Sweet findings: Prebiotic sugar replacers pack nutrition, improve gluten-free bread

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Use of prebiotic sugar substitutes in gluten-free bread hold great promise, say researchers
Use of prebiotic sugar substitutes in gluten-free bread hold great promise, say researchers

Related tags Fructooligosaccharide Sugar

The incorporation of prebiotic sugar substitutes can optimize nutrition and improve the eating quality and consumer acceptance of gluten-free bread, research finds.

Published in the International Journal of Food Science & Technology ​the study investigated the influence of sugar substitutes, as sweeteners and prebiotics, in gluten-free breads.

The sweeteners, sugar and prebiotics used in the study were raw sugar, sucralose, fructose, stevia, fructooligosaccharides (oglifructose) and inulin.

The researchers from the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil, said: “The addition of prebiotic and sweetener opens up new opportunities to develop gluten-free breads that may present similar properties to those of wheat-based breads.”

In particular, the incorporation of prebiotics oligofructose (fructooligosaacharides) and inulin as sugar replacers hold exciting prospects to optimize nutrition in gluten-free breads, they said.

“Prebiotics such as inulin and fructooligosaacharides (FOS) belong to a class of carbohydrates known as fructans and are considered functional ingredients, once they have a positive influence on physiological and biochemical processes in the body, resulting in improved health and reduction in risk of developing many diseases.”

The researchers said incorporation of the prebiotics was particularly important given many people with celiac disease are also diabetic.

Sensory appeal with prebiotic sugar replacers

Gluten-free breads made with oligofructose were the most acceptable in terms of overall liking – including aroma, volume and texture, the study found.

The researchers also used time-intensity analysis to verify changes in the perception of the bread’s flavors (sweetness and yeast) over time. The sensory technique stretches beyond descriptive analysis, the researchers said.

Oligofructose gave a perception of sweetness in the bread, not far off that of raw sugar.

Samples with inulin, fructose, sucralose and stevia did not cause the similar perceived intensity of sweetness that raw sugar and FOS did. “However, it was observed that these ingredients prolong the perception of sweetness as compared to sugar and FOS,”​ the researchers added.

Inulin also created a long perception of a stimulus yeast flavor in the gluten-free bread.

Earlier research published in the same journal by different researchers from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, investigated use of Jerusalem artichoke - a natural prebiotic fiber in - bread. They said it offered opportunities to create novel bakery products​.

Source: International Journal of Food Science & Technology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/ijfs.12202. In print, October 2013: Vol 48, Issue 10, pages 2176-2184
“Gluten-free bread: multiple time-intensity analysis, physical characterization and acceptance test”
Authors: E. Carvalho de Morais, A. Gomez Cruz and H. Maria Andre Bolini

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