Can you guess, how many Fibre-rich products would there be in the future of Indian Food Industry?

Posted by Nikhil Kapoor on

When you compare the recipes of Indian diet with American ones, what do you notice?  You appreciate that Indian food is healthy, not sugary and not junk.  Yet, we are the diabetic capital of the world with 7 crore diabetics and 20 crore pre-diabetics.  We know that 2.5 crore Indian die of heart attack every year and that we have maximum number of thyroid patients (10 crore).  Do you also realize that we used to consume good millets just few decades back and have now stopped it? Thanks to wheat and rice, carbohydrates form a major 70% in our diets and our recipes are generally deficient in protein and fibre.

Now, look at healthy foods, don’t they all taste horrible?  We have this complain about almost all health foods from amaranth to spirulina to seeds to millets.  Compounding up the problem, as adults we do not add supplements to our milk and most of us even stop consuming milk. Then, when you list down the snacks that we consume, namely pani-puri, samosa, mirchi bhajji, bonda, etc. we realize that almost all Indian recipes are fried.  Further, though we accept that maida is bad because it is refined version of wheat; we are afraid of saying the same for white rice that is refined version of brown rice.

Concerned about these facts and its effect on your health, you would either resort to a nutritionist or to a dietician, right?  These healthcare professionals would then prescribe a diet rich in protein and fibres; move you to non-fried snacks and granola bars, and recommend some protein shakes, high fibre diet and herbal refreshment drinks.

This is the time when you start reading and learning that fibres are the roughages in your food that cannot be digested.  They simply pass intact through your small intestine and colon and out of your body.  The soluble fibres dissolve in water and form a gel-like substance to help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  Whereas the insoluble fibres do not dissolve in water and increase bulk of the stool by promoting movement in the digestive system.  Many scholarly articles can be found about the benefits of dietary fibres, specifically on weight loss, reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, gallstones, kidney stones, and boost immunity, strengthen bones, skin health, etc. Functions and benefits of dietary fibre on human health is presented in Table 1.

However, to understand the behaviour of fibre in food and during gut transit, we need to understand its hydration properties.  While swelling and water retention capacities provide useful information for fibre supplemented foods, it is the process like grinding, drying, heating or extrusion cooking that modify these physical properties.  On the other hand, particle size of fibre may vary during transit in the digestive tract because of chewing, grinding and bacterial degradation in large intestine.  Porosity and available surface area, which depends on architecture of fibre, its origin and processing history also plays an important role in adsorption and binding among the molecules. Classification of dietary fibre components is presented in Table 2.

Given these benefits, you now understand and need to source it for your new product development, the good news is that dietary fibres are naturally present in all cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts.  If you design a fibre-rich diet for your customers, it should be lower in energy density and lower fat content           . Make it larger in volume and rich in micronutrients.  Because of this larger mass, the food will take longer time to eat and when it reaches stomach, will bring satiety sooner.  It is suggested that healthy adults should eat between 20-35 g of fibre each day (Dhingra, et al., 2012). Dietary fibre content of various foods is presented in Table 3.

So, are you now thinking that Dietary fibres is a novelty and why has the food industry not yet taken note of this marvel ingredient?  Well, that is not the case.  If you look at the market reports of “Global Dietary Fibres”, you would realize that companies like Cargill, Dupont, CFF, Archer Daniels, Sudzucker, Tate & Lyle, Ingredion, Sunopta, and Roquette Freres are the fore runners towards this industry trend.  They have developed a range of dietary fibres for application in functional foods & beverages, animal feed, pet food and pharmaceuticals.  These companies are not limited geographically and market their products in North America, Europe, China, Japan, India, South East Asia and other regions too.

These commercially available functional dietary fibre concentrates have now emerged as an alternate to traditional hydrocolloid gelling agent and thickeners and traditional food fibres in your recipe.  Though each hydrocolloid behaves differently under different processing and formulation conditions like pH and temperature – technical support teams of the promoting dietary fibre company can help you at each stage of product development.  These dietary fibres are technically successful and used by food industry for reducing sugar, reducing fat as well as other expensive ingredients in their recipe.  Details of application-wise technical benefits of dietary fibres of SANACEL® brand is presented in Table 4.

