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Citrus Meatballs Helps People Get Needed Fiber

Update Date: Oct 16, 2013 03:02 PM EDT

How do you make meatballs healthier? Just add a little but of orange.

Recent statistics reveal that most Americans eat only half the recommended amount of dietary fiber. However, researchers have found a way to fix the deficit by adding citrus fiber to ground beef. What's more, the citrus fiber did not change the way the meatballs tasted.

In the latest study, lead researcher Ayca Gedikoglu of the University of Missouri and her team completed tests on three batches of meatballs with varying percentages of the meat substituted with citrus powder. Researchers wanted to see how much the sweet and tangy powder could be added without adversely affecting the meatballs' texture and cooking characteristics.

The meatballs used in the experiment contained 1 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent of citrus powder.

The study revealed that the citrus fiber increased the cooking yield of the meatball recipe. However, the texture and color of the meatballs remained acceptable when keeping fiber at the 1 percent or 5 percent levels.

Fiber, which is normally found in fruits and vegetables, is important for maintaining a health weight, preventing or relieving constipation and reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Researchers recommend that people use citrus powder, which is made from citrus peels, instead of breadcrumbs in meatball recipes. That way people can have the benefit of meeting their dietary fiber requirements. Researchers said that a restaurant-sized serving of the 2 percent citrus meatballs contains approximately five grams of fiber. However, traditional meatballs contain no fiber. 

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