The food industry and the government are both under fire for the fattening of America. Some groups are laying the obesity epidemic and the potential for chronic health issues at the feet of the food processing and fast food industries. There are others who feel that the industry should move towards producing foods with lower sodium, less fat and fewer calories as part of a commitment to reducing this problem.
Matsutani America Inc. (Decatur, Ill.) has developed a product to meet these formulation and reformulation demands. Fibersol-2â„¢ digestion resistant maltodextrin is a 90% water-soluble dietary fiber that provides the benefits of high water soluble dietary fiber, and also can be easily formulated into a wide range of foods, without affecting the sensory attributes of the finished product.
Matsutani produces Fibersol-2 using a proprietary process that results in the re-arrangement of cornstarch with normal alpha-1,4-glucose linkages to a product that has randomized alpha and beta 1,2-, 1,3- and 1,4- linkages. The human body has the ability to effectively metabolize only the alpha-1,4- linkages, so a significant portion of Fibersol-2 (over 90% on a dry weight basis) is unavailable and, therefore, indigestible. Thus the ingredient is perfect for reduced-sugar, â€œlow-net carb,â€? and/or fiber-enhanced foods.
Besides maintaining healthful intestinal function, the ingredient helps maintain healthful blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These all have secondary effects on managing fat deposition in the body. Most importantly, Fibersol-2 has been found to have an ultra-low glycemic index (GI) of less than 5 (glucose is standardized with a GI of 100; most low-GI foods have GI values of 50-60).
Matsutani has conducted in-house studies that demonstrate how effective Fibersol-2 is in retorted or heat-processed products. The product is soluble in water at up to 70% (w/w), disperses readily, and has very little effect on finished product viscosities, making it applicable for use in dry drink mixes and fluid beverages of all types. Further, the manufacturer also suggests it can be used in other applications such as dairy foods, baked foods, sauces, dressings and puddings.
Fibersol-2's performance is unaffected by acid, which expands its applications to juice products and acidified foods. Characteristics that further enhance its food use are its ability to bind and release water easily, enhancing the perception of moistness in low- or intermediate-moisture foods. In addition, the ingredient's ability to positively modify perceived sweetness and aftertaste of various high-intensity sweeteners adds to its utility in low-sugar, sugar-free foods and â€œlow-carbâ€? formulations. Fibersol-2's stability to freeze-thaw abuse allows for its use in a variety of frozen foods. Also, Fibersol-2's resistance to non-enzymatic Maillard-type browning adds utility in foods where browning is undesirable. The product is available as a domestically produced, free-flowing, readily dispersible, spray-dried powder, and has GRAS status. It is certified as both kosher and pareve.