Healthy Polysaccharides The Next Chapter in Food Products

Jerome Warrand1,2*

Laboratoire des Glucides – EPMV (CNRS-FRE 2779), IUT d’Amiens (GB), Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Avenue des Facultés – Le Bailly, FR-80025 Amiens Cedex 1, France

2Unilever Food and Health Research Institute (UFHRI), Olivier van Noortlaan 120, NL-3133 AT Vlaardingen, The Netherlands

Article history:

Received December 1, 2005
Accepted March 11, 2006

Key words:

beneficial polysaccharides, health, nutraceuticals, dietary fibre, prebiotics, food industry, low-fat/calorie products, food mimetic, fat replacers, nutrition


New lifestyles of modern countries have contributed to the appearance of chronic diseases such as obesity or cardiovascular diseases, which are mainly due to bad eating habits. Solutions can be found in providing the consumers with functional foods with health capability. With the supplementation of food products during the first step with for example vitamins, minerals (Ca2+, Mg2+) or essential fatty acids to improve their health properties, another strategy has grown up in the last decade with the development of low-fat products. These lipids, originally present in the food product (and removed), are responsible for its texture. The solution has been found in the discovery of the polysaccharides, so called fat replacers, with specific physicochemical behaviour, which also possess healthy properties as dietary fibres and prebiotics. The present review gives an overview of these available polysaccharides (plant, algal, bacterial and animal).

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