ARS researchers create high fiber fat replacer

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have
created a fat replacement additive rich in soluble fiber,
beta-glucan, to tap into the low-fat food market.

The market for fat-replacers continues to grow as consumers seek out 'low-fat' foods. According to the Food Marketing Institute, 46 per cent of consumers say that fat is their main nutritional concern.

The additive, called C-Trim, contains between 2.5 and 3.5 calories per gram, compared to four per gram for carbohydrates like starch, and nine calories per gram for fat. The beta-glucan content is also reported to be between five to ten times that of rolled oats, oat flour, and oatmeal.

Beta-glucan is said to play a role in blood sugar control, and could lower LDL-(bad) cholesterol , which has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by a variety of experimental, genetic and epidemiological studies.

"C-Trim fights the calorie load because of the texture it induces, which allows the food manufacturer to considerably decrease carbs or fats - or both,"​ said ARS scientitist and C-Trim creator George Inglett in the March issue of the ARS magazine, Agricultural Research​.

The additive, formulated as a white, odorless, and virtually tasteless powder "can be added to all classes of food products, including yogurt, smoothies, and baked goods,"​ said Inglett.

The scientists, based at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, in Peoria, Illinois, have already used C-Trim in a range of food products, including cookies, peanut butter and yoghurt.

For the cookies, ARS food technologist Kathleen Warner, found that between five and ten per cent C-Trim produced the best results. At higher concentrations, particularly around 30 per cent, the cookies were difficult to chew due to hardness.

In peanut butter spreads, a satisfactory product can be formulated with as much as 15 per cent C-Trim, producing a product with significant calorific savings.

The additive has also been used in yogurt, where the beta-glucan was not found to interfere with the fermentation process by the cultures.

The food technologist responsible for this area of research, Mutki Sigh, said: "We'll look at how active these cultures are. We'll also do taste tests."

A patent application (11/020,349) has been made and the additive has been licensed to Illinois-based Futureceuticals.

Related topics: R&D, Health and nutritional ingredients

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