The fitness industry is packed with low-carb, high-protein products in the form of shakes, bars, and meals, or meal replacement products designed to fit all your macronutrient and lifestyle needs. Most of us have had the popular Quest Bars, One Bars, or some of the other popular brands such as BSN or Optimum Nutrition’s low carb, high fiber bar. With that in mind, have you ever wondered how they make their low-carb bars taste so good? We mean, most of these bars have less than 5g of sugar in the entire bar, yet some taste like a bite of birthday cake! The secret is IMO or Isomaltooligosaccharides, which is a sweetener that is also high in fiber!
VitaFiber is a prebiotic dietary fiber that doubles as a low-calorie sweetener that can be used beverages, baking, cooking, and more! BioNeutra sent us a pack of their Vitafiber to try in our own kitchen. Keep reading below to find out more about VitaFiber, how we used it, and some facts you should know about the product!
What is VitaFiber?
As we mentioned above, VitaFiber is an IMO plant-based prebiotic fiber that doubles as a low-calorie sweetener. Normally, IMO is derived from the root of a plant, normally tapioca or cassava, although it can be derived from a variety of plants. VitaFiber is actually about 60% as sweet as sugar--unlike other low-calorie sweeteners which means you won’t get a strong artificial or sugar taste in small servings. As a natural-plant based sweetener, most worry about the bitter or artificial taste that some products, such as stevia, has. Not VitaFiber; the sweet, smooth flavor resembles a mild form of sugar and mixes well into just about everything. Not only that but VitaFiber carries a crystal-clear label, making it useful in nearly every food aspect!
• Halal & Kosher
• Artificial color and Flavor free
• Preservative Free
• Low calorie and full of Prebiotics!
As a minimally processed product, we appreciate the care put into VitaFiber to ensure it remains allergen free and a great alternative for those looking to stray away from sugar.
Who can use VitaFiber?
In short, anyone! VitaFiber was designed for those looking to add sweetness back into their life without adding the sugar and calorie content! Because of the wide-variety of uses, VitaFiber is perfect for the individual regardless of diet!
• High Protein-Low Carb
• And more!
VitaFiber is also perfect for those who may not be getting enough fiber in their diet. Due to the versatility of VitaFiber as it relates to dietary styles, it can be used in a wide variety of cooking, baking, and beverages as well! Keep reading below to find out how we used VitaFiber in our kitchen and what kind of creations we came up with!
How did we use VitaFiber?
We keep mentioning VitaFiber’s versatility in the kitchen as a sweetener. We we put VitaFiber to the test in the cooking, baking, and beverage category to see where it shined the most. Check out our breakdown below to see where you can add VitaFiber and replace sugar in your diet!
Beverages: You may be thinking to yourself that adding a fiber product to a beverage has already been accomplished via Metamucil—but this is so much more!
Most fiber based products have a chalky and unappetizing taste by themselves; not VitaFiber. Products like Metamucil do offer other flavors, however a quick look at a serving of the flavored variety can contain up to 25g of carbohydrates,16g of sugar, and not even half 10g of fiber per serving! That sugar count is more than the entire bag of Vitafiber itself, not to mention they throw in artificial flavor AND colors into their product! On top of all that, the low dietary fiber may not aide with satiety or regularity as promised. With Vitafiber, a single teaspoon provides almost as much fiber as a tablespoon of Metamucil, and it can be added to so much more! Being able to use Vitafiber in foods and beverages allow for sweeter drinks, more fiber, and improved appetite suppression throughout the day—name another sweet treat that actually curves your appetite!!
Most beverages on the market today are already pre-sweetened so we took a more “homemade” approach to this section; here’s what we found:
Coffee: VitaFiber makes an amazing sugar alternative for your morning coffee. 1 Teaspoon affords you 10 small calories, but also provides big flavor without turning that coffee into a sugar latte. VitaFiber mixes well in both hot and cold coffee and also pairs well with low-car creamers or your favorite coffee syrups.
Smoothies/Shakes: While not always necessary, VitaFiber makes a great addition to fruit smoothies and shakes. We added a couple table spoons into a fruit smoothie rather than adding honey, milk, or another sugary beverage and noticed the fruit flavors were much more pronounced while thickening the smoothie as well! Perfect addition to “green” smoothies that sometimes carry an unappetizing vegetable taste!
Juices/Teas: The aspect we wanted to see the most because so many drinks (especially for children) are premade and all you need to do is “add sugar”. When mixing them with other powders, surprisingly enough it did not turn Kool-Aid or homemade lemonade into a syrup consistency. It added the right amount of sweetness without making these already sugary flavors, overpowering.
We also found that VitaFiber mixes extremely well into hot or cold tea—adding the right amount of sweetness without the calories.
Cooking: While it might seem odd to add a sweetener into your cooking (different than baking) it actually works in different aspects! Here’s what we tried:
Sauces: Whether it’s a creamy white sauce or hearty red sauce, VitaFiber is the perfect addition to your favorite noodle (or zoodle) sauces! Using a few tablespoons of VitaFiber into a homemade sauce was a great way to add sweet to the salty or savory flavors and create an interesting combination that is good for dipping as well!
