Get More Dietary Fiber By Adding Citrus Fiber To Your Meatballs
October 16, 2013

Adding Citrus Fiber To Meatballs Can Increase Dietary Fiber Content

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Researchers from the University of Missouri have discovered a novel new way to help people fulfill their daily recommended amount of dietary fiber – by adding a little zest to their meatballs.

In their study, doctoral student Ayca Gedikoglu and associate professor of food science Andrew Clarke reported that most Americans typically consume just half of the dietary fiber recommended by health experts. In order to help increase that intake, they set out to create meatballs that included citrus fiber without adversely affecting the taste and overall quality of the product.

Gedikoglu discussed the research during a presentation this week at the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) conference. She and Clarke recently completed their first test of their newly developed recipe. The trial consisted of three different batches of meatballs, each with different amounts (one percent, five percent and 10 percent) of citrus powder being used as a meat substitute.

The goal was “to see how much of the sweet and tangy powder could be added without adversely affecting the meatballs' texture and cooking characteristics,” the university explained in a statement. The investigators found that adding citrus fiber increased the cooking yield of the recipe they used, and that both the color and texture of the meatballs were acceptable when either one percent or five percent was added.

According to Gedikoglu, a “restaurant-sized” serving of the citrus meatballs, which contained two percent of the added powder, contained approximately five grams of fiber. Fiber, which is typically found in whole grains, fruit and vegetables, can help people maintain their normal weight, reduce their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and prevent or relieve the symptoms of constipation. Regular meatballs contain no fiber.

“Soluble fiber, found mainly in whole grains and some fruits, is particularly beneficial for diabetics, because fiber slows sugar absorption and improves blood sugar levels,” the university said. “Fiber tends to make a person feel full faster and stay full longer because it is less ‘energy dense,’ which means the product contains fewer calories.”

The researchers suggest using citrus powder, which is made from citrus peels, as a replacement for bread crumbs in their meatball recipes. The substance can be ordered online for a “relatively inexpensive price,” Gedikoglu said, and could also be added to hamburger recipes to add fiber and “capitalize on the tangy citrus flavor.” She and Clarke now plan to conduct a series of taste tests, as well as analyze the potential antioxidant benefits of the powder.