Innovation That Matters

FiberX's production is cost- and energy-efficient | Photo source Melissa Askew on Unsplash

'Invisible fibre' makes food healthier without changing its taste or texture

Food & Drink

Scientists add the starch-based product FiberX to foods in a bid to improve our health

Spotted: Fibre is the part of plant-based food that cannot be digested. And a robust body of research has shown that eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, and bowel cancer. But despite its benefits, many people do not eat enough fibre. Across the globe, it is estimated that adults only consume around 20 grams of fibre a day, when the recommended intake is generally 30 grams.

Now, researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) in Australia have worked with Microtec Engineering Group to develop a starch-based product, which they have called FiberX. Like typical fibre, FiberX resists digestion in the human gut but can be fortified or added to foods like white bread or pasta to make them healthier and more fibre rich.

Scientists developed this technology by first modifying the structure of starch on a molecular level, and then testing to see how it reacted with digestive enzymes. Through trial and error, the team eventually found high levels of resistance during digestion, mimicking that of fibre.

Commenting on the innovation, the project lead from RMIT’s Food Research and Innovation Centre Associate Professor Asgar Farahnaky said, “This new technology means we can increase the amount of fibre that goes into the food so we can receive our recommended daily intake, even while consuming less foods, which has potential to help with weight management and diabetes.”

With the support of Microtec, FiberX is now ready to immerse itself into the food industry for large-scale dietary fibre production.

Springwise has previously spotted other innovations that seek to improve the nutritional value of food, including a vegan, gut-friendly cereal, and a healthier alternative to vegetable oil made from microbes.

Written By: Georgia King

Email: news@rmit.edu.au

Website: rmit.edu.au

Contact: rmit.edu.au/contact

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