Canning: The forgotten art of canning is actually a great way to use VitaFiber also. Rather than adding sugar into your pickling mix, 1 or 2 tablespoons of VitaFiber will add all the sweetness you need to counteract the vinegary flavors. From pickles to eggs to homemade coleslaw, VitaFiber is a great substitute!
Baking: Where VitaFiber really shines, in baking. Rather than discussing how we used VitaFiber in each of the following baked goods, just add accordingly based on your current recipe’s sugar content!
Here’s what we were able to whip up in our baking category:
• Fluffy home-made whipped cream (and other whipped deserts)
The way we used VitaFiber in all of these treats was simple; we used a smaller version of an original recipe and switched out sugar for VitaFiber IMO at a 1:1 ratio. This means for every table spoon of sugar you use, substitute with a tablespoon of VitaFiber! The best part about the baking aspect is that the VitaFiber does not affect how the baked goods rise or expand in the oven or stove! This is by far the best baking and best tasting sugar substitute we have used thus far!
What should you know about Vitafiber / Its Nutrition:
Now we come to the most important part of the review, the facts and nutrition label. Let’s first start with the nutrition label. You’ll see below that one teaspoon of VitaFiber gives you 5g of carbohydrates, 4g of Dietary Fiber and 10 total calories. It is very important to realize that not all dietary fiber contain 0 caloric value. Actually, studies even suggest that dietary fiber carries about 2 calories per gram of fiber! This is why when looking at the label, you see that there are still 10 calories in a teaspoon. Yes, if you use popular “fitness math” youll notice 5g of carbs minus 4g of dietary fiber should equal 1g of net carbs or 4calories. However, numerous studies have shown that IMO’s still provides small amounts of calories per gram. So now that all the math is out of the way, what does this actually mean? While VitaFiber is low calorie, don’t get it confused with “calorie-free” because of its small caloric contribution. With that in mind, it is one of the few natural sweeteners that interacts well with whatever it’s mixed with and provides great flavor without ruining the product!
The next thing that is important to understand about VitaFiber is that although it is labeled as a fiber product because of its chemical makeup, the FDA does not recognize it as a true dietary fiber yet. This is not to say that VitaFiber is in anyway a scam or untruthful product! In fact, it is one of the few products on the market that have stated that their fiber product is low-calorie, and not calorie free even though it is labeled as a fiber! Keeping that in mind, the caloric value of vita-fiber is much lower than that of sugar, or other sugar substitutes claiming they are healthier for you. Vita-Fiber also is known for little to no gastrointestinal stress unlike other sugar substitutes like sugar alcohols. VitaFiber’s premise is to be able to help enhance the sweetness of foods and beverages all while reducing your sugar intake and overall caloric intake as well.
Last but certainly not least, it is important to recognize that the two types of VitaFiber have different nutritional facts. According to the VitaFiber website, their IMO syrup is slightly less caloric dense than the IMO Powder we were able to try.
If you take a look at the labels above, you'll see that per 100g of VitaFiber, the powder contains about 19 more g of carbohydrate(96g total), all of which come in the form of fiber (88g total), and 2 more grams of sugar (8g total) for a total of 208kcal. While the syrup contains 75g of carbohydrates, 69g of fiber, and 6g of sugar for a total of 162kcal.
While these numbers might seem astonishing to you, let’s break it down for you:
100g of the VitaFiber IMO powder only yields a total of 8g of sugar and 208 calories while the syrup yields 6g of sugar and 162 calories. While this product has gone under a lot of scrutiny in the past for what it is, lets remember what it is NOT. 100g of pure sugar, is going to yield you 400 total calories and chances are, most of us consume 100g of sugar a lot more frequently than we think. By comparison, the VitaFiber IMO powder contains roughly 192 LESS calories than sugar and 92g of sugar less while proving almost the same amount of sweetness! The VitaFiber IMO syrup contains 238 less calories (only 40% of what sugar contains) and 94g of sugar less than regular sugar! Instead of debating over 1/10th of a calorie or 0.25g of carbohydrates per serving, we should be rejoicing that BioNeutra was able to derive a sweetener that is nearly as effective as sugar while only affording you half the calories at a maximum!!
With all things considered, here is what we think of VitaFiber—this stuff is good. Instead of worrying about a calorie here and there, we're going to focus on what we know; and that is that VitaFiber is a great low-calorie sugar alternative that has hundreds of cooking uses. Our thoughts are this: while we know some users, companies, and corporations do not like to use VitaFiber, we think it is a product you should try for yourself and see how it impacts you directly before deciding its worth. After trying it, we love it and will continue to use it as a part of our low calorie and low sugar diets. If you’re interested in trying VitaFiber for yourself, head over to Vitafiber.com and pick up some powder or syrup today. If you’re looking for a sugar alternative, without the high calorie count, try the sweeter side of fiber with VitaFiber IMO.