Glycaemic index review could help food makers

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Glycaemic index Nutrition Blood sugar

A new review could help food developers and technical managers
appreciate how dietary fibre influences the glycaemic index of
foods, especially cereal products.

Dietary fibres and the glycaemic index: technological and physiologicalaspects (CCFRA Review No. 49) from CCFRA pulls together a wealth of information from the scientific literature to assess how dietary fibre and glycaemic index are related.

The glycaemic index measures how quickly certain foods release carbohydrates into the body, which then raise consumers' blood glucose levels. High GI foods cause blood sugar levels to rise more rapidly.

There is growing concern about the role of inappropriate diet in chronic non-communicable conditions has prompted campaigns promoting increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and other fibre-rich foods.

At the same time, there has been considerable interest in the role of dietary carbohydrates, which has led to wider use of the glycaemic index to describe the impact that consumption of particular products will have on blood sugar and to provide consumers with information.

But despite this attention and use, CCFRA argues that there is still much confusion about the glycaemic index - what it is, how it is measured and what it means - and the extent to which it is, or can be, influenced by the dietary fibre in a food.

This new review could therefore help industry better understand and use this information.

After a brief introduction outlining the major trends in chronic and often diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (which are often linked with obesity), the review explains the concept and measurement of glycaemic index.

It then looks in detail at dietary fibre, assessing the various definitions of fibre and its characterisation in terms of physicochemical, structural and technological properties, as well as its physiological effects in the body.

It then describes selected dietary fibre materials in turn - including cellulose, inulin, beta glucan, and xanthan, guar and locust bean gums. Finally it discusses the relationship between dietary fibre and glycaemic index as well as other metabolic aspects.

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