French government provides nutrient-enriched bread to the malnourished

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

France is to offer brioche bread as a health supplement to its elderly population amongst others as the country’s welfare system agrees to cover the cost of the program expected to roll out in October.

G-Nutrition, a bread fortified with vitamins, calcium, selenium as well as protein, is to be made available in chemists this autumn. It is currently available to buy online priced at €16 for 12 loaves and €36 for a pack of 30 loaves.

Developed by the Cerelab laboratories in partnership with Nutrisens, the team told French newspaper Le Figaro​ that “This food is recommended in the following situations: increased protein needs of the elderly and/or malnourished, in the case of a pathology (cancer, HIV ...) or muscle wasting”.

Currently available in vanilla or chocolate flavour, the bread is specifically fortified with vitamins B12, B6 and B9, as well as calcium and selenium.

Protein content (whey) has been boosted to 13.4g for a 65g G-Nutrition brioche roll. This value covers 20% of the Recommended Dietary Intake and is hailed as an effective way to tackle weight loss.

In addition, G-Nutrition is rich in fibre to promote the growth of lactic bacteria in the colon, and therefore promoting good gut health.

Five years in development

G-Nutrition has been five years in development and is the result of a research program that began in 2008 by the Cérélab laboratory, based in Aiserey, Côte-d'Or in France.

Development of the bread has relied upon a network of public and private partners that have included the University Hospital of Dijon, National Institute of Agronomic Research, Dijon Cereals and Eurogerm.

Clinical studies​ carried out in eight retirement homes in Burgundy as well as in geriatric departments of the University Hospital of Dijon found the bread increased the nutritional intake of the elderly without decreasing appetite.

Further findings revealed an improvement in plasma levels of selenium and vitamin B12, as well as an increase in energy intake over the day.

Dr Virginie Van Wymelbeke, senior scientist at Dijon University Hospital, Burgundy, France and a researcher at the Centre for Taste and Feeding Behaviour of the INRA in Dijon said, “Despite the small number of subjects (68), the results were very telling.”

“Compared to the control group which did not consume any Liquid Oral Nutritional Supplement (NOCs), it was clearly observed that the nutritional intake at breakfast was higher in the G-Nutrition group and lighter in the NOC group.

“In addition, vitamin B9, B2, D, B6, and B12 values ​​increased while those of homocysteine, a marker of chronic inflammation, decreased in the G-Nutrition group. CRP, a marker of acute inflammation, also decreased.”

Cost covered until 2023

Currently available without a prescription, G-Nutrition joins the list of products reimbursable by Social Security.

The decree of 9 July 2018 published in the Official Journal​ states in detail its use as a “ready-to-use solid special diet food for medical purposes, packaged in individual breads of 65 grams.”

The decree adds that health insurance will cover the bread’s costs until July 31, 2023.

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