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Oligofructose – A Diabetic-Friendly Option

Sugar is one of the major culprit of hidden calories in our daily diet. Excessive sugar consumption has been strongly associated with the growing prevalence of health implications such as diabetes (Oliveira et al., 2016). Assessments have concluded that higher sugar-sweetened beverage and added sugar intake is strongly connected to excess weight gain and increased risk of obesity (Cooper, 2016). Hence, health-conscious consumers try to shun the obvious sweet culprits – Sugar.   

Oligofructose is Awesome!

Diabetic individuals have to keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels. Studies revealed that a low glycaemic diet can promote positive result in reducing the risk of type II diabetes as well as helping to control blood glucose levels. This stimulates the growing demand of consumers for health and wellness products which is the driving force for manufacturers to reduce sugars.

Plant-based Oligofructose receives positive evaluation from EFSA where new research has revealed its positive impact on blood glucose response when a proportion of the sugar in a product is replaced with the prebiotic fibre Oligofructose. The data demonstrated a significant lower blood glucose response with only 20% replacement. Unlike common sugars, Oligofructose contributes to a lower glycaemic response as they are not digested in the human digestive system and thus no glucose is released into the bloodstream (Beneo, 2014).

Oligofructose is non-GMO prebiotic fibres derived naturally from chicory root. Parnell & Reimer have conducted two studies in 2009 and 2012 respectively on the potential of Oligofructose supplements in the management of food intake in overweight and obese patients. Both findings suggest that Oligofructose supplementation has the potential to promote weight loss and improve glucose regulation in overweight adults.  

The Healthier Choice

According to Pan American Health Organization (2016), the majority of industrialized sweetened products that are commercialized such as breakfast cereals, sweetened milk, yogurt, ice creams and sweetened beverages, contain excessive amounts of added sugar.

Oligofructose have technical properties that are comparable to sugar and glucose syrups, yet nutritionally speaking it has totally different properties. It possesses a moderately sweet taste whereby it provides approximately 30 to 65% of sweetness compared to sucrose. There are many great success stories about the incorporation of Oligofructose into food and beverages. Oligofructose is more soluble as compared to sucrose and helps amplify high intensity sweeteners for sugar-reduced formulation (Williams & Phillips, 2009).

With its moderately sweet taste, Oligofructose is often used in combination with high intensity sweeteners to create a synergy sweetening effect with more balanced, sugar-like palate and rounded mouthfeel (Beneo, 2013). Oligofructose could be blended with high intensity sweeteners, stevia and flavours to develop 30% sugar-reduced products without taste or texture tariffs (Searby, 2016). It also helps masking the aftertaste such as aspartame or acesulfame K (Afoakwa, 2016).

The highly soluble and dispersible character of Oligofructose with lower viscosity makes it better suited for fibre enrichment in dairy and dairy analogue beverage applications (Moreno & Sanz, 2014; Cho & Finocchiaro, 2009). Sensorial evaluations demonstrated that Oligofructose contributes to better mouthfeel and body in yoghurt with a sugar reduction of 20% and 30% in a similar way as full sugar formulation (Beneo, 2016).

In baked goods, Oligofructose is a preferred choice for replacing sugar by at least 25%. Oligofructose contributes to the Maillard browning reaction by providing desirable browning appearance in baked goods (Hamaker, 2007). Several authors have reported that sugar and/or fat of the baked products such as cakes, muffins, cookies and biscuits can be reduced up to 30% with the incorporation of Oligofructose while maintaining the sweet and crunchy profile found in the full sugar reference (Moreno & Sanz, 2014; O’Brien-Nabors, 2011).

Go for Natural and Healthy

Sugar reduction is a hot theme in food and beverage industry. It is a big challenge to switch out sugar while retaining the original great taste without the accompanying calories. Nowadays consumers are trending towards healthy eating while looking for products that satisfy their sweet tooth. Hence, they are welcoming low to no calorie sweeteners that have a healthy halo and provide the desired level of sweetness (Buono, 2017).

The market potential of Oligofructose is increasingly attractive due to its excellent performance in offering nutritional benefits of fibre and prebiotic for healthier product formulations. Oligofructose offers manufacturers the opportunity of helping consumers in making better choices in their daily diet that support a low glycaemic nutrition, especially amongst diabetic individuals. Oligofructose adds a beneficial fibre source into final products and most importantly it does not cause a glycaemic response. Therefore, incorporating of Oligofructose into food and beverage formulations is a great alternative to conventional cane sugar.

References

Afoakwa, E. O. (2016). Chocolate Science and Technology. John Wiley & Sons.

Beneo. (2013). Orafti® Oligofructose from natural sources. Retrieved from http://www.beneo.com/Ingredients/Human_Nutrition/Functional_Fibres/Oligofructose/

Beneo. (2014). Positive EFSA claim evaluation based on new research on chicory Oligofructose to lower blood glucose response. Press Release.

Beneo. (2016). Formulating sugar-reduced fruit yoghurts. Natural sweet taste at its best. Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.beneo.com/Ingredients/Human_Nutrition/Functional_Fibres/Oligofructose/BENEO_factsheet_Fibres_in_sugar_reduced_yoghurt_EN_201607v1_web_2_1_1.pdf

Buono, A. D. (2017). Sugar reduction drives sweetener selection for beverages. Health and wellness drives demand for natural sweeteners. Beverage Industry.

Cho, S.S. & Finocchiaro, T. (2009). Handbook of Prebiotics and Probiotics Ingredients: Health Benefits and Food Applications. CRC Press, 36.

Cooper, C. C. (2016). Curbing Children’s Sugar Intake. Today’s Dietitian, 18(12), 28.

Hamaker, B.R. (2007). Technology of Functional Cereal Produts. Elsevier, 420-423.

Moreno, F.J. & Sanz, M.L. (2014). Food Oligosaccharides: Production, Analysis and Bioactivity. John Wiley & Sons.

O’Brien-Nabors, L. (2011). Alternative Sweeteners, 4th ed. CRC Press, 515.

Oliveira, D., Reis, F., Deliza, R., Rosenthal, A., Gimenez, A. & Ares, G. (2016). Difference thresholds for added sugar in chocolate-flavoured milk: Recommendations for gradual sugar reduction. Food Research International, 89, 448-53.

Pan American Health Organization. (2016). Pan American Health Organization Nutrient Profile Model.

Searby, L. (2016). It’s Official: Manufacturers can make sugar replacement claims. Confectionery News.

Williams, P.A. & Phillips, G.O. (2009). Gums and Stabilisers for the Food Industry. Royal Society of Chemistry, 282.