FiberWorks®: A Soluble Tapioca Fiber for Enhanced Tolerability, Sugar Reduction, and Keto Compatibility in Food Formulations

The global demand for clean label functional ingredients has increased as consumers seek healthier and more sustainable food options. FiberWorks®, a soluble tapioca fiber available in powder and syrup forms, offers potential health benefits, sugar reduction, and compatibility with ketogenic diets. This paper discusses the properties, tolerability, and potential applications of FiberWorks® soluble tapioca fiber in various food formulations, and delves into the scientific principles and consumer trends driving the adoption of this innovative ingredient.

Introduction

The increasing awareness of health and wellness among consumers has led to a surge in demand for functional ingredients that not only provide nutritional benefits but also align with various dietary preferences and restrictions. Soluble fibers, in particular, have gained significant attention in the food industry due to their potential health benefits, compatibility with diverse food formulations, and adaptability to various processing conditions. FiberWorks® is a soluble tapioca fiber that can be used as a clean label functional ingredient in food applications. This paper aims to explore the tolerability, sugar reduction capabilities, and keto-friendly properties of FiberWorks®, and examine the scientific underpinnings and consumer trends shaping its development and adoption.

FiberWorks®: Properties and Production

Properties

FiberWorks® is a soluble dietary fiber derived from tapioca starch, which is obtained from the roots of the cassava plant. This fiber possesses several properties that make it an attractive ingredient in food formulations:

  • High solubility and low viscosity: FiberWorks® can be easily incorporated into various food products without affecting their texture or mouthfeel. Its solubility allows it to disperse evenly throughout the food matrix, while its low viscosity ensures that it does not contribute to a heavy or gummy texture. This is particularly advantageous in applications where maintaining a specific texture or consistency is crucial, such as in beverages, sauces, and dressings.
  • Stability: The fiber exhibits excellent stability under various processing conditions, such as high temperature, acidity, and freezing. This stability enables it to maintain its functional properties throughout the production process and during storage, which is essential for maintaining product quality and shelf life.
  • Neutral taste: FiberWorks® has a minimal impact on the flavor profile of the finished product, allowing for seamless integration into diverse food applications. This neutrality makes it an ideal choice for manufacturers looking to enhance the fiber content of their products without compromising on taste.

Production

FiberWorks® is produced through enzymatic hydrolysis of tapioca starch, followed by purification, concentration, and drying. The production process involves the following steps:

  • Extraction: Tapioca starch is extracted from the roots of the cassava plant through a combination of washing, peeling, and grinding. The resulting starch slurry is then separated from the fibrous residue and other impurities.
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis: The starch slurry is subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis using specific enzymes that break down the starch molecules into smaller, soluble oligosaccharides. This process is carefully controlled to ensure that the desired degree of hydrolysis is achieved and that the resulting fiber has the optimal molecular weight and functional properties.
  • Purification: The hydrolyzed starch is then purified using filtration and/or centrifugation to remove any remaining impurities and by-products of the hydrolysis process.
  • Concentration: The purified fiber solution is concentrated through evaporation or membrane filtration to achieve the desired solids content and viscosity.
  • Drying: Finally, the concentrated fiber solution is dried using spray drying, drum drying, or freeze-drying techniques to produce a fine, free-flowing powder

that can be easily incorporated into various food formulations. Alternatively, the concentrated fiber solution can also be utilized as a syrup, offering additional versatility in food applications.

Tolerability

One of the key advantages of FiberWorks® is its good gastrointestinal tolerability. Many soluble fibers are prone to fermentation by gut bacteria, leading to the production of gas and, consequently, gastrointestinal discomfort. In contrast, FiberWorks® is less fermentable, reducing the likelihood of gas production and minimizing the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort. This makes it an ideal ingredient for individuals with sensitive digestive systems or those following a low-FODMAP diet.

Furthermore, soluble fibers have been shown to promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which can contribute to improved gut health and overall well-being. FiberWorks®, with its low fermentability, still provides a substrate for the growth of beneficial bacteria without causing excessive gas production or gastrointestinal distress.

Sugar Reduction

As consumer awareness of the health risks associated with excessive sugar consumption continues to grow, the demand for sugar reduction solutions in food formulations has increased. FiberWorks® can be used as a sugar replacement in various food applications, allowing for significant sugar reduction without compromising taste or texture. The fiber has a low glycemic index, which can help minimize blood sugar spikes and contribute to better glycemic control. Additionally, FiberWorks® has a low caloric value, making it a suitable ingredient for reduced-calorie formulations.

The use of FiberWorks® in sugar reduction applications can also contribute to increased fiber intake, which has been associated with a range of health benefits, including improved digestive health, weight management, and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Keto-Friendly Applications

FiberWorks® is compatible with ketogenic diets due to its low net carbohydrate content (total carbohydrates minus fiber). The fiber can be used in keto-friendly formulations to provide structure, mouthfeel, and a source of dietary fiber, without contributing to the overall carbohydrate count. Examples of keto-friendly applications include:

  • Low-carb baked goods: FiberWorks® can be used to replace a portion of the traditional flours or sugars, maintaining the desired texture and mouthfeel. The fiber’s water-binding capacity and low viscosity make it particularly suitable for use in low-carb bread, cookies, and cakes, where it can help maintain a moist and tender crumb structure.
  • Nutritional bars: The fiber can be incorporated into low-carb, high-fat nutritional bars for added texture and improved satiety. FiberWorks® can help bind ingredients together, reducing the need for high-carbohydrate binding agents, while also contributing to a pleasant mouthfeel and improved digestibility.
  • Beverages: FiberWorks® can be used as a thickening agent in low-carb beverages, such as smoothies and protein shakes, without impacting the overall carbohydrate content. The fiber’s solubility and low viscosity ensure that it can be easily dispersed and integrated into liquid formulations without causing clumping or sedimentation.
  • Dairy alternatives: With the growing popularity of plant-based and dairy-free diets, FiberWorks® can be used to enhance the texture and mouthfeel of dairy alternative products, such as plant-based yogurts, ice creams, and cheese alternatives. The fiber can help improve the creaminess and stability of these products, while also contributing to their overall nutritional profile.

Conclusion

FiberWorks® is a versatile soluble tapioca fiber that offers a range of benefits in food formulations, including enhanced tolerability, sugar reduction, and compatibility with ketogenic diets. Its unique properties make it an ideal clean label functional ingredient for a wide range of applications, contributing to the development of healthier and more sustainable food options.

As consumer demand for health-conscious and environmentally friendly food products continues to grow, ingredients like FiberWorks® are well

positioned to play a pivotal role in the development of innovative and nutritious food formulations. The potential applications of FiberWorks® extend beyond those outlined in this paper, with opportunities for exploration in various sectors of the food industry, such as confectionery, frozen foods, and ready-to-eat meals.

Future research could focus on optimizing the use of FiberWorks® in different food applications, investigating its synergistic interactions with other functional ingredients, and exploring the potential benefits of combining FiberWorks® with other fibers or prebiotic compounds to promote gut health and overall well-being.

In conclusion, FiberWorks® represents a promising clean label functional ingredient that addresses key consumer trends and demands, such as improved tolerability, sugar reduction, and compatibility with specialized diets like the ketogenic diet. Its versatile nature, combined with its unique properties and health benefits, make it a valuable addition to the toolbox of food formulators seeking to create innovative, nutritious, and appealing products that cater to the evolving needs and preferences of today’s health-conscious consumers.

FiberWorks®: A Soluble Tapioca Fiber for Enhanced Tolerability, Sugar Reduction, and Keto Compatibility in Food Formulations

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