In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the approved use of polydextrose as a bulking agent, formulation aid, humectant and texturizer to include all categories of beverages. Danisco, maker of Litesse polydextrose, says it spearheaded the revised regulation, and that the ingredient can now be part of new formulations for products such as yogurt drinks, soft drinks, juice-based drinks, smoothies and flavored waters.

Health benefits of polydextrose

Polydextrose is a 1 kcal/gram specialty carbohydrate that is prebiotic, sugar free, high in fiber and low glycemic. These properties are said to promote digestive health. For those such as diabetics seeking to control their blood sugar levels, polydextrose also can reduce the glycemic response of many beverages.

According to Danisco, studies indicate that foods made with polydextrose have a satiating effect — allowing consumers to feel satisfied longer. By inducing satiety with the consumption of fewer calories, polydextrose can be used in meal-replacement beverages developed for weight management. These benefits, combined with its sugar replacement and calorie reduction attributes, make polydextrose a key ingredient in the development of “better for you” products, the company says.

In addition to its health benefits, Danisco says, polydextrose can improve flavor, texture and mouthfeel in a wide range of beverages. It has a neutral flavor that can mask the off-notes that may occur in nutritional beverages that contain soy, vitamins, minerals and other supplements. Polydextrose is non-sweet even though it has many of the functional properties of sugar. Formulators can use polydextrose to balance sweetness as it is compatible with other sugars and high-intensity sweeteners.
— Danisco Sweeteners, 565 Taxter Road No. 590, Elmsford, N.Y. 10523; 914/592-1400;