March 23rd 2023
Tapioca starch sweetener gets GRAS status from the FDA.
Resistant dextrin derived from tapioca starch — which is a sweetener called FiberSmart made by Anderson Advanced Ingredients — received generally recognized as safe status from the FDA. This means the ingredient can be more easily incorporated into food products.
FiberSmart is made through a process involving roasting and drying tapioca starch to create the sweetener. It is more than 90% dietary fiber and is 20% as sweet as sugar. The ingredient also is low glycemic and can be used in a wide variety of applications, including baked goods, beverages, cereals and bars, candies and frozen desserts.
As consumers are being more cautious about what they eat, a new better-for-you natural sweetener creates another choice for manufacturers.
FiberSmart is the latest new sweetener to gain approval from the FDA. Its versatility and nutritional benefits make it stand out as companies create food and drink that both taste good and benefit the health of the consumer.
The ingredient has been available since 2015, and is recognized as a dietary fiber. Anderson Advanced Ingredients says that it is water soluble and has a smooth mouthfeel, unlike some fibers that feel gritty.
FiberSmart also has promise as a substitute for maltodextrin, a common ingredient for thickening, texturizing and preservation that is in many CPG items. Maltodextrin has a high glycemic index, while FiberSmart does not.
“We have received so much positive feedback about FiberSMART not only for its versatility and tolerability, but also because its tight tolerances around water activity improve on product consistency and production run times,” John Jarmul, vice president of marketing at Anderson Advanced Ingredients, said in a statement. “It’s a great product for lowering sugar content and increasing fiber without sacrificing taste or texture.”
Because it is a fiber, Anderson Advanced Ingredients wanted to ensure the ingredient would not cause any digestive issues for consumers. A study by Australia’s Murdoch University Centre for Molecular Medicine found even a double dose of the recommended amount of the ingredient was well tolerated by testers.
Ingredients such as FiberSmart are becoming more sought after by manufacturers seeking to make products that are healthy, clean label and low in sugar. Because FiberSmart is not a sugar, it does not appear on Nutrition Facts labels as one.
With GRAS status, FiberSmart could be on its way to wider adoption in a variety of food items. But like most alternative sweeteners, it’s not likely to be used on its own.
While there is a vast array of sweeteners derived from plants, fruits, starches and proteins, most do not behave exactly like sugar. FiberSmart has just a fifth of the sweetening power as the same amount of sugar, and as a fiber does not have many of its functional properties.
This kind of ingredient can cut back on the amount of sugar that is needed for a product, or it can be used with other more intensely sweet alternatives.