So why would we, the food technologists and product development experts in India be slow in adapting to this futuristic trend?  Not at all, we know that diets with high dietary fibres have positive effect on health; and that incorporation of fibres can change the consistency, texture, rheological behaviour and sensory attributes of the food product.  It should be our endeavour to now develop fibre enriched products at economical costs.

Summing it up and having read this paper, you now realize that a healthy and nutritious diet is critical for every Indian consumer and as responsible food technologists, we should be sensitive about this fact.  It becomes a call of our duty that the products we now develop for the future, should be so designed with natural ingredients, health nutrients and dietary fibres.  A good balance of these inputs is sure to lead our society toward a better health.  Should you feel interested in additional information and technical support, the author would be glad to write you back.

 

Disclaimer: The author of this article is the founding director in Blue Ingredients Private Limited, is in business association with CFF GmbH & Co. KG and markets SANACEL® brand dietary fibre concentrates in India.

Bibliography

Dhingra, D., Michael, M., Rajput, H. & Patil, R. T., 2012. Dietary fibre in foods: a review.. Journal of food science and technology, pp. 255-266.

Farhath Khanum , M. et al., 2000. Dietary fiber content of commonly fresh and cooked vegetables consumed in India. Plant Foods Hum Nutr., 55(3), p. 207–218.

Schakel , S., Pettit , J. & Himes , J., 2001. Dietary fiber values for common foods.. In: G. Spiller, ed. The CRC handbook of dietary fiber in human nutrition. London: CRC.

 

 


 

Table 1: Functions and benefits of dietary fibre on human health

Functions

Benefits

Adds bulk to the diet, making feel full faster

May reduce appetite

Attracts water and turns to gel during digestion, trapping carbohydrates and slowing absorption of glucose

Lowers variance in blood sugar levels

Lowers total and LDL cholesterol

Reduces risk of heart disease

Regulates blood pressure

May reduce onset risk or symptoms of metabolic syndrome and diabetes

Speeds the passage of foods through the digestive system

Facilitates regularity

Adds bulk to stool

Alleviates constipation

Balances intestinal pH and stimulates intestinal fermentation production of short-chain fatty acids

May reduce risk of colorectal cancers

(Dhingra, et al., 2012)

 


 

Table 2: Classification of dietary fibre components based on water solubility/fermentability

Characteristic

Fibre component

Description

Main food sources

Water insoluble/Less fermented

Cellulose

Main structural component of plant cell wall. Insoluble in concentrated alkali, soluble in concentrated acid.

Plants (vegetables, sugar beet, various brans)

Hemicellulose

Cell wall polysaccharides, which contain backbone of β-1,4 glucosidic linkages. Soluble in dilute alkali.

Cereal grains

Lignin

Non-carbohydrate cell wall component. Complex cross-linked phenyl propane polymer. Resists bacterial degradation.

Woody plants

Water soluble/Well fermented

Pectin

Components of primary cell wall with D-galacturonic acid as principal components. Generally, water soluble and gel forming

Fruits, vegetables, legumes, sugar beet, potato

Gums

Secreted at site of plant injury by specialized secretary cells. Food and pharmaceutical use.

Leguminous seed plants (guar, locust bean), seaweed extracts (carrageenan, alginates), microbial gums (xanthan, gellan)

Mucilages

Synthesized by plant, prevent desiccation of seed endosperm. Food industry use, hydrophilic, stabilizer.

Plant extracts (gum acacia, gum karaya, gum tragacanth)

 (Dhingra, et al., 2012)

Table 3: Dietary fibre content of various food sources

Source

Dietary fibre (g/100 g edible portion)

Total

Insoluble

Soluble

Grains

 Barley

17.3

 Corn

13.4

 Oats

10.3

6.5

3.8

 Rice (dry)

1.3

1

0.3

 Rice (cooked)

0.7

0.7

0

 Wheat (whole grain)

