Reduced-fat fresh cheese with inulin
As nutrition is moving towards the use of foods to promote better health and well-being, low-fat, probiotic and prebiotic foods are increasing in importance among consumers. The consumer of today is health conscious and demands foods which are both tasty and low in fat and calories, as well as offering additional health benefits. The production of reduced- or low-fat cheeses has significantly increased; however, fat has an important role in the development of flavour, texture and appearance of cheese.
Removal of fat from cheese therefore causes textural, functional and sensory defects such as rubbery texture, lack of flavour, bitterness, off-flavour, poor meltability and undesirable colour. A strategy proposed for improving the flavour and texture of low-fat cheese is the use of fat replacers. Inulin has been available as an ingredient for application in the food industy, where it is used in a large variety of food products, for both its technological and nutritional benefits.
Inulin possesses characteristics of dietary fibers, with beneficial effects for human health. It has been shown that fibers decrease or prevent certain pathologies such as coronary decease, hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and gatrintestinal disorders. Inulin also promotes healthy bacteria growth in the colon and enhances calcium absorption and immune functions. In addition to its beneficial effects on health, inulin also has interesting technological properties: low calorie sweetener, bulking agent, fat substitute and texture modifier.
Researcher of the Centre Especial de Recerca Planta de Technologia dels Aliments (CERPTA) developed a reduced-fat fresh cheese with 5% of inulin added and with sensory characteristics similar to the conventional product, and with health benefits arising from the presence of the prebiotic. This study shows that inulin can be successfully used as a fat replacer in reduced-fat fresh cheese.
Juan, Bibiana; Zamora, Anna; Quintana, Felix; Guamis, Buenaventura, and Trujillo, Antonio-José. Effect of Inulin additon on the sensorial properties of reduced-fat fresh cheese. International Journal of Dairy Technology 66: 478-483. 2013.