Let me get this straight now. Resistant starches are performing like fiber. Native starches are acting like modified starches. Rice starches can perform like other starches but are derived from a hypoallergenic source. Starches are used as flour replacers, while some whole-grain flours are providing the performance of refined products. And yes, before I forget, some starches are considered good carbs, although I’m not quite sure when a starch officially goes bad.
Although the above scenario may sound somewhat confusing (it reminds me of a modified form of an old Abbott and Costello routine, who’s on first), it does suggest some of the innovative ways that starches are redefining themselves and the roles they play in food formulating.
Of course, starches—carbohydrates consisting of amylose and amylopectin, the specific ratio of these contributing varying properties—have been an important component in food for some time now. In fact, today more than 20% of packaged foods are said to utilize specialty starches. This versatile and widely used carbohydrate can provide such functionality benefits as enhanced processing, improved shelf life, freeze/thaw characteristics, stabilization properties, thickening and suspending capabilities, texture and mouthfeel solutions, and replacement or extension of other ingredients.
So why are starches expanding in different directions?
One possible explanation may have to do with the evolving perception of carbohydrates in general. Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, the low-carb trend is being reshaped to meet more useful and applicable food formulation goals, both in the areas of health and functionality. This sets the stage for a new understanding of carbohydrates—for example, how certain types can extend satiety, lower insulin response, and reduce cholesterol. Innovative starch-based ingredients are being developed that reflect this "new understanding" of carbohydrates.
Current trends are also helping to fuel the development of new starch ingredients and their applications. According to Rhonda Witwer, Business Development Manager of Nutrition, National Starch and Food Innovation, "Emerging trends in consumer preferences in the areas of improved health, energy, and weight management, and a desire for more natural, wholesome foods are changing both the role of functional starches and the requirements that are placed on them in food products."
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The exploration of new textures in food formulating may also play a major part in how starches are redefining themselves. As the textures of yogurt, sauces, snack products, coatings, desserts, and other food products broaden beyond their conventional boundaries, the demand for ingredients to provide certain kinds of textural properties previously not found in those products only increases. Furthermore, the kinds of starch options available and choosing the right one for a particular application become even more critical.
This article will look at some of the innovative ways that starches are redefining themselves and the subsequent roles they play in food formulating.
Starches Provide a Line of Resistance
In discussing the factors contributing to fiber’s new image, the 2006 February Ingredients section included resistant starches which, unlike sugars and most starches, escape digestion and absorption in the human small intestine, to be digested or fermented in the large intestine. As such, this special class of starch has physiological functions similar to those of dietary fiber.
An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (February 16, 2006) discussed how major companies are taking different approaches to create products that have a satiety effect which makes consumers feel full when they’re actually eating less. Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., is experimenting with a technology based around resistant starches that will level out blood sugar levels while providing the product with the needed functionality of traditional starches.
For a solid background on these starches, I highly recommend an article, "Resistant Starch—A Review," that appeared in IFT’s online publication Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (Vol. 5, 2006). It discussed this special class of starch and its types, their functionality, formation, preparation, determination, digestibility, physiological effects, applications, health benefits, and commercial sources.
Also highlighting the benefits of resistant starches was a recent food conference, organized by National Starch Food Innovation and Oldways Preservation Trust. See sidebar on page 55 for a report of this event and the presentations that were given.
Resistant starches are broken down into four classification types: (1) starch that is in a physically inaccessible form such as partly milled grains and seeds; (2) starch that is in a certain granular form and is resistant to enzyme digestion; (3) starch that is primarily retrograded amylose formed during cooling of gelatinized starches; and (4) selected chemically modified resistant starches not found in nature.
Commercially available resistant starches fall into these different classification types. For example, Hi-maize, a high-amylose corn-derived natural resistant starch from National Starch Food Innovation, Bridgewater, N.J. (phone 800-787-4992, www.foodinnovation.com) belongs in the second group. Rhonda Witwer, the company’s Business Development Manager of Nutrition, explains its advantages. Fermented in the large intestine, it provides important health benefits in the areas of intestinal/colonic health and glycemic management and energy. Furthermore, it can be consumed at significantly higher quantities without the digestive side effects common to soluble fibers.
