New On The Market: Meioligo
Monday, December 7th, 2020
People are attracted to sweet food, often to the detriment of their own health*. However, with the proper ingredient, food that tastes sweet could also have health benefits.
In this article, we discuss the benefits of Meioligo, a prebiotic which has a sweet and pleasant taste that would appeal to the young and old alike*. This gut-health-promoting product is produced by Tereos in partnership with Meiji Food Materia Co., Ltd.
The Composition Of Meioligo
Derived from sugar, Meioligo is made up of original compositions of GF2 (1-kestose), GF3 (1-nystose), and GF4 (fructofuranosyl-nystose)—all of which are indigestible carbohydrates, also known as short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scFOS), that can be naturally found in many fruits, grains and vegetables*.
In order to ensure high yield and purity, Meioligo is manufactured using Meiji’s proprietary method which involves subjecting sugar through enzymatic processes using non-GMO microorganisms before being filtrated. As a result, each unit of Meioligo is guaranteed to contain at least 95 percent of scFOS.
The Benefits Of Meioligo
scFOS has been consistently shown to have an important role to play in the overall health of the individual, through its effect on the gut.
The most intuitive benefit of good gut health is undoubtedly improved bowel function*. The scFOS in Meioligo contributes to this by selectively stimulating the growth and activity of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract – specifically Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli—a lack of which has been associated with health disorders such as inflammatory bowel syndrome, obesity and colorectal cancer*.
Beyond bowel function, these helpful microbes also contribute to health by enhancing gut barrier function, exhibiting anti-microbial properties, and through the production of essential vitamins and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)*. These functions extend the benefits of scFOS from the gut to overall health.
For example, the risk of osteoporosis—a bone disease caused by a chronic lack of calcium—could potentially be minimised through the consumption of scFOS. scFOS achieves this by enhancing gut barrier function, allowing for more effective absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium*.
The consumption of scFOS has also been linked to improved immune functioning. Numerous trials on pre-clinical models such as mice and pigs found that scFOS improves immune function by targeting specific components in the system linked to the reduction of infection and the building up of the body’s defense against viruses and diseases*. In addition, the fermentation of scFOS produces SCFAs, a metabolic by-product which possesses immunomodulatory activity.
Apart from strengthening the immune system, scFOS, through the production of SCFAs like butyrate, can also help to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases and even diabetes*. At this point, it must be pointed out that scFOS is not the only source of SCFAs. By-products of scFOS can also be produced through the fermentation of other longer-chained prebiotics such as inulin. However, because of the shorter chain of FOS, it can be fermented by more types of gut bacteria and at a significantly higher rate, resulting in a higher yield given a similar amount of reactants*. For instance, even a low dose of scFOS (2.5g/day) has been found to be sufficient for fermentation, as compared to the higher dose required by other prebiotics like inulin*.
All in all, the myriad health benefits of scFOS are uncontestable. Given the conditions of the current world—COVID-19 pandemic and aging population—consumers are likely to seek out products that can address these specific concerns. Meioligo is a promising functional ingredient in the market because of its specific potential to improve immune function and prevent aging-associated illnesses such as osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The Application Of Meioligo
Apart from its numerous health benefits, Meioligo is also easily applied in food processes. High stability of Meioligo across wide ranges of pH and temperatures allows it to remain stable in various processing conditions and through its shelf life.
More importantly, Meioligo has a taste profile that is similar to that of sucrose, making it an ingredient that can be easily incorporated into different food and beverages. Unlike many other sweetening agents, Meioligo has a pleasant and clean taste, and a sweetening power of 0.3. Hence, it is an effective flavour enhancer that can improve the overall taste profile of both sweet and savoury foods.
Taste aside, Meioligo also provides a good mouthfeel to food products. Because Meioligo is highly soluble and also comes in the form of very fine particles, it has a smooth mouthfeel that is especially ideal for products such as ice cream and milk. In addition, when dissolved, Meioligo has a viscosity similar to that of sucrose and maltose. This means that it can also easily complement fluid foods such as jams and sauces.
Finally, Meioligo is a good sugar substitute because of its health benefits. Other than the health benefits that comes with its high concentration of scFOS, Meioligo also has a low caloric value of 2kcal/g and a low glycemic index (GI) of 8, making it a suitable sweetening agent even in low GI diets.
With its versatility, Meioligo can be applied to a wide range of existing and new products, making it a great way to develop food products that achieve the best of both health and taste.
In conclusion, Tereos’ Meioligo gives food and beverages a pleasant, yet subtle, sweet taste and an ideal mouthfeel suitable for a wide variety of food products from ice creams to noodles. Yet, despite its sweetness, it confers health benefits to consumers such as improved gut health and immune functioning, and is suitable for use as a sugar replacement in both regular and special diets.
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