Ingredion clinical trial shows blood sugar lowering potential of Versafibe ingredient

Photo: iStock/Grinvalds

Researchers baked cookies using Versafibe 1490, a branded resistant starch by Ingredion, and another batch without it. Then they had 28 healthy participants eat either one cookie to compare Versafibe’s effect on postprandial blood glucose levels, and found that the resistant starch lowered blood sugar and insulin responses.

These results were published in the March edition of peer-reviewed journal Nutrients in a study titled A High Fiber Cookie Made with Resistant Starch Type 4 Reduces Post-Prandial Glucose and Insulin Responses in Healthy Adults.

Cookies such as those made in this study may very well be in demand, as there is an increasing number of diabetic individuals and households that are looking at food as medicine to manage their ailments—Nielsen puts it at 65% of all diabetic households—spending $60.4bn annually on food.

The metabolic disease Diabetes mellitus is a major issue in the US, where more than 29 million adults have diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes, according to the organization The State of Obesity, making up around 20% of all US households. This hints at a growing demand for food and beverages designed to manage the consumer’s blood sugar levels, as well as ingredients that help healthy individuals maintain healthy levels.

“This study demonstrates that incorporating [Versafibe] dietary fiber into a practical baked good may reduce blood glucose and insulin values after a meal in healthy adults,” said Maria Stewart, author of the study and clinical research lead at Ingredion global nutrition R&D.

Baking the cookie sample

The study was a double-blind, randomized, controlled, cross-over intervention study. The fiber cookie contained 25g of Versafibe 1490 resistant starch, the primary source of fiber in the cookie. Ingredion describes it as a “resistant starch type 4 with 90% dietary fiber,” made from food grade phosphorylated potato starch. Both fiber cookies and control cookies were matched for fat, protein, and total carbohydrates

Participants were recruited around London, in the Canadian province of Ontario. To be eligible, study participants had to be 18 years or older and ‘healthy,’ meaning a body mass index between 18 to 29.9, a fasting glucose less than 6.0 mmol/L, and no known physiological disorders or chronic diseases.

There were 14 male and 14 female participants recruited. At the time of enrolment, participants were divided into two groups equally (with each group having equal amounts of participants of both gender), one to given the fiber cookie baked with Versafibe before the cookie with no Versafibe, and another one given the cookies in reverse order.

On the first day, all participants ate a standard dinner meal. The next day, after fasting for 12 hours, fasting blood samples were taken. Then, the study cookies were consumed with 250 mL of water, and another blood sample was taken. This clinical visit was done once again after a seven-day wash out period.

Study outcomes: ‘Resistant starch type 4…has functional properties that allow it to replace refined grain flour.’

Researchers found that capillary blood glucose concentrations were significantly lower at 15 up to 120 minutes after the fiber cookie was consumed compared to the control cookie. Similarly, at 45 to 120 minutes, intravenous blood insulin concentrations were significantly lower after subjects consumed the fiber cookie compared to the control cookie.

“After consuming the fiber cookie, the subjects experienced a 44% reduction in intravenous blood glucose [from 0 to 120 minutes] compared to the control cookie,” the researchers said. The two cookies were also rated equally by participants in terms of flavor, texture, and so forth—neither the participants nor the investigators knew the identity of the cookies as they were blinded and randomized by computer.

“Dietary fiber has been long acknowledged for reducing post-prandial blood glucose and insulin concentrations through mechanisms of delayed nutrient absorption or replacement of digestible carbohydrates,” the researchers wrote.

“Resistant starch type 4, such as distarch phosphate, has functional properties that allow it to replace refined grain flour in product formulations,” they added. “As a result, the available carbohydrates in a food can be reduced while maintaining the same sensory properties. This provides the opportunity to formulate desirable foods with added health benefits such as improved post-prandial blood glucose management.”

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