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Unlike other insoluble fiber sources, Hi-maize does not affect taste and texture in foods, and is especially appropriate for grain-based low- and moderate-moisture foods, where it is commonly used for flour replacement. Its physical properties, particularly its low water-holding capacity, enable it to provide good food processing characteristics and desirable textural attributes, such as crispness and expansion, compared to foods of similar fiber content.
"Because resistant starches are defined by their physiological impact instead of their chemical structure, there are significant differences in how different types of resistant starches impact the body," said Witwer.
She added that different types of resistant starch must be labeled in different ways as food ingredients. For example, Hi-maize type-2 resistant starch, which can be designated simply as "starch" or "corn starch," analyzes as dietary fiber and is listed as "fiber" under nutrition information on product labels. Type- 3 resistant starch can be labeled as "maltodextrin," while type 4 must be labeled as "modified food starch."
Several ingredient companies are currently manufacturing resistant starches. These starches are derived from a variety of sources, including corn, wheat, potato, and tapioca. Because functionality and health benefits can vary depending on the source they came from, it would be inappropriate to lump them all together in one section. Rather, I will be referring to these ingredients elsewhere in this article to illustrate the innovative ways that starches are being developed or redefined.
Rice Starches Prepare the First Course
Although corn has been a primary source for the production of starch, other sources are being increasingly utilized which are helping to redefine the benefits that starches bring to a formulation. For example, rice, because of its easy digestibility, hypoallergenic qualities, and neutral taste, is becoming increasingly popular, making its components—starch, protein, and bran—desirable from functionality and health perspectives.
Rice starch may be used in a variety of food products, including soups and sauces, poultry products, ice creams and yogurts, frozen and refrigerated ready-to-eat meals, French fry coatings, and imitation cheeses. Specific characteristics and subsequent application of the rice depends on its ratio of amylose and amylopectin which varies with the rice (long-, medium-, and short-grain types) from which the starch comes.
Let’s focus on the first course of the meal. In soups, rice starch may be used as a thickener. Because its average granule size is similar to that of butterfat globules, it can add creaminess to low-fat versions while enhancing the product’s appearance. Rice starch emulsifies oils and broth, preventing syneresis; withstands multiple freeze-thaw cycles without losing stability; and imparts no off-flavors.
"Depending on the soup thickness or thinness desired, we recommend a wide range of rice starches and rice flours which offer varying performance attributes for shear resistance and for freeze-thaw, retort, and acid stability," said Gil Bakal, Managing Director of A&B Ingredients, Fairfield, N.J. (phone 973-227-1390, www.abingredients.com), a manufacturer of rice-based food starches for the food industry.
And if you happen to like eating crackers along with your soup, rice starch can play an important role in producing foods that are crisp. At a 2% usage level, AX-FG-P—a pre-cooked native rice starch from the company—is said to provide an immediately noticeable increase in crispiness and strength of the baked product.
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According to Bakal, during the early stages of preparation, when the dough is mixed and water is added, the ingredient hydrates more quickly than other components and helps to form a matrix. Because it then retains the water during the cooking process, the ingredient keeps the matrix dense as long as possible. The starch will harden slowly as the crackers are cooked, and will protect the finished product from fissures and cracks. And when consumers eat the cracker, the starch slows down the water absorption in the mouth, enhancing the perception of crispiness and delicate texture.
In a related development, rice starch may now be easier to procure, stated USDA’s Agricultural Research Service food technologist Harmeet Guraya. Working at the agency’s Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, Guraya developed a method involving high pressure to separate a rice kernel’s tightly bound portions of starch and protein.
A special homogenizer physically splits apart the starch-protein agglomerates or "clumps" found in rice by passing them through a tiny opening. According to an article in the February 2006 issue of Agricultural Research, a single pass through the microfluidizer yields many small, individual particles of starch and protein homogeneously dispersed in a watery matrix. The starch and protein components can then be separated by traditional density-based separation processes, resulting in usable starch and protein products.
