Taiyo: Soluble fiber, low FODMAP and future innovative combinations


28 Mar 2018 --- Taiyo’s Technical Sales Director Derek Timm Ph.D., RDN, speaks to NutritionInsight about the company’s soluble fiber ingredient; Sunfiber, which it touts as providing all the benefits of a dietary fiber, without the negatives. Although Sunfiber has mainly been featured in medical and beverage applications, Taiyo plans to broaden this scope by combining the ingredient with other bioactives to target health concerns that go beyond digestion, the gut and regularity. For example, Taiyo’s entry into the “mood food” space is signified by its range of products targeting the "gut-brain axis." 

Sunfiber was in 2017 certified as a Monash University low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) fiber. The certification makes the product suitable for the low FODMAP diet, which is thought to benefit those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, this diet often excludes fibers as many of these belong among the FODMAPs. In this way, IBS sufferers run the risk of failing to reach the sufficient daily fiber intake of 25 to 30 grams.

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Taiyo’s Technical Sales Director
Derek Timm Ph.D., RDN

Although there are some suggestions that the low FODMAP diet is limited in its ability to appeal to a wide audience, this type of diet has been credited with reducing pain due to the gas formation caused by the gut flora metabolism during digestion. However, the introduction of a fiber as a certified low FODMAP product could aid those following the diet in remaining regular. 

NutritionInsight: What is specific to Taiyo’s production of fiber from guar gum?
: “It essentially comes down to the optimization of the chain length and structure of the fiber. It’s a galactomannan fiber and ferments at a slower rate than some other fibers. Quick fermentation can cause flatulence and bloating, but as Sunfiber has a longer chain length, it does not cause any osmotic diarrhea that some other fibers may cause.” 

“Taiyo has partially broken down the guar to be able to optimize the viscosity. So, rather than it being a very thick consistency, it goes into solutions perfectly clear. It is tasteless, odorless, colorless and pH stable, making it an ideal fiber for many food and drink applications.” 

NutritionInsight: What benefits does Sunfiber hold over other market fiber options?
: “Sunfiber has 180 studies behind it that prove that it has physiological benefits ranging from laxation, improvements in IBS symptoms, decreases in cholesterol, blood glucose attenuation as well as decreases in hunger. The USFDA now requires studies demonstrating physiological effects, such as these, to constitute an ingredient as a dietary fiber.”

“The certification positions us really well as a qualified dietary fiber. This will become particularly important in 2020, when new fiber regulations will take effect. Products already containing Sunfiber will not have to be reformulated. Whereas other products may be forced to re-formulate or lose the ability to declare dietary fiber in their products. Overall, we are well positioned from both an organoleptic standpoint, as well as a health benefit standpoint, to grow our market share and benefit the consumer.”

NutritionInsight: Sunfiber is the first Monash University certified low FODMAP fiber, what does this certification mean for Sunfiber?
: “Not only are we the first ingredient, but we are the first fiber to be certified as low FODMAP by Monash University. It not only affirms our benefits for IBS symptoms, but it is also important because in the US, many registered dieticians and health practitioners are only just becoming familiar with FODMAP’s. They often associate low FODMAP with low fiber, and although that can be true in some cases, we think it is a mistake. If you are having digestive issues already and then all the fiber is taken out, it could exacerbate these conditions. There needs to be some fiber in the diet to help people stay regular.”

NutritionInsight: Do you see the low FODMAP diet as something having particular growth potential?
: “The low FODMAP is something of a growing trend. We have even seen some US retailers with low FODMAP aisles in their stores, adjacent to gluten-free sections. We are trying to raise the awareness of our Monash partnership for people who choose to adhere to a low FODMAP diet. Not everyone needs to do follow this dietary pattern, as that is completely unnecessary, but for the 10 to 15 percent of the population who do have IBS, we are well positioned to respond to their needs.”

NutritionInsight: Which applications areas have you experienced the most growth within?
: “Typically, Sunfiber has been used in medical foods and beverages, and also in powder form. We are still experiencing the most growth in beverage applications. It’s a great application for Sunfiber because it doesn’t affect the flavor, aroma or the viscosity of the liquid. Sunfiber is also still used in quite a few diabetic friendly products and dietary supplements world-wide.”

NutritionInsight: What about future expansion into other market areas?
: “Future expansion could be into all different fields, even in bar applications as this is a popular area for consumers. Again, I think where we are well positioned in health benefit standpoints

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due to our certified dietary fiber status.”

NutritionInsight: Is there a space for Sunfiber to be combined with other bioactive ingredients?
: Probiotics – “Yes, we are looking into a combination of Sunfiber with either a bifidobacteria or lactobacillus bacteria. We have even been able to agglomerate them together. It’s not a big limitation on which probiotic can be used, it’s more a matter of what the consumer wants and what is available.”

Cranberry powder – “We are looking to combine our guar with soluble cranberry juice concentrate from Fruit D’Or. They produce a standardized powdered cranberry product, which is tested for total PAC, or proanthocyanidins, content. What we are targeting here is urinary tract health combined with the gastrointestinal improvements from the Sunfiber.”

Gut-brain axis – “We see the gut-brain axis as really exploding in the scientific world, but we don’t see a lot of consumer products yet. At Expo West this year a product, Fundamentals Pack, saw its debut, combining Taiyo’s Suntheanine, which has a calming yet alert effect on the brain, and Sunfiber. The Fundamentals Pack went on to win an award, and is backed up by multiple separate studies on both components, but we are working on producing evidence that ties them together. Despite this, we are in a really strong position to take leadership in this emerging area of gut-brain products.”

By Laxmi Haigh

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

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