12.6

10.2

2.3

 Wheat germ

14

12.9

1.1

Legumes & pulses

 Green beans

1.9

1.4

0.5

 Soy

15

 Peas, green frozen

3.5

3.2

0.3

 Kidney beans, canned

6.3

4.7

1.6

 Lentils, raw

11.4

10.3

1.1

 Lima beans, canned

4.2

3.8

0.4

 White beans, raw

17.7

13.4

4.3

Vegetables

 Potato, no skin

1.3

1

0.3

 Bitter gourd

16.6

13.5

3.1

 Beetroot

7.8

5.4

2.4

 Fenugreek leaves

4.9

4.2

0.7

 Ladyfinger

4.3

3

1.3

 Spinach, raw

2.6

2.1

0.5

 Turnips

2

1.5

0.5

 Tomato, raw

1.2

0.8

0.4

 Green onions, raw

2.2

2.2

0

 Eggplant

6.6

5.3

1.3

 Cucumbers, peeled

0.6

0.5

0.1

 Cauliflower, raw

1.8

1.1

0.7

 Celery, raw

1.5

1

0.5

 Carrot, raw

2.5

2.3

0.2

 Broccoli, raw

3.29

3

0.29

Fruits

 Apple, unpeeled

2

1.8

0.2

 Kiwi

3.39

2.61

0.8

 Mango

1.8

1.06

0.74

 Pineapple

1.2

1.1

0.1

 Pomegranate

0.6

0.49

0.11

 Watermelon

0.5

0.3

0.2

 Grapes

1.2

0.7

0.5

 Oranges

1.8

0.7

1.1

 Plums

1.6

0.7

0.9

 Strawberry

2.2

1.3

0.9

 Bananas

1.7

1.2

0.5

 Peach

1.9

1

0.9

 Pear

3

2

1

Nuts and seeds

 Almonds

11.2

10.1

1.1

 Coconut, raw

9

8.5

0.5

 Peanut, dry roasted

8

7.5

0.5

 Cashew, oil roasted

6

 Seasame seed

7.79

5.89

1.9

 Flaxseed

22.33

10.15

12.18

 (Farhath Khanum , et al., 2000) (Schakel , et al., 2001)


 

Table 4: Application-wise benefit of dietary fibres

Application

Technological Benefits

Suitable Fibre type (SANACEL® brand)

Bread & Bakery Products

·         extended fresh keeping

·         increased processability

·         higher dough yield

·         increased freeze-thaw stability

·         stabilization of products with interrupted fermentation process

·         replacement of more expensive oils/fat or food additives

·         reduced breaking and abrasion of shortbread, wafers and biscuits

·         Wheat

·         Oat

·         Apple

·         Potato

·         Barley with betaG

·         Fibre Blends

Fillings in Savoury & Bakery Products

·         simplified production management

·         high water binding capacity

·         prevention of syneresis

·         improved texture

·         better adhesion between filling and dough

·         high freezing and thaw stability

·         heat and baking stability

·         Wheat

·         Oat

·         Cellulose

·         Potato

·         Fibre Blends

Convenience & Fine Foods

·         high water and oil binding capacity

·         prevention of syneresis

·         positive influence on texture and viscosity

·         increased freeze-thaw stability

·         Wheat

·         Oat

·         Apple

·         Potato

·         Fibre Blends

Spices & Powdered Foods

·         long lasting anti caking effect

·         improved flowability

·         declared without e number

·         lower dust content

·         Cellulose

·         Wheat

·         Oat

·         Bamboo

Frozen Desserts & Ice-creams

·         high water binding capacity

·         increased viscosity of mixture

·         decreased growth of ice crystal

·         stable during storage

·         Fibre Blends

·         Wheat

·         Oat

Extrudates

·         improved moisture binding

·         homogenisation of fat-containing and hygroscopic products

·         equal pores

·         increased breaking stability

·         extrudate remains crispy

·         aroma-intensification

·         easy dosing with screw conveyor

·         Barley with betaG

·         Apple

·         Cellulose

·         Wheat

·         Oat

·         Bamboo

Soups, Sauces & Drinks

·         improved consistency and texture

·         e number free thickener

·         reduction of syneresis

·         Wheat

·         Oat

·         Apple

·         Potato

·         Fibre Blend

·         Cellulose

·         Barley with betaG

 

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