Finding a way to free up starch molecules while preserving the proteins is not an easy task. If successful, Guraya’s approach could replace the traditional way of extracting rice starch which involves steeping the starch-protein clumps in a sodium hydroxide, which slowly releases the starch molecules, degrades the protein making it unfit for human consumption, and generates large amounts of salt waste.
Guraya established a cooperative research and development agreement with Sage V Foods, Los Angeles, Calif., a producer of rice-based ingredient sold to major U.S. food companies, to use the technology in a scaled-up production line. Samples of the starch produced from different rice varieties are currently being analyzed, and based on the results, the technology could be in commercial use in 2007.
New Instant Starches Provide Viscosity Benefits
New instant starches are being developed which offer functionality improvement over previous versions.
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For example, a cold-water-swelling corn starch from Grain Processing Corp., Muscatine, Iowa (phone 563-264-4265, www.grainprocessing.com), provides viscosity without heating or cooking. The modified food starch, Inscosity™, demonstrates excellent freeze/thaw and steam table stability without syneresis and is suitable for a wide range of neutral to mildly acidic pH, hot- or cold-water-dispersible applications.
Simple to use systems such as dry mixes, sauces, meal-in-a-box entrees, and desserts rely on viscosifiers with no cook or minimal temperature requirements. Often the viscosifier or stabilizer in these formulations can be difficult to disperse, resulting in undesirable lumps and other problems formed when the system hydrates unevenly. The use of this instant modified starch can solve these problems, while maintaining a clean flavor and a smooth surface appearance with clarity and sheen.
The fine-powdered starch dry blends easily without loss of bulk density or particulate identity. It also optimizes formulations by adding texture and body, and can reduce levels of gums and fruit or tomato solids.
Tate & Lyle, Decatur, Ill. (phone 217-423-4411, www.tateandlyle.com) unveiled Merigloss, a new range of granular waxy maize-based instant starches, at the 2005 Food Ingredients Europe. They are specifically processed to ensure that the starch granules are not broken during the instantization process, and they provide improved clarity, gloss, and viscosity compared to traditional drum-dried instant starches. These starches are particularly suited for use in fruit preparations and bakery fillings.
At the show, the company launched a solution set combining starches with sucralose and polydextrose for use in no-added-sugar fruit desserts and toppings. The solution set, Fruit Dessert Rebalance™, is available in liquid and dry versions, ensuring processing stability with a balanced sweetness profile. Polydextrose and starch in the dry version provide optimal bulking effect, making it suitable for creating desserts with a fuller body. The liquid version containing polydextrose and liquid maltodextrin optimizes the texture of products such as purees and toppings.
New Wheat Starches on the Horizon
Waxing innovative? That might be said of new starch developments that are emerging from fields of golden wheat.
A new soft white spring wheat consists of 100% amylopectin starch—a "full waxy" trait that offers novel functionality benefits in future food formulating. The wheat, Penawawa-X, was developed using conventional plant breeding techniques by Craig Morris, an Agricultural Research Service scientist at ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory in Pullman, Wash.
Waxy starch gels form a paste at lower temperatures, swell with more water than regular or partially waxy starches, and do not lose water during freezing and thawing. Typical soft white spring wheat, used in the manufacturer of cookies, cakes, and other baked goods, contain starch with both amylopectin and amylose.
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To identify possible uses, Morris sent dozens of samples to bakers, millers, food processing companies, and others to see how the wheat’s starch might be used. Full waxy starches have potential as food-bodying agents, shelf-life extenders, and shortening replacement.
According to ARS, one company is already exploring commercial use of the wheat’s starch, flour, bran, and other components.
In another development, wheat-based starches resistant to digestive juices and the enzyme amylase are available from MGP Ingredients, Inc., Atchison, Kans. (phone 913-367-1480, www.mgpingredients.com). The company’s Fibersym™ resistant starches enhance the fiber content of bakery goods, pasta, cereal, crackers, and other snack items without compromising taste and other sensory qualities. Its FiberRite™ RW resistant starch performs as a partial fat replacer and lowers caloric content, while also adding dietary fiber to such foods as ice creams, yogurt, salad dressing, sandwich spreads, bakery products, and sweet goods.
