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Making seafood products with a high-fiber content.

In the last dozen years or so, different scientific and public health organizations have recommended increasing the consumption of dietary fiber among European populations by at least 50%. In turn, the media coverage of the health benefits of dietary fiber has helped spur on consumer demand, and a boom in the development of dietary fiber-enriched products has taken place.

Some fiber components have antioxidant effects. There have been proposals to classify these components as antioxidant dietary fiber. An antioxidant capacity must be an intrinsic property derived from the natural constituents of a material, and not obtained by an adding an antioxidant or by components released by previous chemical or enzymatic treatments.

Restructured seafood products, in which the fish muscle is broken into smaller or bigger pieces and reshaped to a specific form with a given texture, color or appearance, are very good carriers for the inclusion of some functional ingredients. With this approach, it's possible to introduce dietary fibers into seafood products. If they are antioxidants, the ingredients can provide products with extra benefits, such the ability to maintain the stability of lipids, which are intrinsically present in fish muscle.

Fibers can be extracted from various plant materials, such as the waste fractions from grapes after wine production. This material can be converted to a form suitable for mixing into seafood products. Fibers may be extracted from seaweed and used in the same way.

Dietary fiber comes from the thick cell wall of plants. It is an indigestible complex carbohydrate. Fiber is divided into two general categories: water-soluble and water-insoluble fiber. The current American diet averages only about 10 g of dietary fiber, whereas consumption of 25 g to 40 g is linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer and other intestinal disorders.

Further information. Mercedes Careche, Instituto del Frio, C/Jose Antonio Novais, 10 Madrid E-28040 Spain; phone: +34 91 549 2300; fax: +34 91 549 3627; email:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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