Formulating Lower Carbohydrate Beverages

Recent growth of products containing lower and reduced levels of carbohydrates have created the challenge of formulating beverages with physical stability and organoleptic acceptance. Consumers are demanding more choices for healthier diets without sacrificing product quality when making those choices.
Lower carbohydrate beverages face the challenges of maintaining body and mouthfeel when solids are removed. Physical stability also becomes a concern as the removal of sugar and other solids may result in problems with sedimentation and separation control.
There are unique benefits of FMC carrageenan and Avicel cellulose gel (microcrystalline cellulose) when used in beverage systems. The primary function of each is to stabilize beverages by maintaining insoluble components in uniform suspension for the length of the product’s shelf life. Additionally, there are the benefits of preventing serum/phase separation and the stabilization of existing emulsions to minimize fat/oil separation. These ingredients will also impart or modify the texture and mouthfeel properties of finished beverages, particularly when sugar solids are removed.
FMC BioPolymer offers cellulose gel and carrageenan for their functionality as stabilizers, suspending agents, thickeners, texture modifiers and dosage controllers. These ingredients provide the qualities and superior stabilization normally found in full-sugar beverages. FMC BioPolymer cellulose gel products yield essentially “zero net carbs” as based on the Atkins nomenclature. In addition to the multi-functional properties they provide in beverage applications, Avicel cellulose gel and FMC carrageenan contribute to the total level of insoluble and/or soluble fiber content and follow “zero net carb” nomenclature.
R&D News
Archer Daniels Midland opened its new culinary center last month at its headquarters in Decatur, Ill. Bringing together the skills and experience of research chefs, food application experts and sensory specialists, the culinary center focuses on developing the multi-disciplinary functions in the interaction of ingredient texture, flavor and function. “At ADM’s new culinary center, our research chefs and R&D staff will provide customers with new product ideas, offer insight into incorporating the latest functional food ingredients and help customers get to market faster and more effectively,” says Graham Keen, vice president of corporate marketing at ADM. Wild Flavors Inc. is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, having established itself as an all-natural ingredients innovator in the food and beverage business. “Our success has been very rewarding given the challenges we faced when we founded Wild Flavors 10 years ago,” says Hans-Peter Wild, Wild Flavors chairman. “During this time, we’ve established our credibility as a premier supplier to our customers and the food industry as a whole. Going forward, we remain committed to providing the excellence and innovation to the North American food and beverage industry that have made us successful throughout the world.” DSM Nutritional Products announced it has made a breakthrough in understanding how lycopene can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. In a new study, DSM scientists found that pure lycopene significantly reduces the effect of the major male hormone (androgen) on the prostate. DSM says the findings are a significant step toward understanding the role lycopene and vitamin E in disease prevention.
The science and art of Beverage Stabilization
Avicel cellulose gel is a water phase stabilizer. While not water soluble, microcrystals form a colloidal dispersion in the aqueous phase. The insoluble particles can stabilize both oil and water phase ingredients. The physical, three-dimensional network and thixotropic rheology (thixotropy) of Avicel and Avicel-plus cellulose gel provide a stable matrix that allows for the suspension of heavy particulates, without gelling or inhibiting flow. This characteristic is important in both water- and milk-based beverages. When properly dispersed, they set up at the oil-water interface of the beverage system to physically prevent oil globules from coalescing and forming the “creaming” layer commonly associated with unstable beverages. This defect can typically occur during processing where homogenization or emulsification systems are insufficient. However, the Avicel network is not weakened by temperature, as is the case with soluble hydrocolloids. FMC products are, therefore, useful stabilizers under high heat processing conditions, e.g. UHT and retort.
Avicel-plus Cellulose Gel is also a co-processed product consisting of microcrystalline cellulose co-processed with one or more value-added ingredients. The Avicel-plus line was developed to address a variety of needs, including improved mouthfeel, suspension with minimal thickening, suspension at low viscosity and improved flavor release.
In low-carb beverage systems, one could improve the quality and cost by replacing sugar and high fructose corn syrup with MCC while maintaining the texture and rheological properties of a full-sugar product. These benefits impart creaminess and added body, despite reduced solids, through management of increased water.
Carrageenan is the only soluble hydrocolloid capable of permanently suspending cocoa in chocolate milk and other beverages. Carrageenan provides stability in beverages via one of two means. The first is through interaction with milk protein, which can form very weak thixotropic gels at low concentrations. The second is through water binding and increasing the viscosity of the fluid phase. Both systems offer suspension of insoluble solids. At low concentrations below the gelation temperatures of various types of carrageenan, thixotropic properties result. Weak gels are formed that flow easily when poured; yet will “re-heal” to uniformly suspend insoluble solids when allowed to set quiescently. Various types of carrageenan can be used in combination to aid in the overall physical stability of beverages while allowing for manipulation of viscosity and textural properties.
Other gum/starch combinations will temporarily suspend cocoa due to viscosity effects. However, these blends are heavy bodied and may leave a gummy film on the tongue, which masks flavor receptors. The functions/benefits of some FMC BioPolymer carrageenans traditionally used for stabilization of dairy beverages include:
- Suspension of cocoa, calcium and other insoluble particulates over prolonged storage periods
- Stabilization of fat and prevention of creaming
- Excellent flavor release
- Shear and heat stability throughout processing
- Does not require preheat treatment with milk before UHT pasteurization
- Has a uniquely wide spread between sedimentation and gelation
As multi-functional stabilizers, FMC BioPolymer Avicel, Avicel-plus and FMC BioPolymer carrageenans are odorless, tasteless and non-caloric. They can favorably impact the processing, texture and stability of reduced-sugar and low-carb beverages.
For more information, contact Ross White, applications manager, or Bruce Poulterer, dairy business development manager, at FMC BioPolymer, Philadelphia, Pa.; 800/526-3649 or