Modern society is challenged by increasing health costs and waistlines. In response, the food industry is working hard to develop products that will help consumers re-establish a balanced diet that not only meets their nutritional requirements, but also fits with their lifestyle.

A large amount of research shows that dietary fiber has a positive impact on health. For example, it is now believed that swelling of fiber helps ensure a prolonged feeling of satiety and increased stool weight, which has a positive aspect on the enteral pressure and the enteral passage time of food. The increase in viscosity of the food mass slows the digestion of macromolecules, such as starch, and, therefore, the resorption of these nutrients. This leads to a slower increase of the blood glucose level, which is important for satiety and appetite control, notes the ingredient vendor Herbstreith & Fox Inc.

Dietary fiber is not a homogenous group with defined properties. The plant source, specific plant tissue and manufacturing process influence the properties of dietary fiber. Traditional dietary fibers from wheat and oat have a reputation of being grainy and, therefore, influencing appearance and taste, which can limit their applications, says the company. Now, Herbstreith & Fox Inc. is offering an alternative product in the form of Herbacel AQ-Plus Citrus Fiber.

Dietary fibers from fruit and vegetables have a different composition than those from grains. For example, they often have an increased soluble fiber content, and the structure of insoluble fiber allows for natural water binding, which also offers technological advantages. Dietary fibers made from citrus fruits have a very high, natural water-binding capacity, and their structure is very smooth, leading to neutral appearance and taste. The use of Herbacel AQ-Plus Citrus Fiber enables the reduction of the fat and calorie content in numerous food products, without compromising textural properties or taste, says the supplier. These advantages offer an additional incentive to use dietary fiber in products in which dietary fiber is not a traditional ingredient.

Advantages in Applications
For example, when used in combination with lean meat, the texture-providing properties of Herbacel AQ-Plus Citrus Fiber allows for fat to be reduced down to 10% levels in sausages. With the substitution of fat by the fiber along with water, it is possible to produce succulent products. With the addition of inulin, it is possible to create products in which the dietary fiber content can be claimed, if allowed by regulations. The functionality of the fiber can also be used in lunch meat, especially in salt-reduced products, where the citrus fiber emphasizes the natural meat structure, since its functionality is not based on gelation.

Spreads like margarine, salad cream and dressings traditionally have a high fat content. Low-fat products have been selling well, but consumers often notice the difference in texture and taste. To achieve products with properties more similar to traditional formulations, manufacturers often must compromise on efforts to create a cleanly labeled product. Herbacel AQ-Plus Citrus Fiber is an economical and technologically suitable alternative to many currently used ingredients. It provides the basis for the development of “all-natural” products.

Fat also is important to cake recipes. Besides contributing to flavor and taste, fat has an important technological role in the production of cakes and brownies. Due to its high and stable water-binding properties, Herbacel AQ-Plus Citrus Fiber allows the reduction of fat in cake slices, brownies or muffins, without getting a dry and crumbly texture. Fat-reduced dairy products, like cream cheese or ice cream, also benefit, as Herbacel AQ-Plus Citrus Fiber will give mouthfeel and viscosity. 

For more information:
Herbstreith & Fox Inc. • Elmsford, N.Y.
Frank Mattes • 914-345-9501