chicory root extract with both prebiotic and low-calorie sweetening capabilities.
As a dietary fiber, Frutalose L85 is fermented in the colon by beneficial bacteria like bifido and lactobacilli that will generate health-promoting by-products such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFA can improve the digestive system, and help to boost calcium absorption and immune response.
As a sweetener, the liquid FOS has two distinct advantages. “First, it is five times sweeter than conventional native inulin powder,” says Lin. Most inulin powders are only 10% as sweet as table sugar, while Frutalose L85's sweetness is 50% the strength of sucrose. The ingredient has a low caloric value (1.9Kcal/g vs. sucrose: 4Kcal/g) and low glycemic index (20 vs. glucose: 100), besides offering health-promoting benefits as a prebiotic fiber. Secondly, since it is liquid, it is easier to handle and incorporate into formulations.
Frutalose L85 is composed of 85% inulin; the other 15% combines the low molecular weight sugars fructose, sucrose and glucose. Due to the presence of short-chain inulin and sugars, the prebiotic offers good humectancy and mouthfeel. It also enhances fruit flavor release, masks the off-taste of high-intensity sweeteners (HIS) and reduces the use level of the HIS--due to a sweetness synergy with them.
“The short-chain inulin of Frutalose L85 has a low molecular weight oligo-fructose that can provide sweetness to mask the off-taste of high-intensity sweeteners,” says Lin. “If you combine it with high-intensity sweeteners, you can use less of the high-intensity sweeter and increase the sweetening power.
“Less fruit and less fruit flavor will offer a cost advantage,” says Lin. “A lot of companies can reduce the cost of fruit flavor by using Frutalose L85.” In addition to exceptional flavor release, the ingredient provides a good mouthfeel and has synergies with other sweeteners.
The liquid fiber also can be used to replace sugar alcohol syrups, which are widely used in low-sugar and low-calorie applications. Water activity, solid contents and sweetness all are comparable to the sugar alcohol syrups. Most sugar alcohols are 40%-70% the sweetness of table sugar while Frutalose L85 is 50% as sweet. “We found the ingredient has the same physical chemical properties as maltitol syrup,” says Lin. “Not only does it perform similarly to sugar alcohols, but inulin won't cause the laxative effect associated with maltitol and some other sugar alcohols.”