Consumption of dietary fiber may assist in reduced risk of certain cancers, particularly of the digestive tract, as well as reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This may be partly due to the slowing effect of higher-fiber foods on the rate of stomach emptying. As a result, sugar absorption is slowed after a meal, when there is a decreased glucose spike in the blood, thereby possibly reducing insulin requirements. Fiber also reduces the absorption of calories from fat, as well as cholesterol. Dietary fiber additionally helps reduce constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.

During a project that looked at byproduct utilization from primary agricultural cereal processing, the USDA developed an interesting fiber ingredient. The proprietary fiber is called Z Trim and is a non-caloric cereal and legume that is also shear-thinning. Z Trim is a “solubilized” insoluble fiber and fat replacer made from agricultural byproducts (such as hulls) or bran from corn, oat, rice, wheat, soybean and peas. “We use non-wheat cereal bran in order to produce and market allergen-free product,” states Trevini Shukla, Ph.D., executive vice president, technology and marketing, Z Trim Holdings. “All minor ingredients are allergen-free,” he adds.    

Z Trim is comprised of hemicellulose and amorphous cellulose, without the lignin that is present in the raw materials. Although it has the key functional characteristics of soluble fiber, the amorphous cellulose retains the characteristic of indigestibility in the colon, because it can be analyzed as crude fiber by conventional methods. Therefore, Z Trim provides the benefits of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 

An easy-flowing, light powder, Z Trim can be instantly rehydrated to a high-viscosity, smooth slurry—without the common dispersion problem. It can be used to replace fat or glycemic materials, such as native and modified starches, flours, sugars or maltodextrin. Approximately 1g of Z Trim can replace 10g of fat in most foods and can be formulated into various foods, in order to increase fiber content to meet the recommended daily fiber intake.

In the food industry, Z Trim is being blended with gums, oils and starches for textural and nutritional benefits, while at the same time, reducing cost and cleaning up the label. Z Trim is currently being sourced from corn, and in this case, would be labeled as either “corn bran fiber” or “corn fiber.”

Depending on the application, a little can go a long way. Rehydrated to a gel or slurry, Z Trim use levels range from 0.1-12% solids to water to replace portions of fat or increase viscosity, improve yield or increase fiber. Z Trim’s water-holding capacity in finished foods ranges from 10-25g water/per gram of Z Trim solids, depending on the desired viscosity. In the lower-viscosity range, Z Trim integrates well into dressings, sauces, ice cream and custards. In the higher-viscosity range, the gel not only replaces portions of fat, but also lends a significant fiber and textural boost to baked goods, cream cheese and meat emulsions.

Z Trim modulates taste and flavor and adds texture and fiber, without adding calories. It contributes to agglomeration, hydration, encapsulation and water management, freeze/thaw stability, pH stability and texture control and can be used in a wide variety of foods.  

—Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor

For more information:
Z Trim Holdings Inc. • Mundelein, Ill.
Phil Versten • 877-699-8746 •