The ketogenic diet may be best known for its focus on keeping carbs low, but another important part of eating keto is paying careful attention to ingredients. You may have seen soluble corn fiber listed as an ingredient in Enlightened ice cream and wondered: How can an ingredient derived from corn, which is relatively high in carbs, be keto-friendly?
There are two types of dietary fiber, each with important health benefits. Insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains, is fiber that does not dissolve as it moves through the digestive tract. (It’s the type of fiber you’ve heard referred to as “roughage.”) Soluble fiber, which appears in nuts, seeds, and some fruits and vegetables, dissolves in water and becomes a gel that slows digestion of other nutrients such as carbohydrates.
Unlike some fibers like isomaltooligosaccharides (often labeled as prebiotic fiber or tapioca fiber), soluble corn fiber is considered a true dietary fiber by the FDA. “Soluble corn fiber is not the same thing as corn,” registered dietitian Alix Turoff explains. “It is the fiber extracted from corn and has a very low net carb load, so it is appropriate for a ketogenic diet.”
Since another name for soluble corn fiber is resistant maltodextrin, it has sometimes been confused with the ingredient maltodextrin. However, the two are nothing alike in their glycemic effects. Maltodextrin is very high on the glycemic index (GI), meaning that it can lead to a spike in blood sugar, but research shows that soluble corn fiber does not have the same effect.
As a replacement for sugar in Enlightened ice cream, soluble corn fiber is a low-calorie, low-glycemic alternative that also helps with satiety, or the feeling of fullness that you experience when you’re finished eating. To learn more, we recommend consulting a trusted health professional such as a registered dietitian.