On my quest to discover all sweeteners with soluble fibers sold in supermarkets,
I found over 40 products
Click the Try it button of each sweetener to be linked to Amazon
where you can read reviews, labels, Q&As, and price.
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Quick Facts about Sweet Fibers
Sweet soluble fibers are composed of short chains (aka oligomers) or long chains (aka polymers) of fructose or glucose. Soluble fibers are not digested in the small intestine, and so provide less calories than sugars. They reach the large intestine intact. Being fermented by microbes in the large intestine, they offer a variety of health benefits such as improved bowel function. The side effects of soluble fibers is that if eaten alone in empty stomach or in excess, they may cause digestive discomfort, bloating, stomach rumble, flatulence, and diarrhea but these effects vary from person to person. These effects are more common in unaccustomed consumers as adaptation may happen over time. It is like when you have too much high-fiber foods such as beans.
Dietary fibers used as sweeteners include inulin, fructooligosacharides, and isomaltooligosaccharides. Inulin is a mixture of short and long chains of (2 to 60) fructose molecules. It may be extracted from Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root or agave. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are linear chains of (< 9) fructose molecules. FOS are present in yacon syrup, yacon powder, or may be produced from inulin. Isomaltooligosaccharides (IMO) are short chains of glucose molecules produced from tapioca (cassava) starch.
The sweetness of soluble fibers is mild. Inulin is only slightly sweet, 10 to 30% as sweet as sugar. FOS and IMO are 30 to 65% as sweet as sugar. They provide less than half the calories of table sugar, varying from 1 to 2 calories per gram or about 10 calories per teaspoon.
Quick Facts about Yacon
Yacon is a plant farmed in Peru and its root, which looks a lot like a sweet potato, is rich in fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Yacon syrup and powder are obtained from the juice of the yacon root. I found 15 products (see above) imported from Peru.
Yacon syrup & powder do not consist of pure soluble fibers. They are blends of sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose) and FOS. Both are low GI sweeteners and about 30% less sweet than table sugar. Yacon syrup has a dark color and consistency similar to cane molasses. It provides about 7 calories per teaspoon. Yacon powder works well in baked goods as it does not readily dissolve in liquids. It provides about 25 calories per teaspoon.
Disadvantage: Eaten alone in empty stomach or in excess may cause adverse gastrointestinal effects.
What happens to dietary fibers in our body?
Let's take table sugar to draw a comparison between digestible carbohydrates (table sugar) and nondigestible carbohydrates (soluble fibers):
Digestible carbohydrates - In our body, table sugar (sucrose) is broken down to simple sugars such as fructose and glucose. Some of the sucrose is broken apart in our stomach by acids. In the small intestine, sucrose is further split by the action of enzymes. Only fructose and glucose are absorbed from the small intestine into the bloodstream to be metabolized in the body.
Nondigestible carbohydrates - Sweet dietary fibers (inulin and oligosaccharides such as FOS and IMO) are not broken down and absorbed in the small intestine. They reach the large intestine intact and are completely fermented by intestinal bacteria. So, even though we cannot metabolize them, microbes in the lower digestive tract can. That's why their caloric value is not zero. It is estimated that those sweeteners provide about 2 calories per gram. They offer a variety of health benefits such as improved bowel function. Eaten alone in empty stomach or in excess may cause adverse gastrointestinal effects.
Blood Glucose Level - As opposed to table sugar, sweet fibers do not increase blood sugar levels because glucose is not produced in the fermentation by gut bacteria.
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