Got a protein bar on hand? Turn it over and take a peek at the ingredients list. Do you see VitaFiber listed? What the heck is that? VitaFiber is featured on the labels of many protein bars and pre-mixed health smoothies. We have the details on where it comes from, why fiber is so important, and how you can use VitaFiber to add sugar-free sweetness to homemade recipes.
Sugar Substitutes and Fiber Benefits
When you boil all the benefits out of sugar cane and sugar beet plants, you’re left with refined white sugar. It’s no wonder health-conscious consumers are seeking to skip refined sugar altogether.
But refined white sugar isn’t the only possible end product. You can make blackstrap molasses from the sugar refining process, which retains some of the health benefits. Because blackstrap molasses has had almost all its sugar content removed, it doubles as a diabetic-friendly natural sweetener, but it’s not the only one. Erythritol is another sugar-free natural alternative, along with stevia, sucralose, and more, including products like VitaFiber IMO.
There are pros and cons to each option. Some sugar substitutes have no nutritive content and simply add sweetness without calories or blood sugar impact. Some come with certain vitamins and/or the right texture for specific recipes, but they may have a bitter aftertaste once consumed. Most do not offer dietary fiber, so when it’s fiber you’re after you’ll need a complementary white flour alternative, like coconut flour, xanthan gum, or psyllium husk powder.
What if you could get the best of both sugar-free sweetness and dietary fiber for digestive health in just one product? Oh my goodness…you can!
What Is Vitafiber?
Made from non-corn, non-GMO sources of plant fiber, VitaFiber IMO syrup or powder is a unique sugar replacement product from the BioNeutra company of North America. From the root of the tapioca plant, VitaFiber IMO powder is minimally processed, full of natural flavors, contains no preservatives, and is totally free of gluten and other known allergens. It’s a good source of prebiotic fiber, which helps feed your good gut bacteria, and also has just the right touch of sweetness to add to your cooking, baking, or even beverage needs in powdered and liquid form.
The Top 5 Health Benefits of VitaFiber
We here at VeggieShake find the health benefits of VitaFiber so significant that we’ve included it in our own products. What’s so amazing about this prebiotic fiber sweetener? Here are the top five benefits.
1. Clean and Natural Nutrient Profile
VitaFiber is non-GMO, allergen-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and halal, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s a perfect sugar replacement for those on paleo or the high-fat, low-carb keto diet who want to make Quest Bar-like protein bars and delicious dessert dishes themselves.
2. Low-Calorie Sweetener
Derived from a natural tapioca starch source, this sweetener is often called a “super syrup” due to its ability to provide sweetness with no chemical overtones in the aftertaste. Even more important from a healthcare standpoint, this product has almost no calories. Whether you need to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy weight, eliminating unnecessary or empty sugar calories from your food is a huge part of achieving that goal.
According to VitaFiber’s own website, Health Canada evaluated isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) and assigned VitaFiber a caloric value of 2.4 kilocalories per gram.
3. Prebiotic Fiber Content
The fiber that makes up VitaFiber is digestion resistant, meaning that humans can’t digest it, but our gut bacteria can. There are a few major benefits associated with resistant starch fiber.
- Insulin sensitivity: Resistant starch can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels.
- Improved satiety: The non-digestible bulk of this sort of fiber slows stomach emptying and allows you to feel fuller for longer, which invariably leads to fewer calories consumed throughout the day, which then helps weight-loss efforts.
- Healthy gut flora: Prebiotic fiber (distinct from probiotics, which contain new live bacteria to add to your gut’s microbiome) feeds, strengthens, and nourishes your good gut bacteria. This allows your beneficial gut flora to defend against the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate which improve colon health.
VitaFiber has approximately 70 grams of fiber per 100 grams of product used, a very convenient way to up your dietary fiber intake all while sweetening your food.
4. Heat Stability
Flavoring a beverage with VitaFiber IMO syrup is simple enough, but baking with it or IMO powder brings up further concerns, namely: how heat-stable is it? The molecules in VitaFiber are stable up to 350 °F, which makes it appropriate for most baking needs.
As far as the IMO syrup goes, it is best stored at room temperature and does not need to be refrigerated—refrigerating the syrup will not hurt it, but it will make it more viscose when it’s time for use.
5. Superior Taste for Various Recipes
VitaFiber lacks the chemical aftertaste that some sugar substitutes have and delivers a mild honey taste that enhances a wide variety of recipes, including:
- Keto Coconut Flourless Chocolate Brownies: From the mother and daughter team at Simply So Sweet, this keto-friendly recipe uses VitaFiber syrup and other sugar-free sweeteners for a decadent-seeming dessert.
- Keto & Low-Carb Teriyaki Sauce: For more savory dishes, Copy Me That has a great recipe for a healthier teriyaki alternative for dipping or making into a vegetable stir-fry.
- Vegan Pumpkin Pie: This recipe comes from VitaFiber’s own cache of vegan recipes, a perfect way to create this fall favorite dish without dosing yourself or your loved ones with refined sugar.
Giving up sugar for whatever reason doesn’t mean you have to give up sweet treats, desserts, or syrups. You just need to find the right product that lets you bake outside the box.
VitaFiber Potential Side Effects and Warnings
A few quick cautionary notes:
- Increasing your fiber dramatically over a short period of time could lead to stomach cramping or diarrhea. Start slowly when adding fiber supplement products to your diet, and if you notice any discomfort, lessen your intake until your body has time to adapt.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water when consuming fiber supplements, as doing so can greatly increase your comfort and cut down on any initial digestive upset.
- If you’re on prescribed medications, especially for depression or for diabetes in particular, don’t start using VitaFiber without consulting with your doctor. It may affect how certain medications are absorbed.
Superior VitaFlavor from VitaFiber
At the end of the day, VitaFiber IMO powder and syrup are appropriate for just about everyone to consume and can greatly benefit your health by replacing refined sugar and white flour in your recipes. Not only that, VitaFiber is a natural fiber supplement that can be taken in its own right, even on an empty stomach. For these reasons we’ve included it in our nutritionally targeted VeggieShake products, and you may find that it’s up to your high standards too.