FDA Approves 8 Ingredients for Fiber Claims

Food manufacturers today boost their products by adding fiber to make them healthier. Fiber is not only found in bread but even in ice cream, brownies, candies, and gummies. For instance, a small bag of Smart Sweet gummy bears contains 28 grams of fiber so that you can get a whole day’s fiber requirement from your favorite sweet.

Fortifying food with fiber is the recent hype among food manufacturers, and the US Food and Drug Administration is supporting the bandwagon by finally approving ingredients that can boost the fiber content of different products. This initiative stemmed after the 2016 rule that indicated that added fiber does not only add the non-digestible carb content on food, but it provides overall health benefits.

Approved Fiber Claims

Today there are eight (8) ingredients approved by the FDA, and these include alginate, arabinoxylan, inulin and inulin-type fructans, galactooligosaccharide, high amylose starch, resistant dextrin/maltodextrin, and polydextrose. While there are the only eight on the list,  the FDA mentioned that it is planning to add other dietary fibers as long as scientific evidence proves that they provide additional health benefits.

Many food manufacturers are ecstatic with the decision of the FDA since it gives their new products the green light. Companies like General Mills and Activa have developed products that include fiber in them. For instance, General Mill’s Fiber One line of products contains inulin and inulin-type fructans. Other brands that contain inulin fiber include Frutafit from Sensus America, Oliggo-Fiber from Cargill, and Orafti from Beneo.

Health Benefits of Fiber

Speaking of health benefits, consumption of fiber can help stabilize both blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It can also help lower the blood pressure and promote good bowel movements. The presence of fiber in the intestinal tract can increase the efficiency of the body for mineral absorption. But more importantly, fiber can also aid in weight loss as it increases the satiety level for a long time.

Consumption of at least 15 grams of fiber daily can help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. But in reality, so many people don’t even come close to the recommended minimum daily amount of 28 grams.

The Dark Side

The effects of putting fiber into food have done most companies good regarding marketing their products. Many consumers believe that food containing fiber is healthier. But this also presents a problem. According to Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, this might confuse people regarding which foods are truly healthy. For instance, they might opt for a brownie with added fiber over peach because they choose for convenience over real nutrition.

Because of this, it is essential for food manufacturers to explain what type of fiber they are using on their products as well as the kinds of health benefits that consumers can get from them. That way, people will be able to compare the benefits to naturally fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They can also impose upon the consumers to not be too indulgent on their products and that natural fibers occurring in fruits and vegetables should be prioritized.

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Coca-Cola Rolls Out New Healthy Soda With Fiber

With most people opting for healthier beverages, it is no wonder why Coca-Cola is brewing up a new concoction to capitalize on the growing trend. As soda sales have slowed to all-time lows over the past ten years, Coke is trying to bring a healthy soda to market that’s calorie-free, sugar-free, and loaded with fiber.

Coca-Cola Plus Fiber in Japan

The company spent more than ten years developing the beverage and was inspired by Metamucil. It claims to be useful for moving things through the digestive system. Although the product is only available in Japan, the company is confident that it will be patronized in all parts of the world.

So what does this Metamucil-inspired soda contain? It comes with five grams of fiber, which is 20% of the recommended daily needs of an average person. According to CEO James Quincy, this type of soda is one of the functional beverages that the company wants to introduce to consumers. The company is also planning to roll out a fiber packed version of its Canadian ginger ale.

This is not the first time that the firm has reinvented some of its products. In fact, Coca-Cola was very successful in marketing their low-calorie brands such as the Diet Coke and Coke Zero. Over time, the soda giant has reformulated its product, adjusted its ingredients, and improved its taste using natural ingredients. The fiber-rich soda is a testament that the company will go to great lengths to reinvent their brand to fill the needs of the changing times.

But Will It Be Popular Just Like The Others?

Coca-Cola has good intentions for producing this beverage, but the question is will consumers patronize it? Professor Marion Nestle from New York University doubts that it will. The nutrition and food studies professor also noted that Coke fanatics just do not want their soda to be tampered with and those who are seeking fiber in their diet can find other sources instead of relying on this product.

Another nutritionist, Felicia Stoler, noted that while the functional beverage niche is currently hot, this functional soda will not help alleviate the lack of fiber in the Western diet. She believes that people can get their daily fix of fiber by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of gulping more Coke.

Nutritionists believe consuming too much artificially sweetened, and fiber loaded Coca-Cola may also give rise to other problems. In a study conducted by researchers from the Boston University School Of Medicine, they found out that consuming “healthy” artificially-sweetened drinks every day can increase the likelihood of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Global sales for Coke fell by 1% last year. But the company is still positive in their move as their aim is to provide more options to sophisticated drinkers as well as catch the attention of health-conscious individuals.

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