Sweetened fibres – the sweet journey (part 6 of 6)

This is the sixth and last article on our sweet journey from sugar to sweetened fibres. In this chapter we will learn how dietary fibres together with high intensive sweet substances from natural sources can replace sugar 1:1 without altering the manufacturing process.

15 October 2019 •

In five arti­cles we have looked at sug­ars, sug­ar alco­hols and oth­er bulk sweet­en­ers, as well as arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers and high inten­sive sweet sub­stances from nat­ur­al sources. We have realised that the prob­lem that we want to solve is the high ener­gy con­tent of sug­ar, and the high gly­caemic index rel­a­tive to its sweet­ness, and that the solu­tion is a high inten­sive sweet sub­stance from a source that feels just as nat­ur­al as that of reg­u­lar sug­ar. But one chal­lenge remains.

The challenge

If we replace one kilo of sug­ar with three grams of ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides – which are extract­ed from ste­via in much the same way that sug­ar is extract­ed from sug­ar beets – then we have to replace the oth­er 997 grams with some­thing else.

This ”some­thing else” should first and fore­most fill the sug­ar space – give bulk. But it must also give the right mouth­feel. And it may need to com­pen­sate for ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides slight­ly bit­ter taste and licorice-like after­taste. In addi­tion, it should be able to be used in man­u­fac­tur­ing with­out any spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions or changes in the man­u­fac­tur­ing process. Right?

Exactly what this ”some­thing else” is depends on the appli­ca­tion. It is rarely just one ingre­di­ent, but sev­er­al. Which and in what pro­por­tions must be care­ful­ly adapt­ed to the appli­ca­tion. It requires exper­tise and equip­ment that many pro­duc­ers lack, and it takes a long time and costs a lot of money.

One solution for many recipes

Even if all recipes, or for­mu­la­tions, are dif­fer­ent, there are great sim­i­lar­i­ties in how sug­ar is used in many appli­ca­tion areas.

For exam­ple, sug­ar is used to sweet­en ice cream, but it is also used to give the ice cream its tex­ture and soft­ness mak­ing it pos­si­ble to scoop up. This is true for almost all ice cream (edi­ble ices being the excep­tion), even if each kind of ice cream has its unique recipe. The same goes for bread, bak­ery prod­ucts, choco­late, jel­lies, sauces, soups etc.

You can devel­op one or a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent solu­tions for each appli­ca­tion area and then use it in each recipe, instead of sug­ar. It may still take some adjust­ment for each recipe, but it’s not at all as cost­ly and time con­sum­ing as doing it from scratch.

So what does a solu­tion like this look like?

Replacing the bulk of sugar

One of the biggest prob­lems with replac­ing sug­ar with a high inten­sive sweet sub­stance from a nat­ur­al source is that the bulk­ing dis­ap­pears. The high inten­sive sweet sub­stance doesn’t fill it out like sug­ar does.

You can use malti­tol to fill the void left by sug­ar. But this won’t gain you much. Maltitol has half of sugar’s calo­ries and more than half of sugar’s GI. This is not good.

You can also use ery­thri­tol, which has zero kcal and GI. Erythritol feels like sug­ar in your mouth, or would do, if it wasn’t for its cool­ing effect which occurs when it comes into con­tact with saliva.

Both malti­tol and ery­thri­tol is, like all sug­ar alco­hols, less pleas­ant to con­sume in larg­er amounts. They bind liq­uid in the large intes­tine, which can lead to diar­rhoea. This is why prod­ucts con­tain­ing more than 10% of sug­ar alco­hols must car­ry the warn­ing that exces­sive con­sump­tion may have a lax­a­tive effect.

Two oth­er pop­u­lar, but equal­ly poor, solu­tions are mal­todex­trine and polydextrose.

Maltodextrin con­tains the same num­ber of calo­ries as reg­u­lar sug­ar and has a GI between 120 and 150 – far above reg­u­lar sugar.

