Sweet and Salty with Sarah – Pre/Probiotics in EVERYTHING.
Yogurt, breads, cereals, juice drinks, kombucha, breakfast bars. These are just a few of the long and growing list of foods and beverages with prebiotic and probiotic ingredients.
Prebiotics and probiotics are booming, but are they always healthy? Are some healthier than others? What is the big deal with them? We have just the person to give us the expert answers, MGP Food Technology Manager Sarah Gutkowski.
What’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in your stomach and intestines. Some call them “good bacteria,” because probiotics can help promote good digestive and immune system health, as well as help improve your mood.
Prebiotics are the food for probiotics. They’re a fiber that the body cannot digest but probiotic microorganisms have a feeding frenzy on. So having enough prebiotics in your body helps build and maintain probiotics that are good for your gut.
Are all prebiotics and probiotics equally good for you?
It depends. There are a lot of products out there with pre and probiotics, but the level at which they promote good health depends on a lot of things. For one, it depends on how the food is produced. Probiotics can only thrive within a certain temperature range, so if foods are prepared or shipped too cold or with too much heat, you’ll lose the probiotics and their benefits.
It also depends on the person. We all have different microflora in our gut, based on where we live, what our diet is and more. So, the probiotics that are put into food and beverages for one population might not have the same benefits for a different population.
How are prebiotics and probiotics added to foods and beverages?
In some foods, they naturally occur in the fermentation process, like in yogurt. In others, they’re added. MGP has two products that add prebiotics to foods; Fibersym® RW and FiberRite® RW. A study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln showed that Fibersym as a prebiotic promotes the growth of friendly microorganisms and produces friendly substances like butyric acid that is preventive against colon cancer.
So, food formulators can not only make delicious pastries, pizza crusts, cereals, and more with Fibersym and FiberRite, they can add a few health benefits for good measure.