Several studies suggest most Americans consume about half the daily amount of dietary fiber they need. Low calorie dietary fiber is mainly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Soluble fiber is found in whole grains and some fruits.
An ongoing shortage of fiber in the diet is associated with weight gain, constipation, heart disease and diabetes. Soluble fiber, in particularly, is important for diabetics because it slows the absorption of sugar, thus keeping blood sugar levels lower. Fiber also helps a person feel full faster and stay full longer, thus potentially lowering the amount of food eaten during or between meals.
High Fiber Citrus Powder
To help increase the amount of fiber Americans consume, a research team at the University of Missouri experimented with adding citrus fiber to ground beef. They wanted to find out if adding the fiber would affect the quality and taste of the meat.
Ayca Gedikoglu, a doctoral student studying food science in the Missouri University College of Agriculture, and Andrew Clarke, associate professor of food science, recently completed the first tests using a citrus meatball recipe. The food researchers created three meatball recipes in which various amounts of meat were replaced with citrus power. The first batch contained 1% citrus powder, the second contained 5% and the third contained 10%.
How much of the meat could be replaced with this sweet and tangy powder without adversely affecting the texture, taste and overall quality of the meatballs? Gedikoglu discovered that at both 1% and 5% levels, the citrus fiber not only increased the cooking yield of the meatball recipe, but that the texture and color of the meatballs remained good.
Traditionally, meatballs contain no fiber. In contrast, a restaurant sized serving of Gedikoglu’s citrus meatballs, containing just 2% citrus powder, would contain approximately five grams of fiber. This finding offers potentially healthy options for both home and commercial food preparation. High fiber citrus powder, made from citrus peels, is already available commercially at a relatively inexpensive price.
Gedikoglu plans to do further nutritional studies related to the antioxidant benefits of citrus powder. Citrus fruits, particularly their peels, are rich with flavonoids, a nutrient in plants that can help prevent diseases in humans such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Gedikoglu will also conduct a series of taste tests, which will be of interest to commercial food companies. Gedikoglu thinks adding citrus powder to some hamburger recipes would capitalize on the tangy citrus flavor.
Gedikoglu will present her study at the 2014 American Meat Science Association (AMSA) conference in Madison, Wisconsin.