After years of being passed over for fly-by-night diets and fad health solutions, whole grain food formulas may finally receive their spot in the limelight. According to the Wheat Foods Council (Parker, Colo.), recommendations were given by the American Heart Association (Dallas) in its “Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Healthy People 2010,” which advises consumers to ingest at least six servings of whole grains a day. In reality, the average consumer eats less than one serving.

Whole grains can demonstrate characteristics that do not permit them to exhibit full functionality in popular food applications. Products formulated with whole grains often have strong flavor connotations and appear darker than their more refined counterparts. However, including resistant starches and wheat proteins in these food formulas can increase the appeal of these foods to consumers.

“Very smooth texture, white color, clean flavor and low water holding capabilities all play a role in deciding which Fibersym[tm] fiber to add into foods,” explains Steve Ham, director of marketing for specialty ingredients at MGP Ingredients (Atchison, Kan.). The company's line of resistant starches, marketed under the Fibersym brand, overcomes hurdles related to enhancing fiber content and reducing calories in foods, without altering the taste or flavor of the finished product. These same physical properties also provide benefits to whole grain foods.

“We want to make sure the added ingredient is compatible with the original recipe or formula,” says Ody Maningat, vice president of application technology and technical services at MGPI.

This goal is achieved by matching the prevailing ingredients in the finished product. For instance, instead of using oat bran or wheat bran to increase the fiber content in mashed potatoes, Fibersym 80 ST, a potato-based resistant starch, would be a natural substitution. “Fibersym 80 ST has the same starch size and shape as the starch in potato flake and, therefore, it easily blends in or incorporates into the mashed potato recipe,” expounds Maningat.

Likewise, Fibersym 70, a wheat-based resistant starch, would be more applicable to wheat-based products like cakes, muffins and cookies. Fibersym 70 can enhance the fiber content and impart the same taste and texture that is expected in finished baked products. In addition, MGPI partnered with Cargill (Minneapolis) to produce Fibersym HA, made from high-amylose corn starch. Products that are traditionally corn-based, such as corn tortillas, will have extended nutritional dimensions with Fibersym HA.

The Fibersym line also acts as a prebiotic and enhances the growth of gut-friendly microorganisms, which produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid identified to control the risk of colon cancer.

The Arise® line of wheat protein isolates is another strategic tool to overcome difficulties in using whole grains in food formulations. Wheat proteins are a common addition to add strength and maintain volume in a baked product. Baked multigrain products containing bran and germ need additional strength to add volume. “A standard vital wheat gluten, used at high levels, would tend to produce tougher dough that is not pliable,” says Ham. Arise provides extensibility to help develop improved texture and crumb improvement in dough and batter-based products. “In whole grain tortillas or pizza crust formulas, the addition of Arise is able to improve the machinability of the crust--without impacting negatively the sensory attributes,” says Maningat.

Since Arise can partially replace egg whites without affecting finished product quality, manufacturers may expect cost incentives. Additionally, Arise increases the firmness and reduces the stickiness of pasta and noodles. It has no off-flavors and can increase product whiteness.

For more information: MGP Ingredients, Steve Ham, 913-367-1480,, a href="">