T&L fibres could hold weight, diabetes benefits: Study

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Carbohydrate, Nutrition

Maize-based dietary fibres have been found to help lower glycemic and insulin responses, potentially opening up opportunities for their use in foods for weight management and diabetes control, reports a new study from the University of Toronto.

The study, sponsored by UK ingredient firm Tate & Lyle, tested the firm’s Promitor Resistant starch and Promitor Soluble Gluco Fibre for their effect on blood glucose control.

Earlier studies have already indicated that decreasing the dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) – which measure blood sugar response to food consumption – may play a role in improving risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes.

According to Cyril WC Kendall, Ph.D., research associate, at the University of Toronto, their most recent findings suggest that "as a low-calorie ingredient, soluble gluco fibre may aid in weight and disease management by helping to control post-meal glucose and insulin spikes."

The study appears in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition​, due to be published within the coming days.

Carbohydrates vs glucose

Kendall and colleagues at the university’s Department of Nutrition Sciences enrolled 12 healthy volunteers of various ethnic backgrounds for their study.

The participants, all aged between 26 and 36, had an average body mass index of 25.

They were fed seven test beverages containing Tate & Lyle’s maize-based fibre ingredients (with 25g total carbohydrate) along with two control meals (which contained 50g glucose) on separate occasions in random order.

The test meals were consumed within a space of 10 minutes after a 10-14 hour overnight fast. Blood samples were taken before the meal, and at regular intervals for the two hours following the meal, and tested for blood glucose levels and insulin.

All the fibre ingredients and combination products tested resulted in “significantly reduced”​ glycemic and insulinemic responses than the control.

“These data indicate that the fibres tested contain carbohydrates that resist digestion and absorption in the small intestine and may be of value in the formulation of foods that produce lower glycemic responses,”​ wrote the researchers.

However they added that further assessment of the ingredients in beverages and foods is required to determine their effectiveness in decreasing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and improving glycemic control.


Tate & Lyle's Promitor resistant starch product is designed to replace flour and can be used in baked products and snacks, including cereal, crackers, cookies, bread and pasta.

The company’s Promitor corn fibre product replaces sugar in product applications, and can be used in foods and beverages ranging from cereal coatings, soup and sauces to jams, fillings, confectionery and dairy products.

Both ingredients in the Promitor line are prebiotic fibres.

The authors of the current study conclude: “While further assessment is necessary in beverage and foods containing these fibers, they may be effective in applications for dietary strategies to control diabetes and other chronic diseases. In addition, the in vitro digestibility assay correlated well with in vivo data and may be useful in guiding product development.”


Journal of the American College of Nutrition, ​Vol. 27, No.6 (December 2008)Authors: Cyril W.C. Kendall, PhD, Amin Esfahani, MSc, Andrew J. Hoffman, PhD, Annette Evans, PhD, Lisa M. Sanders, PhD, Andrea R. Josse, MSc, Edward Vidgen, BSc, Susan M. Potter, PhD

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