The increased awareness regarding the importance of fiber, in addition to its distinct metabolic effects, has resulted in a surge of companies switching to an alternative fiber known as soluble corn fiber (SCF). Interestingly, SCF has been available on the US market since 2007 and is used in foods and beverages across the Americas, Europe, and Southeast Asia. SCF is produced through an extensive process: corn syrup is exposed to a suite of enzymes for at least 48 hours, some of which are found in the brush border of your small intestine, as well as the pancreas. Notably, a large majority of the corn syrup contains easily digestible carbohydrates; however, a small portion is, in fact, not digestible. At the end of this enzymatic exposure, a stream of digestion-resistant carbohydrates remains and is subsequently filtered several times. The resulting product is a “true fiber” that contains a mixture of α-1,6, α-1,4, α-1,2, and α-1,3 glucosidic linkages, which, as mentioned above, contribute to its low digestibility.
I’m not sure who determined that egg nog is a recipe that only comes around during the holidays, but whoever they are shouldn’t be allowed to make anymore decisions. This is now one of my favorite beverages and seems like an awfully good way to end any night of the year. It’s thick, it’s rich, it’s creamy and low carb, does it get any better? Regardless of whether you are an eggnog drinker, you’ll want to make this keto eggnog for your friends and family this holiday season! **Cooked Eggnog: If you prefer to cook your egg nog, you can first heat your heavy cream and flax milk in a saucepan, remove from heat and slowly whisk in the lightened color yolks and swerve mixture, and the peaked whites. Once fully combined return to heat and heat through once more prior to chilling.
Taken together, the above studies prompt the question: What is the prebiotic activity of SCF? If it is a true fiber, per our definitions above, then SCF should have a beneficial effect on gut microbiome bacteria. A study performed in 24 adolescents noted an increase in beneficial bacteria (e.g., Bacteroides, Butyricicoccus, Oscillibacter, and Dialister). Furthermore, this was correlated with an increase in calcium absorption upon the consumption of 12 grams of SCF per day for three weeks. An additional study, which administered 8, 14, and 21 grams of SCF over 14 days, found that good bacteria (e.g., Bifidobacteria) increased and peaked at 8 grams per day. This value is nearly identical to inulin, which is considered the “gold standard.” Despite its nearly parallel effects to inulin at 8 grams/day, research has demonstrated that SCF is 3-4 times more tolerable than inulin due to its slower rate of digestibility by the gut bacteria. In fact, 26 grams of SCF barely increased GI symptoms relative to a placebo!
Seeds are another high-fiber food that you can eat on keto, but only occasionally to stay in ketosis. Full seeds, ground seeds and seed butters will help to increase your fiber intake and minimize keto flu symptoms like constipation. Plus, they supply important nutrients, including essential fatty acids and protein, and are known to support cardiovascular health.
Low in carbs and high in fiber, lupini beans (aka lupin beans) are perfect for those on keto who are looking for a high-protein, high-fiber snack. Never heard of them? This yellow legume is hot on the heels of the edamame and fava bean as an on-trend nibble for the health-conscious consumer. One cup of cooked lupini beans contains 4.6 grams of fiber—about 19% of the recommended daily value. However, ready-to-eat branded lupini bean snacks often contain even more. “I've noticed that the amount of carbs/fiber can vary greatly between lupini bean brands,” says Yule. “To make sure that you are choosing a food that is keto-friendly, be sure to check the label.”
A close relative of maltose is a molecule known as isomaltose (typically found in items such as beer and honey). The biggest difference between maltose and isomaltose is that isomaltose is joined together by an α-1,6 chemical bond, rather than an α-1,4 chemical bond. Scientists suspected that by adding a certain enzyme (transglucosidase) to high maltose syrup, they could change the bonds from α-1,4 to α-1,6, thereby making it more resistant to being broken down by the enzymes, as described above, when compared to maltose. Again, while this sounds excellent in theory, it is not necessarily what happens in our bodies. In fact, isomaltose (and thus, IMO syrups used in some of these products) is broken down by certain enzymes on the brush border of the small intestine. Though the α-1,6 bond breaks down slower compared to the α-1,4 bond, these IMO syrups, which often use a blend of di-and oligosaccharides, ultimately metabolize into small amounts of glucose and maltose and thus should be viewed as a slow digesting carbohydrate rather than a true fiber.
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Lastly, one of the advertised benefits of IMO is possible prebiotic activity. Prebiotics are critical, as they feed the beneficial bacteria in our digestive system, specifically in the large intestine. These bacteria have several amazing functions, such as lowering body fat, improving insulin sensitivity, and lowering depression. Two “gold standard” prebiotics in the industry are inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Inulin and FOS are non-digestible carbohydrates that robustly increase beneficial bacteria. The challenge, however, is that both inulin and FOS, due to their rapid digestibility by intestinal bacteria, result in low gastric tolerance, and, ultimately, gastric distress. Additionally, inulin and FOS, when added to protein bars or other goods, may degrade over time into individual sugar units. Regardless, one study comparing inulin to IMOs, found that the prebiotic activity in inulin is 14 times greater than that of IMOs. This is logical because, as you recall from above, approximately 70% to 90% of IMOs are digested. As such, only a small portion of these prebiotic fibers make it to the large intestine, in which two out of three studies have demonstrated that this small portion may indeed have some prebiotic effects.
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Whisk 1 cup of the warmed nut milk into the yolk mixture. Then add back into the remaining nut milk in the saucepan. Stir until combined. Continue cooking over low heat until the mixture has thickened and reach about 165 degrees and will coat the back of a spoon. Don’t boil or overcook or else your eggs will curdle. If the eggs do curdle, you can strain the mixture to get rid of the curdled chunks.
IMOs can be made in several ways, but they are primarily derived from a sugar called maltose. IMO is promoted as a prebiotic fiber with a light sweetness profile. Its functional properties (i.e., moisture retention, low viscosity) make it well-suited for nutrition bars, cookies, candies, and the like. In order to fully understand IMOs and how the body processes them, we first need to understand how starches are digested in the body. Starches, also known as polysaccharides, are long and sometimes branched chains of glucose molecules. Initially, starch digestion begins in the small intestine with an enzyme called α-amylase. A-amylase breaks these long glucose chains into much shorter chains, called oligosaccharides, which are composed of anywhere from two to approximately 10 glucose units. Following this, specific enzymes on the brush border of the small intestine break down these oligosaccharides even further, into individual glucose units (monosaccharides) which are then absorbed.
Psyllium husk is a type of fiber commonly used as a gentle, bulk-forming laxative. With no net carbs and a whopping 7 grams of fiber per two tablespoon serving, ground psyllium is an easy way to increase fiber intake on the keto diet. “It works great as a binding agent in recipes,” Yule says. “Just make sure to consume it with plenty of water, coconut water, or juice to avoid dehydration.” Add a tablespoon to your beverage, and you’re good to go.
Coconut is an excellent high-fat source of fiber. Did you know that coconut actually has 4-to-6 times the amount of fiber as oat bran? A cup of coconut contains about 7 grams of fiber, along with omega-6 fatty acids, manganese, folate and selenium. When it comes to keto fiber foods, you can eat coconut flakes, coconut chips, coconut flour and coconut oil, too.