At the 2006 IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo®, a New Products and Technologies paper will discuss FiberRite RW, a pregelatinized cross-linked wheat starch product offering special properties in food applications. The starch is stable during repeated freezing and thawing cycles without the loss of more than 20% water, has a smooth mouthfeel, and resembles the texture of fat. The technology used to produce the starch can be applied to virtually any type of starch.
Flours Stay on the Cutting Edge
Flour is a fine powder obtained from cereal grains, especially wheat, and other starchy food sources. Based on the presence of starches, this ingredient is being redefined in a number of ways.
Flour plays an essential role, of course, in the manufacture of breads and pastries. Over the past year, I’ve written, in particular, about Ultragrain™ White Whole Wheat—a whole grain flour which combines the nutritional benefits of whole grains with the taste, texture, and finished baked quality of refined flour—developed by ConAgra Food Ingredients, Omaha, Neb. (phone 800-537-4819, www.conagrafoodingredients.com). The whole-grain product—which has a uniform particle size comparable to that of refined flour, fewer whole-grain bran specks, and a lighter color and smoother texture—was first introduced in 2004, and since then has seen expanding application, one of the most recent being in a whole-grain pizza for school foodservice.
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Flour also provides thickening properties in the creation of roux, sauces, and gravies, contributing to their texture, appearance, and overall sensory experience. "Unfortunately, the variability and sensitivity of native flours make translating culinary standard recipes into processing-friendly production formulas difficult," said Joe Lombardi, National Starch Food Innovation’s Marketing Manager, Wholesome Ingredients-North America. In response, a new line of functional wheat flours from National Starch are said to maintain the positive attributes of traditional flours, and expand and improve the ways they can be used in packaged and prepared foods.
The minimally processed flours were first previewed at the 2005 IFT Annual Meeting + FOOD EXPO, and were recently given the name Homecraft™ to underscore the homestyle appearance and texture that these ingredients can bring to processed foods. "The product portfolio includes three functional wheat flours, each designed to address functional shortcomings of native flours," said Lombardi. "These flours exhibit a very indulgent mouthfeel; a smooth, creamy taste and texture; and a rich luxurious appearance, while offering enhanced functionality such as processing tolerance, freeze-thaw stability, and the elimination of processing and end-product variability."
Homecraft Create 765, for example, is said to offer textural stability through as many as 12 freeze/thaw cycles, opening the door to a broader range of applications, including gourmet, fresh, chilled soups, where the use of flour would typically limit distribution or shelf life. Homecraft Create 730 is designed for products that will be subjected to intense food processing conditions. It has a higher threshold of tolerance to viscosity breakdown than traditional flour and is suited for use in kettle-cooked or retorted sauces, soups, and meal solutions. Homecraft Express 760 is pregelatinized, allowing the use of flour in products for cold water or reconstitute and microwave applications, and functions more quickly and consistently than native flour.
From Corn Products U.S., Westchester, Ill. (phone 800-443-2746, www.cornproductsus.com) comes Maizing™, gluten-free bakery mixes which use a modified tapioca starch (Expandex) to replace nearly all the flour in a formulation, while creating a moist and expanded crumb. The ready-to-use mixes were originally designed for the production of traditional Colombian pastries but can also be used to produce other fried and baked goods, including apple fritters, pizza crust, beignets, cookies, doughnuts, and yeast dinner rolls. The mixes enhance leavening agents and allow the structure to remain stable in the absence of gums. At the 2006 IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo, a New Products & Technologies paper will discuss the versatility of the tapioca starch as it improves the taste, texture, appearance, and shelf life of many gluten-free products.
