Modified Starch: An Innovative Ingredient Modernizing the Food Industry
Modified starch is a complex carbohydrate that has one or more of its constituents transformed chemically, physically, or enzymatically. With the introduction of modified starches, the food industry has been modernized to a great extent. The key purpose of using modified starch in foods is to add a thickening, gelling or binding agent.
Starches have been used in the food industry since years to offer processed foods with enhanced appearance and improve consumers’ enticement. Modified starches, also called starch derivatives, are a type of starch that have been invented a long time ago. And today, their applications in the food industry are certainly noteworthy. The global modified starch market is growing remarkably owing to its widespread use in food products these days.
What are the Benefits of Modified Starch to the Food Products Industry?
With the introduction of modified starches, the food industry has been modernized to a great extent. This is because, these starches can be easily processed and offer increased benefits than their natural equivalents, as they have added functional benefits, such as thickening, texturizing, improving appearance, and stabilizing properties.
In addition to all these benefits, another important benefit of making use of modified starches in food is that it takes less time for processing owing to its wide range of benefits and extraordinary properties. Moreover, it can save substantial amount of processing expenses involved in preparing numerous food products; this is because, modified starches as compared to their other counterparts like native starches, are required at very lower dosage levels. However, the fact that modified starch has the word “modified” in it is slightly perplexing on its own.
As a result, the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is that - how can something so vaguely “modified” be safe to consume? Do you wish to know more about modified starches and how they are useful in the food industry? Keep reading, this article will help you to resolve all your doubts. Let us know the basics first.
You might be aware of what starch is. Basically, it is an ingredient present in potatoes, tapioca, rice, corn, and many other vegetables and grains. Starch has somewhat a thickening or firming property. Your Mom might be using corn-starch in gravies to thicken it, however it always ended up lump-filled, didn’t it?
So what actually is a modified starch? Why even take efforts to modify it most importantly? And, is it safe to consume after it is modified?
Modified starch is a complex carbohydrate that has one or more of its constituents transformed chemically, physically, or enzymatically. Modifying the structure of food starches gives them a more desired consistency, helps them in holding up effectively against heat and acidic settings, and aids them in dissolving more quickly.
The key purpose of using modified starch in foods is to add a thickening, gelling, or binding agent. You must be aware that corn-starch can be used as a thickening element in sauces and gravies. However, a gravy or sauce can get lump-filled because normal corn-starch does not dissolve properly at high temperatures.
On the other hand, modified food starch dissolves easily at high temperatures and lessens the chances of getting lumpy, which is the reason it is used in several types of preserved or jarred sauces or gravies. Also, modified starch is used as a thickening element in fat-free dairy items, and as a binding element in low-fat deli meats.
Is Consuming Modified Starch Safe?
The believed answer to this is ‘yes’. Modified starch has almost no nutritive value, hence, it is extensively used in processed food products. It does not disturb the nutritive value of any food it is added in. However, if there is something to worry about modified starches it is that they can be produced from wheat. Persons having wheat or gluten allergies are advised to take precautions while consuming a food product having modified starch, except the package mentions the source of modified starch, or is labelled as gluten-free.
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