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Olive fibre may replace fat in meat products

By Stephen Daniells , 18-Sep-2009

Fibre obtained from the waste of olive mills may mimic the effects of fat, and improve the product’s cooking properties, says a new study with low-fat potential.

Greek and Swedish researchers found that the olive mill waste fibre, in combination with carrot fibre and potato starch led to fat reductions of between two and five grams compared to a lean meatball, report researchers from Lund University and the Technical University of Crete.

With obesity levels rising across the globe, consumers are increasingly seeking out low-fat and low-calorie versions of their favourite foods. As a result reduction of fat in products is a growing area of interest to food manufacturers.

“A potential additive should not only improve the water-holding properties of the meatballs, but it should also provide palatability to the final product as fat, being replaced, often contribute to the taste of the product,” explained the researchers in the journal LWT – Food Science and Technology.

“To the best of our knowledge, there are no reports on the use of fibres recovered from olive mill waste as a fat replacement in meat products and therefore this is the objective of this study,” they added.

Mediterranean meatballs

The researchers, led by Charis Galanakis, prepared a number of meatballs containing lean meats, with and without potato starch, and in the presence of different types of fibre, including dietary fibre from an alcohol insoluble residue (AIR), of olive mill wastewater, and a water soluble, alcohol insoluble residue (WSAIR). A fatty meat recipe was also prepared for comparison.

According to their findings, despite good fat reduction of the AIR, the water-holding capacity, a measure of the succulence of the product, was poor. “Thereby, AIR material could not in the present form be considered as a potential fat replacement in meat products,” said the researchers.

On the other hand, the WSAIR exhibited good water-holding capacity as well as a reduction in the uptake of oil during frying, they said. Addition of the carrot fibre improved both measures further.

“WSAIR could be utilized together with carrot fibers as additive in low fat meatballs, since it was able to improve the cooking properties of the product, by restricting the oil uptake and thereby giving rise to meatballs with sustained reduced fat content,” wrote Galanakis and his co-workers.

“Further investigations are needed in order to purify WSAIR material with a purpose of improving its water-holding properties,” they concluded.

Source: LWT - Food Science and Technology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2009.09.011
“Dietary Fiber Suspensions from Olive Mill Wastewater as Potential Fat Replacements in Meatballs”
Authors: C.M. Galanakis, E. Tornberg, V. Gekas

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