'Artistic' approach needed for blood sugar management claims, distributor of starch-blocking ingredient says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Blood sugar management, Nutrition, Carbohydrate

'Artistic' approach needed for blood sugar management claims, distributor of starch-blocking ingredient says
Diabetes is an area of special concern for the Food and Drug Administration, so ET Horn thought carefully about how to craft the claims on its new blood sugar management ingredient.

“It is sort of an artistic approach; you have to say what the product can do but at the same time you have to stay off the disease claims,”​ Xiaoming “Sandy” Chien, PhD, vice president of innovative products told NutraIngredients-USA.

The ingredient, called MealShape, is an alpha amylase inhibitor, depressing the activity of the enzyme that breaks apart complex sugars.  The effect is to slow down the digestion of complex carbohydrates, Chien said.

“It slows down the digestion of carbohydrates so that the sugar slowly goes into your blood stream,”​ she said.

ET Horn is the exclusive North American distributor of MealShape, a patented cinnamon extract manufactured by Dialpha in France. 

“Dialpha’s human clinical trial has proven MealShape’s ability to lower blood sugar levels after a starchy meal. This unique characteristic therefore helps prevent glycemic spikes and sugar crashes, and aids the body in converting food into energy instead of storing it as fat,”​ Chien said.

Species provides specific benefit

MealShape is an extract made from  Ceylon cinnamon grown in Madagascar.  It’s a different species from that commonly used as a spice in North America and provides different health benefits.  While cinnamon has often mention mentioned as a blood sugar management ingredient, other cinnamons work on the insulin pathway, whereas Ceylon cinnamon is unique in that it affects the enzyme pathway, she said.  This effect allows the ingrdient to be marketed as an aide for customers who might find it difficult to modify their behavior to greatly restrict carbohydrate intake, she said.

“Starch blockers allow people to eat what they want: pasta, rice, potato, etc. without having the body subjected to the roller coaster rise of blood sugar, which would result in increased risks for pre-diabetes, diabetes, other metabolic syndromes, and weight gain. Changing people’s dietary habits is the most difficult thing. MealShape gives people the freedom to eat what they want,”​ Chien said.

Chien said an 84-day animal study was conducted for MealShape, as well as an 18-subject randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study on healthy males and females in France which showed a 20 percent reduction in post prandial glycemic response with the extract. The manuscript of the MealShape studies has just been completed and is ready for submission for publication, she said.

 The ingredient has functional food possibilities, but initially will be aimed at the supplement market, she said.  The company debuted the offering at the recent SupplySide West show in Las Vegas.

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