Powdered lemon and orange peels added to beef burgers can compensate for the lack of fibre in the food.
Citrus mealballs are being developed at a food laboratory in the USA to see if these could be used to boost dietary fibre.
Tests have been conducted on meatballs with 1pc citrus powder, 5pc and 10pc to see how much of the powder can be added without ruining the taste or texture of the meatballs.
The researchers at the University of Missouri have found that adding between 1-5pc powder was possible.
Dietary fibre is found mainly in fruits vegetables and wholegrains and helps to maintain a health weight, prevent or relieve constipation and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Soluble fibre, found mainly in whole grains and some fruits, is particularly beneficial for diabetics because fibre slows sugar absorption and improves blood sugar levels.
It tends to make people feel full faster and stay full longer because it is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories.
The researchers are now recommending the citrus powder as a substitute for breadcrumbs in meatball recipes.
Citrus powder can be bought relatively inexpensively.
The team is now studying the potential antioxidant benefits of the powder.
Citrus fruits, particularly the peels, are rich in flavonoids – a nutrient in plants that can help prevent diseases in humans like cancer and heart disease.