The importance of fibre
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested in the human gut and can help improve the health and function of our digestive system. It can also help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and reduces the risk factors of some cardiovascular diseases.
Increasing the fibre content of food products by 10 to 20% while also maintaining pleasant taste and texture is a challenge across the food industry. Current foods with added fibre can have a tough texture or different flavour to the original product.
As part of the research, Farahnaky's team conducted taste tests and texture analysis on bread and cakes with varying amounts of added FiberX. They found they were able to add up to 20% fibre to food while maintaining the original taste and texture of the product.
“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,” he said.
How does it work?
Co-researcher and Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow, Dr Mahsa Majzoobi, said the structure of starch was modified on a molecular level and tested to see how it reacted with digestive enzymes.
“Once the resistant starch goes through this process, it needs to have high levels of resistance to be counted as a successful conversion to dietary fibre,” she said.
Using this new technology, the team can convert more than 80% of starch into dietary fibre, Majzoobi said.
FiberX was tested using internationally approved methods at RMIT and the accredited Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre.
Farahnaky said his team are now looking at the next phase of FiberX technology, which will use green alternatives to convert starch to fibre.