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More fibre in your diet? Hutton science can help

Barley, a fibre-rich crop (c) James Hutton Institute
"As part of the Institute’s recent Tay Cities International Barley Hub success, Hutton researchers are targeting alternative dietary fibres in barley and this could expand the use of barley in our diet besides whisky and beer"

Most of us need to get more fibre into our diets, we now hear, but we’re also told that it’s quite hard to do that. Happily, our scientists have been working on ways to help get past that difficulty, through several strands of research with industry on plant-derived dietary fibre.

Oats (and barley) have legally-approved claims for improving human health, specifically reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and reducing cholesterol, and the James Hutton Institute is part of projects dedicated to improving these benefits by enhancing the crop itself. These health claims are based on the natural polymer beta-glucan, the component in oats that make it stick to the cooking pot.

As part of the Institute’s recent Tay Cities International Barley Hub success, Hutton researchers are targeting alternative dietary fibres in barley and this could expand the use of barley in our diet besides whisky and beer.

Professor Derek Stewart, Hutton agrifood sector lead, commented: “There are other natural polymers in our foods that act as dietary fibre. For example, starchy crops once they have been cooked and allowed to cool, called retrograding, make the starch indigestible to our common digestive enzymes, making the retrograded starch a fibre. 

“This means that the consumer themselves can enhance their dietary fibre intake via, for example, cooking, cooling then reheating potato, a classic starch source in our diet.  Worth noting is that potato also has innate non-starch dietary fibres. For example, if you eat a baked potato make sure you eat the skin as this is a good dietary fibre source.”

Other work ongoing is looking at the primary waste in agriculture as a feedstock for creating dietary fibre food ingredients. For example, research ongoing between the James Hutton Institute and the Rowett Research Institute, funded by the Scottish Government, is looking at bean hulls, a coproduct of bean processing, as a viable route to dietary fibre production. This would go into processed foods and can deliver health ‘by stealth’.

Finally, the James Hutton Institute is a world leader in fruit research and its translation into industry applications. Fruit are great routes to enjoyable and readily available dietary fibre, supplementing those that can be obtained from cooked foods.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/more-fibre-your-diet-hutton-science-can-help on 25/05/19 06:17:44 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.