Today’s consumers are increasingly aware of what they eat. Many are taking the time to scan labels, ensuring they fully understand what they’re putting into their bodies prior to purchase. We see shoppers believing that they are amateur food scientists as they browse the supermarket aisles, looking for items they feel may be detrimental to their health.
As an example, many shoppers are on the lookout for diglycerides, which are commonly found in processed foods. What are these, and why would anyone be interested in limiting or avoiding them? Read on to learn more about these ingredients, why they’re often found in our food and what makes them unpopular among the health conscious.
What Are Diglycerides?
Chemically speaking, diglycerides are naturally occurring fatty acid chains found in certain seed oils, including olive and cottonseed. They’re most commonly used in food processing as an emulsifier, helping oil and water to blend successfully. One of the most frequent uses for these is in peanut butter to prevent the oils from separating in the jar. The industry turns to them to help extend the shelf life of many products as well as enhance texture and consistency.
Although these are found in nature, their concentrations are too low to be used for mass production. This is why the industry typically sources them by processing triglycerides from animal fat or vegetable oil. With the use of heat and an alkaline catalyst, these are broken down into monoglycerides and diglycerides. They are then distilled and separated further to isolate the desired end product.
What Foods Contain Diglycerides?
Their usefulness for enhancing the lifespan, taste and feel of foods means they can be found in many processed meals as well as quick-service restaurant menu items. These frequently include:
- Ice cream
- Whipped topping
- Soft drinks
- Nut butters
- French fries
- Chewing gum
- Meat substitutes
Should Consumers Avoid Diglycerides?
Diglycerides are generally recognized as safe by the FDA. While this designation means that they are not considered to be harmful in consumption, they’re also not known for being particularly healthy. They contain small amounts of trans fats, which have been linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Although consuming trace amounts of Di- and triglycerides are not a cause for concern, many people who are worried about their health may want to steer clear of them. Diglycerides are also commonly found in processed foods, which tend to have high concentrations of fat and sugar. As is the case with most dietary concerns, moderation is key.
Trust PacMoore for Expertise
As a contract manufacturer of ingredients spanning a wide range of functional uses, tastes, and textures, PacMoore is ready to help you develop and manufacture your ingredients. We are an industry leader in the contract manufacturing space and utilize rigorous methodologies for virtually every type of specialty food. We will work closely with you to ensure that your products meet the highest standards of quality no matter what they are. To learn more about our extensive range of services, get in touch with us today.