Ongoing studies are also being conducted to determine which flours perform best in particular applications. For example, according to United Kingdom-based Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association Group (phone +44 0 1386 842000, www.campden.co.uk), new research on the processing of starch-rich materials from maize, wheat, rice, and oats for use in sauces, batters, and gelled food products will help processors select the materials best suited to their needs. The important changes that occur in starch during cooking—gelatinization, swelling to form a paste, setting, and retro-gradation—are being evaluated.
Studies with a creamy cheese sauce and a more acidic tomato sauce used in ready meals showed significant changes in cooking patterns dues to interactions with other ingredients. Wheat flour performed well in the presence of fats in white sauce, but the more vitreous cereals, rice and maize, gave better results in the more acidic tomato sauce. Further work will study the effects of thermal treatments of flours and starches in sauces and cake systems.
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Tapping into Tapioca
Another source from which starch can be obtained is tapioca root. These starches are very bland and are positioned as offering solutions to allergen, gluten, and GMO issues. Earlier, this article looked at how gluten-free bakery mixes from Corn Products U.S. are using a modified tapioca starch to provide the textural properties of flour which it replaced in the formulation.
From Ciranda, Inc., Hudson, Wis. (phone 715-386-1737, www.ciranda.com) comes TapiOK™, a line of tapioca derivatives, including starches, maltodextrins, and syrup solids. According to the company, its organic tapioca native starch may be used as a thickener and stabilizer in fruit pies, soups, puddings, breads, sauces, and soy and meat products. The starch can withstand long cooking times without breaking down, and retains its thickening capabilities throughout freezing and reheating processes. Tapioca becomes clear and gel-like when cooked and dissolves completely when used as a thickener.
Tapioca-derived resistant starches are available from Cargill Food & Pharma Specialties, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (phone 877-650-7080, www.cargill.com). ActiStar™ RT is a type-4 (modified) resistant starch with 80% total dietary fiber and a low water-holding capacity. ActiStar RM is a type-3 (non-granular) resistant maltodextrin having a level of 50% resistant starch. Functionality benefits include a very fine particle size; a pleasant, non-sandy mouthfeel; and stability under high-heat and high-acid conditions.
Starches from Spuds
Recently a line of potato starches containing 99% amylopectin earned Netherlands-based Avebe the Silver Award for innovation at the 2005 Food Ingredients Europe show. The ingredient, marketed under the name Eliane, is obtained from potatoes bred by classical techniques and is said to offer a variety of functionality benefits over conventional modified potato starches, including a fast viscosity development at low temperatures.
Control tests in bakery formulations showed a significantly better texture and baking stability in products containing the amylopectin starch, even with a 25% reduction of alginate blends. The easy-to-use starch, which is pH and freeze-thaw stable, provides a creamy mouthfeel, a glossy appearance and greater clarity to fruit fillings, and a neutral taste. Potential applications include desserts, bakery creams, fruit fillings, and sauces.
A New Products & Technologies paper on the amylopectin starch and its use in spoonable and pourable dressings will be delivered by an Avebe representative at the IFT Annual Meeting + FOOD EXPO. In these applications, the new starch provides such features as high viscosity, smooth texture, clean flavor profile, and lower gelatinization temperatures, resulting in cost benefits and easier processing. In dressings, the starch can also be used in combination with the company’s Paselli starches to provide smooth and creamy low-fat dressings and egg-free dressings. In low-fat clear dressings, the starches can replace combinations of hydrocolloids while still improving clarity and maintaining optimal textural characteristics. More information can be obtained from Avebe America, Inc., Princeton, N.J. (phone 609-520-1400; www.avebe.com).
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New developments in the area of potato-based texturizing starches are also available from Penford Food Ingredients Co., Centennial, Colo. (phone 303-649-1900, www.penfordfoodingrdients.com). PenTexture™ is designed for enhancing texture and pulpiness of tomato-based sauces when used to replace more expensive tomato solids. At 2-4% levels, it can replace up to 50% of the tomato solids, and can be easily blended with tomato paste, tomato concentrate, or tomato puree. The starch has superior water-binding capability; is heat-, acid- and process-stable; and maintains the natural flavor and color of the end product. Trial formulas for pizza sauce have been created using the starch with significant reduction in tomato paste.
