Science supports modified starch as fat replacer and creaminess enhancer

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Starch

A potato starch-derived ingredient may enhance the creaminess of low-fat yoghurt to that of its full fat equivalent, according to new research.

Studies with Avebe’s Etenia ingredient also found that the calorie-content of yoghurt could be reduced by over 50 per cent, according to findings published in the journal Food Hydrocolloids​.

Researchers from NIZO food research, working in collaboration with scientists from DSM Food Specialties and the Avebe Food Innovation Centre, independently tested the quality and functionality of the product. They investigated the perception of creaminess in yoghurts formulated with the ingredient in order to reduce the fat content of the final product.

Talking to FoodNavigator, lead author of the paper Arno Alting from NIZO food research in the Netherlands said that the report explains the mechanism behind how the ingredient works.

“We think it is a serious candidate for fat replacement,”​ he said.

Reduction of fat in products is a growing area of interest to food manufacturers as consumers continue to seek out low-fat and low-calorie versions of their favourite foods.

The potato starch-derived ingredient, launched officially at FiE in November 2007 in London, may be labelled as 'starch' rather than 'modified starch', meeting clean label requirements that are being put in place by manufacturers and retailers.

This is an important consumer driver, as there is a general shift away from food additives and ingredients that are seen to be of artificial origin.

In contrast to other starches on the market, Etenia is said to have gelling as well as thickening properties. Moreover, it has some of the same properties as gelatine, the most common gelling agent, but it is vegetarian.

Experimental insights

The researchers formulated low-fat yoghurt with amylomaltase-treated starch (ATS) ingredient. The low-fat yoghurt, containing 1.5 per cent fat, was found to have the same perceived creaminess as full-fat yoghurt with a fat content of 5 per cent.

Moreover, in yoghurts with a fat content of 3 per cent, the ATS was found to be “four times as effective as maltodextrin, which is a current fat replacer in set-style yoghurt”​, wrote the researchers.

The functionality of the ingredient was identified as resulting from discrete domains that are reported to resemble the microstructural behaviour of fat particles.

“The perceived creaminess resulted from in-mouth melting of these ATS domains due to a combined effect of their physical melting and hydrolysis by amylase present in the saliva,”​ wrote Alting and his co-workers.

They note that the energy value of the resulting low-fat yoghurt would also be about half that of the higher-fat yoghurt, since polysaccharides have a lower energy value than fats.

Assuming a conversion factor for fat of nine, compared to four for polysaccharides, Alting and his co-workers calculated that “replacing 3.5 per cent fat in a 5 per cent fat-yoghurt with 2 per cent ATS will result in a reduction of the fat-related energy value from 45 to 21.5 kcal/100 g”​.

Alting told this website that the ingredient could be used in different yoghurt types, including set, drink, and strirred yoghurts. There is also the potential for its use in aerated products, such as mousse and ice cream, and products such as creams and cheeses.

Source: Food Hydrocolloids​Volume 23, Pages 980-987, doi: 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2008.07.011“Improved creaminess of low-fat yoghurt: The impact of amylomaltase-treated starch domains” ​Authors: A.C. Alting, F. van de Velde, M.W. Kanning, M. Burgering, L. Mulleners, A. Sein, P. Buwalda

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