Polydextrose has calo­ries and GI com­pa­ra­ble to sug­ar alco­hols. Unfortunately, it is also not the only qual­i­ties it shares with sug­ar alco­hols – both are lax­a­tive as well.

Fibre enriched

Dietary fibres are a bet­ter solu­tion to fill­ing the void left by sug­ar. This is pos­i­tive in two respects for con­sumers: they per­ceive it as both nat­ur­al and healthy. From a food tech­nol­o­gy per­spec­tive fibres also con­tribute with oth­er good qualities.

A sweet cocktail

Often it is not enough to replace the bulk of sug­ar with dietary fibres, and its sweet­ness with a high inten­sive sweet­en­er of nat­ur­al ori­gin. To get the taste and tex­ture you require you might need a small amount of sug­ar alco­hols, mal­todex­trine or polydextrose.

But in dif­fer­ence to using these for bulk­ing pur­pos­es, the quan­ti­ties need­ed are small and far from any that may cause diges­tive issues.

Is the solu­tion then to use dietary fibres, a high inten­sive sweet­en­er from nat­ur­al ori­gin, and pos­si­bly a lit­tle of some­thing else..?

Not quite.

The ideal solution

Anybody who has tried to replace sug­ar with dietary fibres and sweet­en­ers of var­i­ous kinds can tes­ti­fy that this is not as sim­ple as you might think. There are three issues to be addressed.

First of all, you need the ”right” dietary fibre. You need to find a fibre that has the right qual­i­ties suit­able for the appli­ca­tion in which it is to be used. But equal­ly impor­tant is that you have to choose a fibre that can be pur­chased in high enough quan­ti­ties and at an accept­able price. Not an easy equa­tion to solve.

Then you need the right sweet­en­er. Of course it should be of nat­ur­al ori­gin and not add more calo­ries or raise the GI more than absolute­ly nec­es­sary. The solu­tion is nor­mal­ly some kind of ste­vi­ol gly­co­side, e.g. Reb A or Reb M, in com­bi­na­tion with a small amount of sug­ar alco­hol, mal­todex­trine and poly­dex­trose. Sometimes you might add some nat­ur­al flavour­ing too.

Finally, you need to make sure it all actu­al­ly replaces sug­ar. The end prod­uct must replace sug­ar one-to-one in recipes. It needs to be stor­able, trans­portable and pos­si­ble to han­dle with­out it shift­ing into lay­ers. And it must be pos­si­ble to use in pro­duc­tion with­out hav­ing to alter the recipe or the pro­duc­tion process. To make this come togeth­er may the hard­est part of all.

Sweetened fibres

The ide­al solu­tion to the prob­lem to replace sug­ar in an appli­ca­tion area is thus

  1. find the right fibre,
  2. find the right mix of high inten­sive sweet­en­ers of nat­ur­al ori­gin and a small amount of sug­ar alco­hol, mal­todex­trine and/​or poly­dex­trose, and
  3. cre­ate a homoge­nous solu­tion that replaces sug­ar one-to-one in both the recipe and pro­duc­tion process.

We call this solu­tion sweet­ened fibres.

And now?

Finally! We have come to the end of our jour­ney. We start­ed with reg­u­lar sug­ar and the prob­lem that caus­es. The jour­ney then took us on past oth­er sug­ar types, sug­ar alco­hols, oth­er bulk sweet­en­ers, arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers, and high inten­sive sweet­en­ers of nat­ur­al ori­gin before we final­ly arrived at the best solu­tion: sweet­ened fibres.

It has been a pleas­ant jour­ney. And we hope that you have found some gems of knowl­edge to take home.

If you think sweet­ened fibres sounds like some­thing that would suit you and your busi­ness, maybe you would like to try it even, you are more than wel­come to get in touch. We will answer your ques­tions to the best of our abil­i­ty, and if you want to try sweet­ened fibres in your recipes we will help you with this too. Send us an e‑mail at info@​baynsolutions.​com or give us a call on +46 8 613 28 88.

We are look­ing for­ward to hear­ing from you!

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