Polydextrose – sugar reduction in practice

If your mission is to cut calories, without affecting either creaminess or fullness, it is easy to become discouraged. But don’t worry, go with polydextrose! With polydextrose, you get fullness, fewer calories and the right mouthfeel. Sweetness, on the other hand, you have to find elsewhere.

12 June 2020 •

Sugar reduc­tion is excit­ing but com­plex work. In an arti­cle series, we will look at some ingre­di­ents that can be used to reduce sug­ar in food. How can the ingre­di­ents be used and what should be con­sid­ered? These are ques­tions we will answer! In this arti­cle, we take a clos­er look at poly­dex­trose.

What is polydextrose?

Polydextrose is a dietary fibre that doesn’t come from nature, although the raw mate­ri­als are natural.

During the 1960s, it became pop­u­lar with low-calo­rie prod­ucts and foods that were adapt­ed for peo­ple with dia­betes – but these prod­ucts were, unfor­tu­nate­ly, no taste sen­sa­tions. The mouth­feel was adverse­ly affect­ed although it was dif­fi­cult to pin­point the discomfort.

This would change. A research team at Pfizer elab­o­rat­ed with glu­cose, sor­bitol and cit­ric acid. The result was called poly­dex­trose. Glucose is the major com­po­nent of this coop­er­a­tive sup­ple­ment that has been shown to work well in sug­ar reductions.

Suddenly, the recipes could be fur­ther processed, giv­ing a whole new result. In the arti­cle Polydextrose – from seed to Eureba you can learn more about the his­to­ry of poly­dex­trose and its chem­i­cal composition.

Pure, neutral and dissolving

Polydextrose has many sim­i­lar­i­ties with reg­u­lar sug­ar: it dis­solves eas­i­ly, has a clear colour and sim­i­lar rhe­o­log­i­cal prop­er­ties regard­ing vis­cos­i­ty and shape. Therefore, it also resem­bles sug­ar in how the fin­ished prod­uct is perceived.

The taste is per­ceived as pure and neu­tral and it doesn’t mask or take over oth­er flavours. It’s suit­able for pro­bi­ot­ic or low-calo­rie foods and for foods with a low glycemic index.

Another advan­tage is that poly­dex­trose has excel­lent process sta­bil­i­ty. Polydextrose can with­stand heat and acidic envi­ron­ments with­out any prob­lems. Features that enable prod­ucts with long shelf life.

Supreme calorie reducer

Since our body can only par­tial­ly break down the fibres from poly­dex­trose, it has a clear­ly low­er calo­rie con­tent than sug­ar and fat. Polydextrose pro­vides only 25 per cent of reg­u­lar sug­ar calo­rie con­tent and only 11 per cent com­pared to fat. Therefore, you could reduce the calo­rie con­tent of a food by half using poly­dex­trose, with­out affect­ing either taste or mouth­feel.

No sweetness – full body

The right tex­ture can eas­i­ly dis­ap­pear when you sub­sti­tute sug­ar for some­thing else. With poly­dex­trose, you are able to devel­op prod­ucts that have a taste and con­sis­ten­cy com­pa­ra­ble to prod­ucts that actu­al­ly con­tain sug­ar. It’s a recur­ring fea­ture of many of the fibres includ­ed in our arti­cle series on sug­ar reduc­tion in prac­tice.

But the dif­fer­ent fibres behave in slight­ly dif­fer­ent ways and it’s impor­tant to find the right com­bi­na­tion and bal­ance to get a sat­is­fac­to­ry result and a prod­uct that you or your com­pa­ny feel pleased with.

With poly­dex­trose, you get an ingre­di­ent that can par­tial­ly or com­plete­ly replace sug­ar, fat or starch in dif­fer­ent com­po­si­tions. Polydextrose has in most cas­es no amount lim­it. But don’t use more than necessary.

A good partner

Polydextrose can be used and paired with most foods and ingre­di­ents. You can use it in var­i­ous appli­ca­tions, such as pas­tries, drinks, choco­lates, sweets, dairy prod­ucts, pow­er bars and more. It has to do with its amaz­ing sta­bil­i­ty which makes it use­ful in many dif­fer­ent foods.

What does the expert think?

What has Srdjan Solaja, food engi­neer at Bayn, to say about polydextrose?

– It’s a sol­u­ble fibre that is very easy to use. It adds no colour and has no strange taste. Because it is so sol­u­ble, you can real­ly get plen­ty of fibre in food with­out get­ting a grainy or dry tex­ture in the food, says Srdjan Solaja.

What to be aware of when working with polydextrose?

– Since poly­dex­trose is a fibre that pro­vides full­ness and body – but no sweet­ness, it’s not a good idea to replace all of the sug­ar at once using poly­dex­trose. Such food will not taste good and will not hold togeth­er in a sen­si­ble way, says Srdjan Solaja.

– The first trick is to not remove all sug­ar. Just replace a small part with poly­dex­trose, and next time you can swap out a bit more and see what hap­pens. You can also add a high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­er, for exam­ple, ste­via to enhance the sweet taste, says Srdjan Solaja, food engi­neer at Bayn.

Srdjan’s three tips

Here are Srdjan’s three tips for you who are curi­ous about polydextrose:

  1. Polydextrose is incred­i­bly sta­ble dur­ing var­i­ous process­es, it can with­stand both heat and acidic envi­ron­ments, mak­ing it easy to use.
  2. It is advan­ta­geous­ly com­bined with high-inten­si­ty sweeteners.
  3. Perfect sol­u­bil­i­ty which makes it suit­able for a vari­ety of applications.

A helping hand

If you want help reduc­ing sug­ar in your prod­uct we can help you. Do not hes­i­tate to con­tact us.

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