The fight against food waste has compelled the food industry to find creative uses for food byproducts that are often discarded. In the process of making soymilk and tofu ? pureeing soybeans and then straining the liquid out ? a pulp called okara remains, which is rich in insoluble dietary fiber. Usually, the okara is used as an organic livestock feed and many bakeries have worked out partnerships with tofu makers, because it creates a lovely crumbly texture in baked goods such as donuts, breads and muffins. It can also be used in veggie burgers or to create tempeh.
When treated with pressure and an enzyme, the dietary fiber becomes 58 percent soluble and a prebiotic. Prebiotics are essentially food for gut bacteria, which allows them to thrive and maintain healthy digestion. In a recent study, when simulated with a human fecal sample, the treated okara prebiotic promoted growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibited growth of potentially harmful bacteria.