Researchers at RMIT have been hard at work with Microtec Engineering Group, a technology-based engineering company that provides starch-processing equipment, to convert starches from things like wheat, corn, and cassava into a dietary fibre that can be added to food without changing its texture, taste, or colour.
The new product, FiberX, functions just like naturally occurring fibre, and resists digestion in the human gut. This new product is set to open avenues into creating high-fibre foods, especially white bread, cakes, pasta, pizza, and sauces, that are healthier than their equivalent without the product, without altering how people enjoy the foods in any way.
The RMIT team is being led by Associate Professor Adgar Farahnaky from the Food Research and Innovation Centre. Adgar and the team describe FiberX as ‘invisible fibre’.
He says, “We can now add extra fibre to foods like white bread and other staples without changing the taste or texture, which has been one of the main issues with many commercially-available fibre supplements to date.
“Our product is not even noticeable once added. It’s just like a parent hiding vegetables in a child’s meal to make it more nutritious.”
In Australia, many people fail to get their recommended daily intake of fibre (25g for women; 30g for men). Not getting enough fibre affects the digestive system, and having the correct amount every day counteracts this. It can also have positive effects on blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
Another great benefit of FiberX is that it is more digestible for gluten-intolerant people who have to cut whole grains out of their diet. For these people, it can be even more difficult to get the correct amount of fibre into their diets.
FiberX also has the potential to improve the supply chain in Australia, as well as reduce food waste. The waste generated from the production of staple products like pulses can be used to create FiberX instead of going unused.