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This starch yearns to be a fiber.

This statch yearns to be a fiber

Until a few years ago, scientists believed starch was fully absorbed in the small intestine, especially if it came from food that had been heated, as starchy foods usually are, says Nils-Georg Asp, a food chemist at Lund University in Sweden. His research now suggests heating can change that.

At the August International Congress on Nutrition in Seoul, Korea, Asp reported that heating amylose -- the relatively soluble portion of a starch granule -- under wet conditions can cause a crystallization that realigns its molecules into a lattice structure. "And we've shown that compact crystallization makes this starch resistant to digestion" he says. As a result, he says, some of the amylose in processed foods will escape digestion and behave "like a soluble fiber."

Chemists don't always include this crystallized starch when figuring a food's fiber tally. If they did, Asp's data suggest, it could boost the fiber content of white bread by about 50 percent and double or triple the fiber in corn flakes.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 25, 1989
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