Penford has also developed potato starches tailored for imitation cheese products. The starches, which replace a portion of the casein used in the processing of imitation cheeses, contribute to emulsion formation, firmness, elasticity, meltability, stretchability, shredability, and extended shelf life. Additional benefits include long texture to mimic real cheese, lower cookout temperatures, and the absence of flavor interference due to the clean-flavored nature of potato starches.
Working with the Natives
A few years ago, starches were developed that delivered the functional performance expected from a modified food starch, without being physically modified. Marketed under the name Novation, these functional native starches retained their native starch character and labeling and were developed using a technology by National Starch.
Since then, the company has introduced Novation Prima which provided all the benefits inherent to the original range of starches with the addition of exceptional freeze-thaw stability. As such, these new starches are especially effective in frozen foods, foods which undergo multiple freeze-thaw cycles prior to consumption, and refrigerated products requiring a long shelf life.
These starches are also able to work well with native flours discussed earlier in this article. Several prototypes using these ingredient combinations were highlighted at the recent 2006 Research Chefs Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow. These dishes included Baked Buffalo Chicken Phyllo Triangles with Blue Cheese served with a Celery Veloute, Asian Pulled Pork atop a Crispy Rice Cracker served with a Coconut-Red Curry Soup, and Vanilla Rum Chouquettes, which are mini cream puffs filled with vanilla rum pastry cream.
Creating Special Delivery Systems
Starches play an important—if sometimes overlooked—role in the development and use of technologies that efficiently (as well as cost- effectively) deliver flavors, aromas, nutraceutical components, and functionality ingredients to a food or beverage product. The resulting delivery systems can encapsulate ingredients to protect their efficacy and time release, suspend essential oils for optimal flavor release, mask unwanted flavors, and enhance texture and mouthfeel in low-fat products.
One recent example was an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid protected by a starch-based encapsulation system. The stable powder (Novomega™ from National Starch) could be easily added to baked goods without affecting their taste, texture, or aroma. Cargill developed a line of modified starches, marketed under the name EmCap, which may be used for vitamin encapsulation and to stabilize beverage emulsions.
From Grain Processing Corp., Pure-Dent® B730 modified food starch demonstrates plating and carrying ability. It has been modified to increase the surface area of the starch granule, resulting in a highly absorbent starch ingredient. Its ability to absorb liquids makes it an excellent medium for plating sticky or viscous materials that otherwise would be very difficult to handle. The company also offers Instant Pure-Cote B792, a modified food starch which may be used to adhere particulates, such as seasonings, to the surface of a food application.
As foods continue to be reformulated, especially in the areas of weight management, flavor enhancement or masking, and fortification, the value of these delivery systems will grow, with starches playing an important factor in their success.
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Starches Act as Catalysts
In many of the developments discussed in this article, starches are acting as catalysts for further innovations. For example, the use of starch to encapsulate a fish oil powder can help deliver health benefits without affecting the taste or aroma of the finished product. Or by providing the benefits of fiber, resistant starches not only underscore their own importance from health and functionality perspectives, but also draw attention to fiber and the need to meet fiber levels through the creation of innovative food and beverage products.
It is in the area of texture development, however, that I think we can best see the potential of starches as catalysts. As starches continue to redefine themselves, the quality and textural properties that these ingredients bring to a formulation only grow stronger over the years.
Consider, for example, the increasing number of good-for-you food products that need to maintain their taste, texture, and appearance if they are to succeed in the marketplace. Or the number of new and innovative textures that are being created to reflect a broader range of eating experiences.
Resistant starches, native starches that function like modified starches, starches developed from alternative sources, and functional flours can all play a major role in addressing these areas, as well as being integral components in future food-formulating approaches.
Conference Highlights Benefits of Resistant Starch
A conference, "Making Fiber Irresistible: Resistant Starch Is a Natural," positioned resistant starch as a class of fiber that offers a variety of health and functionality benefits in foods. The event, organized by National Starch Food Innovation and Oldways Preservation Trust, gathered more than 100 leading food manufacturers and health professionals to learn how resistant starch can help address America’s growing fiber gap, as well as discuss how related technical challenges can be overcome.
