One kilogram of sweetened fibres replaces one kilogram of sugar in recipes without the need to change the manufacturing process. They give the same taste and mouthfeel as sugar, but significantly less calories and lower GI. Some of them have close to 0 kcal and 0 GI. But what exactly are sweetened fibres? And why are they needed? You can find the answers here.
All food and beverage producers know that they should reduce the use of sugar in their products. Partly because the pressure on sugar reduction is increasing from legislators and authorities. And partly to assert themselves in the competition when more and more healthy alternatives emerge. Food and beverage producers who do not keep up are at risk of being knocked out by sugar tax and consumers who abandon them for adequate but less sugary alternatives. But, as you know, it’s not just reducing the amount of added sugar. Consumers demand that the good taste and the usual texture are preserved. It is a seemingly impossible equation. But there is one solution: Sweetened fibres.
What are sweetened fibres?
Let’s start with what sweetened fibres are not . They are not fibres that have a certain sweetness in themselves. And they are not a simple blend of fibres and sweetener.
Sweetened fibres is a homogeneous composition of dietary fibres, high-intensity sweetener and in some cases other ingredients. They can be used as a one-to-one substitute for sugar, glucose syrup or other sweeteners without obvious effects on taste, mouthfeel and texture. And they can be transported, stored, handled and used as regular sugar without any change to procedures or processes.
Sweetened fibres allow food and beverage producers to reduce sugar without giving up the good taste, losing the expected mouthfeel or having problems with the texture. They reduce the cost of developing an assortment of foods with less sugar or no added sugar at all. And they give a short time to the market for new products, since the difficult nut to crack — to reduce sugar without losing taste, mouthfeel and texture — is already solved.
But aren’t sweetened fibres turning something very simple into something unnecessarily complicated? Let’s investigate.
That’s why sweetened fibres is needed
Sugar is a universal food technology solution. In addition to sweetness and appreciated taste and aroma, it has a number of other useful properties. It enhances other flavours, provides volume and texture, increases durability, retains moisture, assists in fermentation, lowers freezing point and provides colour. It is no wonder that sugar is popular with both consumers and food and beverage producers.
There is only one snag. Too much sugar is not good for your health. It increases the risk of overweight and obesity. And those are known risk factors for insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, triglycerides and other blood fats, and cardiovascular diseases.
And people eat too much sugar. It’s not that people sit and crunch sugar cubes all day. No! The culprit is rather the added sugar in ordinary food and beverage. On average, we eat more than 100 ml (!) of added sugar a day. This is more than four times what the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends as the highest daily intake.
That is why society demands sugar reduction. And that is why consumers are demanding food and beverage with less added sugar. Or, preferably, no added sugar at all.
But few consumers are prepared to give up the good taste.
So, to reduce sugar intake to healthier levels, solutions are needed that give the sweetness and appreciated taste and aroma of sugar without as many calories and as high GI. This is where the sweetened fibres come into the picture.
The real problem that sweetened fibres solves
Sugar is actually not that sweet. It takes a lot of sugar to achieve the sweet taste in food and beverage. And since a lot of sugar also takes up a lot of space — contributing to both volume and weight — sugar works as a filler. It gives bulk. The same goes for glucose syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, maltitol and a host of other sweetening ingredients. Since these sweeteners give bulk, they are called bulk sweeteners.
But bulk sweeteners don’t just give us volume and weight. They also provide energy and affect blood sugar levels. Sugar gives 4 kcal per gram and has a GI of 97 (relative to white bread). Glucose syrup gives just as many calories and even higher GI. And maltitol, which is a popular substitute for sugar, yields 2.4 kcal per gram and has a GI of 49.
This is the real problem. Bulk sweeteners provide sweetness and bulk, but at the the price of much more energy and in most cases a high GI .
This is what sweetened fibres solve. They too provide sweetness and bulk, but almost no calories and a very low GI. Typically, sweetened fibres contribute less than 0.25 kcal per gram and have a GI close to 0.
High Intensity Sweeteners
Bulk sweeteners could as well have been called ”low intensive sweeteners” since they have relatively low sweetness in relation to their volume and weight. The opposite is high-intensity sweeteners, which provide a very intense experience of sweetness in relation to its volume and weight. In this group we find aspartame, acesulfame K, sucralose and other artificial sweeteners. There are also many high-intensity sweeteners from nature. Steviol glycosides are the most well-known and used.
High-intensity sweeteners provide no energy (0 kcal) and do not affect the blood sugar (GI 0). In most cases, this is because the body is unable to absorb energy from them. This applies, for example, to steviol glycosides. And in cases where the body can absorb energy (for example from aspartame which provides as many calories per gram as sugar), the intense sweetness means that the amount needed provides negligible energy (about 1/200th part for aspartame).
So why not use high-intensity sweeteners instead of bulk sweeteners?
Difficult to make yourself
The problem lies in our recipes. We cannot just replace 1 kg of sugar with 3 grams of high-intensity sweetener. The other 997 grams must also be replaced for the sake of volume and weight.
Just any ingredient will not do. The ingredient replacing the bulk of sugar should give the same texture and mouthfeel as the original. Exactly what it could be, depends on what is produced. Baking requires one solution. Patisserie another. Dairy a third. And so on.
Even worse, we also have to handle a different taste profile. Both the high-intensity sweetener and what replaces the bulk of the sugar add flavour and aroma. It gives a taste profile that does not match the sugar’s. It may take longer before the sweetness is felt, or it may linger far longer than regular sugar. There may be an off-taste or an aftertaste that sugar does not have. And so on. All this needs to be adjusted with additional ingredients that complement what’s missing and mask what’s unwanted.
As if that were not enough, the manufacturing process needs to be adapted for all the new ingredients. The ingredients that will give bulk have properties other than sugar, and this can mean changes in the production facility. And unlike sugar, where a few grams here or there won’t matter, high-intensity sweeteners require great precision when dosing. And finally, we have the challenge of getting the high-intensity sweetener evenly distributed.
Therefore, sweetened fibres are simpler
That replacing a bulk sweetener with high intensity sweeteners is a challenge, is an understatement. And, if it’s really going to be worth your while, it must result in close to 0 calories and have a GI close to 0. It is all these problems that sweetened fibres can solve.
By definition, sweetened fibres are a homogeneous composition of dietary fibres, high-intensity sweetener and other necessary ingredients, replacing sugar one-by-one without any change to your routine or process, and they provide the same taste, mouthfeel and texture.
Specifically, sweetened fibres come in a powder, granule, or syrup form, to be used in exactly the same way as the sugar, glucose syrup or the sweetener they are intended to replace. It can be transported, stored, handled, measured as the ingredient they replace, and used without any change to the manufacturing process. It is this simplicity that is the point of sweetened fibres.
We develop sweetened fibres for a variety of applications, and market them under the brand EUREBA®.
We are happy to help you to choose the right EUREBA® and fine-tune the taste and texture of your application.
Do not hesitate to contact us.