Polysaccharides have received a great deal of attention from, for example, the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Their conformations (flexibility/stiffness) span a wide range of conformational flexibilities with large hydrated volumes, these properties are important in relation to polysaccharide structure-function relationships. Perhaps the simplest parameter available to estimate the dilute solution conformation of polysaccharides is the Smidsrød-Haug stiffness parameter (B) where the stiffness of polyelectrolytes can be estimated by measuring the intrinsic viscosity at a number of different ionic strengths. In this paper we propose an alternative method for estimating the Smidsrød-Haug stiffness parameter (B) using the ionic strength dependency of zeta potential. For this purpose we have studied a number of different polysaccharides.