The term "resistant starch" was first coined in 1982 to describe a small fraction of starch that was resistant to hydrolysis by exhaustive alpha-amylase and pullulanase treatment in vitro. Since then, is has become defined as that fraction of dietary starch which resists or escapes digestion in the small intestine.
Because resistant starches pass through the small intestine, they do not provide short-term energy. Rather, they have a variety of physiological effects in—and emanating from—the large intestine. Natural resistant starches are fermented like some dietary fibers, provide long-term energy, and are referred to as non-glycemic carbohydrates. They may or may not be fermentable carbohydrates.
Resistant starch—found in cooked and cooled potatoes, rice and pasta, under-ripe bananas, and beans—offers health benefits of both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as functionality advantages of its own. It is especially suitable for use as an ingredient in such food staples as cereals, breads, and pasta.
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The following summarizes presentations given at the conference held on September 26-27 at the Chicago Mariott O’Hare Hotel.
• Maren Hegsted, Professor and Division Head of Human Nutrition and Food Division, Louisiana State University School of Human Ecology, Baton Rouge, La., spoke on the "rediscovery" of resistant starch. Until the industrial revolution, the carbohydrate intake of the human population was high in resistant starch. The development of modern milling and other food processing techniques has resulted in a gradual decline in the resistant starch content of modern diets to the current low intake of 3-10 g/day. During the past 20 years, resistant starch has been identified as an important ingredient which can be used to produce quality products for the consumer with health benefits similar to those of dietary fiber. Today, various different resistant starch ingredients are available for incorporation into foods for human consumption.
• Janine Higgins, Research Fellow, Center for Human Nutrition, University of Colorado, discussed the role that resistant starch may play in energy and weight control. Blood sugar and insulin concentrations after a meal are in direct proportion to the amount of resistant starch in a meal, with resistant starch moderating both blood sugar and insulin. She also reviewed research indicating that consumption of resistant starch makes the body "prioritize" fat metabolism over carbohydrate metabolism. This "fat burning" effect of resistant starch shows promise for weight maintenance and reduction.
• David Topping, Chief Research Scientist for Commonwealth, Scientific & Industrial Research, Adelaide, Australia, described how the fermentation of resistant starch provides special health benefits, focusing on lower colon cancer risk for people eating high-protein diets; quicker recovery for those suffering from infectious diarrhea in disaster areas or war zones; and better absorption of minerals such as calcium.
• Andre Biane, Vice President of Bakery Research & Development, Sara Lee Bakery Group, Chicago, provided a case study demonstrating how Sara Lee is using resistant starch in several of its brands.
The use of the ingredient helps create products that qualify as an excellent source of fiber without compromising their taste and texture. He shared research on what consumers want in breads and rolls, and how the company met these needs with resistant starch.
• Rod Radalia, Director of Technical Services, Perfection Bakeries, Fort Wayne, Ind., presented three case histories using resistant starch (National Starch Food Innovation’s Hi-maize 5-in-1 Fiber) in a high-volume bakery environment. The company had experimented with several other fiber sources but found that water absorption is too high with most insoluble fibers, while most soluble fibers bind and inhibit dough development.
• Linda Gilbert, President, HealthFocus International, St. Petersburg, Fla., offered insights into how different health messages, especially relating to fiber, draw consumers to retail products. A key point of her research was that the benefits of fiber, such as energy management, digestive health, blood sugar management, strengthened immunity, and feeling of satiety, are what really attract consumers and are what marketers should be emphasizing, instead of the simple word "fiber." Linking fiber intake to these benefits could revolutionize how fiber is marketed in the future.
Next month, the Ingredients Pre-Show coverage of the 2006 IFT Annual Meeting + FOOD EXPO will present a Magic Kingdom of new ingredient developments and their applications.
by Donald E. Pszczola,
Senior Associate Editor