Soluble fiber is most commonly found in oats, beans, barley, fruit and vegetable skins, psyllium fiber, nuts, and seeds.

Soluble Fiber

Also known as soluble dietary fiber


What is Soluble Fiber?

Soluble fiber is a material derived from plant sources that can be added in baking applications to enhance a final product’s properties.

These types of ingredients can act as thickening agents and also lend volume to baked goods, particularly those without gluten. The material is non-digestible by humans.

Origin

Soluble fiber is typically found in plant-derived ingredients. Plants contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. As such, there are any number of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains containing soluble fiber, some of which may be genetically modified.

Fibers are most popularly classified by how they react in water. While soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel, insoluble fiber does not. Some of these fiber-containing plants are routinely consumed by humans; others that are the basis for soluble fibers used in baking and food production, such as chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke are not commonly a part of the standard diet in the United States. Chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke contain inulin, a generally recognized as safe ingredient used as a bulking agent.1

Function

Soluble fiber can be added to fine baked goods to improve the texture of non-traditional baked goods—namely, gluten-free items. This is accomplished by adding both a long flexible, insoluble fiber and a low viscosity soluble fiber, for example. This helps provide structure to a bread during the leavening process.

Other baked goods benefit from the addition of both an insoluble fiber with great water absorption properties and a soluble fiber that has a high viscosity. This helps improve the baked item’s mouthfeel. In some applications the addition of resistant starches and/or gums may be warranted.2

Nutrition

A diet with adequate amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber leads to many health benefits. High fiber diets have been associated with decreased risk of colon cancer and breast cancer.

Commercial production

A naturally-available ingredient, soluble fiber is typically found in a wide variety of plants. Each of these have slightly different properties that contribute to the desired end product. These include:

  • Beta-glucan, found in grains such as oats, rye, and barley
  • Pectin or sugar acids, found in fruits, vegetables legumes, and sugar beets
  • Various gums; inulin, found in foods such as chicory, onions, wheat, and Jerusalem artichokes3

Most often these are derived by extracting or separating the material...


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