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Citrus, An All Natural Fibre

Nov 24, 2017

Due to the broad definition of fibre as a substance that resists digestion by the upper human digestive system, a wide variety of fibres with different functionalities are available for use as ingredients. They can exist in purified form, like inulin or fructooligosaccharide (FOS), or be left in its natural botanical form, such as wheat bran or citrus fibre, or perhaps even partially purified.


The health benefits of fibre are multifold, but also vary somewhat based on the physio-chemical properties of the fibre, including both the composition and the structural form. Some acknowledged nutritional benefits include: promoting satiety, intestinal bulking, enhancing immune health by promoting growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine, the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that improve the health of the digestive lining, and increased bioavailability of micronutrients.



The quality of the citrus fibre depends somewhat on the source of the fibre material. Whole citrus fibre is taken as it is from the pulp or peel of a citrus fruit and is ideally not further processed beyond drying to a powder. Such citrus fibres are usually obtained from excess material in the juice industry and contribute to a very clean label.


This type of fibre has higher levels of soluble fibre, namely pectin. Some citrus fibre is generated from the process of purifying pectin as a separate ingredient so this type of citrus fibre has a much higher proportion of insoluble fibre, namely cellulose and hemicellulose.


Despite the high dietary fibre content, citrus fibre is rarely used at levels above one percent in food products. This is due to its high water holding capacity. High amounts of citrus fibre would eventually cause textural defects because it outcompetes many other ingredients for water.


Nonetheless, citrus fibre can be a valuable tool in high fibre foods and beverages as a complementary fibre that improves the palatability of the food by addressing common problems associated with health foods, such as lack of moistness and mouthfeel.