Polydextrose – sugar reduction in practice
Product development • If your mission is to cut calories, without affecting either creaminess or fullness, it is easy to become discouraged. But don’t worry, go with polydextrose! With polydextrose, you get fullness, fewer calories and the right mouthfeel. Sweetness, on the other hand, you have to find elsewhere.
Sugar reduction is exciting but complex work. In an article series, we will look at some ingredients that can be used to reduce sugar in food. How can the ingredients be used and what should be considered? These are questions we will answer! In this article, we take a closer look at polydextrose.
What is polydextrose?
Polydextrose is a dietary fibre that doesn’t come from nature, although the raw materials are natural.
During the 1960s, it became popular with low-calorie products and foods that were adapted for people with diabetes – but these products were, unfortunately, no taste sensations. The mouthfeel was adversely affected although it was difficult to pinpoint the discomfort.
This would change. A research team at Pfizer elaborated with glucose, sorbitol and citric acid. The result was called polydextrose. Glucose is the major component of this cooperative supplement that has been shown to work well in sugar reductions.
Suddenly, the recipes could be further processed, giving a whole new result. In the article Polydextrose – from seed to Eureba you can learn more about the history of polydextrose and its chemical composition.
Pure, neutral and dissolving
Polydextrose has many similarities with regular sugar: it dissolves easily, has a clear colour and similar rheological properties regarding viscosity and shape. Therefore, it also resembles sugar in how the finished product is perceived.
The taste is perceived as pure and neutral and it doesn’t mask or take over other flavours. It’s suitable for probiotic or low-calorie foods and for foods with a low glycemic index.
Another advantage is that polydextrose has excellent process stability. Polydextrose can withstand heat and acidic environments without any problems. Features that enable products with long shelf life.
Supreme calorie reducer
Since our body can only partially break down the fibres from polydextrose, it has a clearly lower calorie content than sugar and fat. Polydextrose provides only 25 per cent of regular sugar calorie content and only 11 per cent compared to fat. Therefore, you could reduce the calorie content of a food by half using polydextrose, without affecting either taste or mouthfeel.
No sweetness – full body
The right texture can easily disappear when you substitute sugar for something else. With polydextrose, you are able to develop products that have a taste and consistency comparable to products that actually contain sugar. It’s a recurring feature of many of the fibres included in our article series on sugar reduction in practice.
But the different fibres behave in slightly different ways and it’s important to find the right combination and balance to get a satisfactory result and a product that you or your company feel pleased with.
With polydextrose, you get an ingredient that can partially or completely replace sugar, fat or starch in different compositions. Polydextrose has in most cases no amount limit. But don’t use more than necessary.
A good partner
Polydextrose can be used and paired with most foods and ingredients. You can use it in various applications, such as pastries, drinks, chocolates, sweets, dairy products, power bars and more. It has to do with its amazing stability which makes it useful in many different foods.
What does the expert think?
What has Srdjan Solaja, food engineer at Bayn, to say about polydextrose?
– It’s a soluble fibre that is very easy to use. It adds no colour and has no strange taste. Because it is so soluble, you can really get plenty of fibre in food without getting a grainy or dry texture in the food, says Srdjan Solaja.
What to be aware of when working with polydextrose?
– Since polydextrose is a fibre that provides fullness and body – but no sweetness, it’s not a good idea to replace all of the sugar at once using polydextrose. Such food will not taste good and will not hold together in a sensible way, says Srdjan Solaja.
– The first trick is to not remove all sugar. Just replace a small part with polydextrose, and next time you can swap out a bit more and see what happens. You can also add a high-intensity sweetener, for example, stevia to enhance the sweet taste, says Srdjan Solaja, food engineer at Bayn.
Srdjan’s three tips
Here are Srdjan’s three tips for you who are curious about polydextrose:
- Polydextrose is incredibly stable during various processes, it can withstand both heat and acidic environments, making it easy to use.
- It is advantageously combined with high-intensity sweeteners.
- Perfect solubility which makes it suitable for a variety of applications.
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