Resistance is not futile (where starch is concerned)
Resistant starches are helping meet the low-carb craze, but their functionality should keep them around longer than the current diets.
Steve Ham, MGP’s product manager for Fibersym, acknowledges the low carb trend is slowing a bit, but the need for fiber in foods, both from whole grains and products made with refined carbohydrates, remains strong. “Our products have very low water holding, as little as a gram of water per gram of starch. This makes it very useful in lower moisture foods.” Ham doesn’t believe the “food starch modified” label is a roadblock, and that any consumer resistance is countered by the high level of total dietary fiber the product delivers.
|ConAgra’s new Ultragrain (center) is made from white wheat, so it has the nutrition of whole wheat flour (left) but the look and texture of finely ground bleached flour.|
A major use of resistant starches is in whole grain products, including bread, pasta, meal bars and similar foods. Other uses include low-moisture foods like cookies and dry pet foods.
One novel development is Ultragrain
from ConAgra Food Ingredients
). It’s a white whole-wheat flour from an identity-preserved white wheat, finely ground to produce a white bread with whole wheat nutrition. Tests indicate the fine milling has not reduced the resistant wheat function in finished breads.
A similar product, also from ConAgra,
is Sustagrain, a barley material that includes about three times the fiber of oats. It also can be used in whole grain foods to provide a different type of soluble fiber.
Perfection Bakeries, Fort Wayne, Ind., developed a line of carb-controlled bread products that did very well earlier this year. “We use two types of resistant starches in our carbohydrate-controlled breads, and they performed very well for us,” says Rod Radalia, technical services director.
While he believes low-carb dieting is beginning to wane, “We expect a moderate amount of carbohydrate reduction will become a permanent part of the product line.” Radalia says he’s also discovered resistant starches provide some plusses, especially at lower levels to replace some of the refined flour. “We use them at about a pound-for-pound replacement level and [as a result] the different products carry different amounts of water.”
A key concept to remember is there are several types of fiber, and they appear to play different roles in nutrition, disease avoidance and weight control.
Americans are finding whole grain products palatable and satisfying. The current interest in whole grain products, triggered by the probable changes in the USDA’s Guidelines for Healthy Americans, suggests there will be more use of resistant starches, whole grains and fiber in food products. As the labeling and assay problems of the past are solved, they will become easier to use.