Healthy yoghurt

A new kind of fibre-rich yoghurt not only tickles the gourmet palates, but also promises boosts to healthcare

Published: Saturday 30 September 1995

-- (Credit: Rustam Vania)For yoghurt lovers there is a good news. A relentless battle for marketshare between uk supermarkets has reached the chilled goods section -- in the pots of fibre-rich yoghurt. uk-based Tesco has recently launched Fibre Hi, a yoghurt enriched with soluble fibre. Another British company, J Sainsbury has responded with its own label version. There is much more to this story than just market competition. It's good health which would now be delivered to the consumers because, soluble fibres have digestive properties common to roughages and are also believed to regulate blood cholesterol levels.

The incentive of adding fibre to yoghurt has come from the British government, which, by citing medical evidences, recommends a daily intake of 18 grams, when an average intake is just 12 grams. The race into fibre-rich yoghurts also signals the potential of soluble fibre technology, just as doctors urge people to eat more fibres as healthier alternatives to traditional food products.

Dietary fibres -- soluble and insoluble -- are complex carbohydrates made from a chain of simple sugars which aid in digestion as they are not broken down by enzymes present in the human stomach. A pot of Fibre Hi made by Pro-fibe nutrition, a research company linked with the University of Sutherland -- contains about one and a half times more fibre than a bowl of oat bran.

Soluble fibres have been known to exist in fruits and vegetables and some plant saps, but the technology to extract these fibres without distorting the taste or consistency of the product has been perfected only recently. The new technology developed by Pro-fibe involves crushing the fibrous products and washing out the soluble fibre. This is then washed and spray dried to convert it into soluble additive for foodstuff. The yoghurts come in 3 flavours at Tesco and 4 at Sainsbury.

Meanwhile, SmithKline Beecham, a uk-based healthcare company, has recently launched Ribena Juice and Fibre which the company says, offers about 3 grams of fibre per 250 ml, which is equivalent to 23 prunes.

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