With consumers actively looking for food & drink to manage weight, fibre’s association with weight control and digestive health is now well established.
With the World Health Organization estimating that by 2025, approximately 167m people – adults and children – will become less healthy because they are overweight or obese, the opportunities for a scientifically-substantiated weight management food product are impressive.
NutraIngredients spoke to Anke Sentko, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Nutrition Communication at Beneo, a supplier of prebiotics such as chicory root fibre.
Thanks for talking to NutraIngredients Anke. Firstly, with obesity cases at an all-time high, could you give a sense of how urgent it is to effectively manage blood sugar levels and subsequently weight?
Anke Sentko (AS): "Since 1980 there has been a global increase of 27.5% in obese and overweight adults[i]; with a typical adult gaining approximately 1kg per year over their lifetime, and a deficiency of 7000 kcal needed to lose every kilogram[ii].
"The data doesn’t lie. We are indeed at crisis levels across the globe for obesity, with rates that need immediate action from governments, producers and consumers alike. To help turn the tide of obesity, the science is showing that low glycaemic products are a key tool in the weight management toolbox.
"Many evidence-based reports[iii] suggest that the preferred choice of carbohydrate should be one that is slowly available. This is to enable a lower blood glucose profile to be maintained throughout the day, enabling a lower insulin level to be achieved. This not only supports metabolic health but benefits fat oxidation for energy production and inhibits the storage of fat, which may support weight management."
Where does Beneo’s Palatinose/Orafti Synergy1 fit onto this equation as an effective sugar alternative that better controls blood sugar levels while retaining the sweet taste so desired by consumers?
AS: "BENEO’s slow-release carbohydrate Palatinose and the prebiotic fibre Orafti Synergy1 have been shown in a recent citizen science study[iv] - conducted under real-life conditions - to improve blood glucose control and that the latter also beneficially modulates gut microbiota through a significant increase in beneficial bifidobacteria.
"These latest findings demonstrate that the combination of Palatinose™ and chicory root fibre (Orafti Synergy1), independently of each other, supports blood glucose management for improved metabolic health.
"BENEO’s Palatinose (isomaltulose) is a slow release sugar made from sucrose, and it is unique in its ability to deliver a lower rise in blood glucose, while delivering full carbohydrate energy (4 kcal/g). It can be used in various applications as it is soluble, very low hygroscopic and comes with a mild sugar-like sweetening profile. Additionally, it carries EU health claims for being toothfriendly and providing a lower blood glucose response.
BENEO’s chicory root fibres contribute to a low glycaemic diet by replacing available carbohydrates and enriching the food with a dietary fibre and prebiotics. Thus, they support effective blood sugar management.[v] At the same time, numerous scientific studies have shown that chicory root fibre is one of the very few proven prebiotics that nourishes the beneficial gut microbiota[vi], supporting digestive health[vii] and wellbeing[viii], as well as weight management[ix]."
Could you comment on Beneo’s latest personalised nutrition study and how the sugar alternative helps support blood sugar management in complex real-life situations?
AS: "The study[x] demonstrated that it is possible to achieve a lower and more balanced blood glucose day profile with a small dietary intervention that was integrated in the normal habitual diet of an individual interested in the improved management of their individual blood sugar and improvement of their personal microbiome.
"The demonstration of the synergetic effect of the two ingredients related to the decrease in glycaemic variability over time is particularly exciting, as it finally confirms that microbiota composition and blood sugar management are closely interrelated. Therefore, our Palatinose and Orafti Synergy1 functional ingredients offer a holistic approach, and it is the personal choice of consumers that can make the measurable difference on an individual level."
Do you find consumers are looking for ingredients and benefits beyond weight management? For example, Palatinose™ also exhibits sustained energy supply (for sports nutrition) and facilitates toothfriendly products.
AS: "Improving mental wellbeing, overall mood and physical energy levels are some of the most important health aspects that have gained momentum because of the pandemic years[xi].
"Many consumers are looking for products that deliver energy for their everyday lives, or their sporting activities, in a way that also helps promote their longer-term health.
"This is where there is an opportunity for food and drink producers to make the most of sustained energy delivery with BENEO’s Palatinose. This slow release, toothfriendly sugar provides the carbohydrates the brain depends on in a balanced way, whilst at the same time allowing the body to stay in a low glycaemic state."
Finally, how does Beneo respond to such statistics like those from Innova Market Insights that found three in five U.S. consumers would rather reduce their sugar intake than replace it with artificial sweeteners?
AS: "The Innova results back up what we are seeing in our consumer surveys and our feedback from customers. Although carbohydrates are an important part of a person’s diet, awareness is growing amongst consumers that some types of sugar are healthier than others and some of those healthier types of sugar are physiologically better than some types of starches/polysaccharides.
For example, high glycaemic carbohydrates, such as maltodextrin, can lead to a high release of insulin into the body which facilitates the storage of fat. In the long term, these high blood glucose profiles can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.
According to our research[xii], 1 in 2 consumers see sugars or carbohydrates that have a lower impact on blood sugar levels as enticing. Additionally, 2 in 3 consumers find BENEO’s Palatinose balanced sugar appealing because it supports a healthier lifestyle and provides sustained energy.
"This really demonstrates the rising consumer appetite for low glycaemic carbohydrates, and the opportunities for manufacturers through the development of food and drink products that benefit from the addition of Palatinose."
[ii] Khan and Bowman, Ann Rev Nutr 1999, 19 13-17
[iii] Augustin LS, Kendall CW, Jenkins DJ et al. (2015) Glycemic index, glycemic load and glycemic response: An international scientific consensus summit from the international carbohydrate quality consortium (ICQC). Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 25(9): 795–815. http://www.nmcd-journal.com/article/S0939-4753(15)00127-1/pdf
Livesey G et al. (2019) Dietary Glycemic Index and Load and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Updated Meta-Analyses of Prospective Cohort Studies. Nutrients 11(6). https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/6/1280. Zalewski et al. (2017) Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 57(3):489-500. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 57(3):0. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25751102 EarlyNutrition www.project-earlynutrition.eu
[iv] Orafti Synergy1 is an oligofructose‐inulin combination containing shorter chain inulin (oligofructose DP < 10) and longer chain inulin (inulin DP ≥ 10) in an approximate 50:50 ratio ± 10% each. Beneo‐Orafti, Tienen, Belgium
[v] Kellow et al (2014), Liu et al (2017) both systematic review and meta analysis, O’Connor et al (2017) literature review, Zhang et al (2020) systematic review and meta analysis
[vi] Gibson GR, Hutkins R, Sanders ME et al. (2017) Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 14(8): 491–502. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrgastro.2017.75.pdf
[vii] Collada Yurita et al (2014) systematic review and meta analysis, Skorka et al (2018) systematic review
[viii] Vandeputte D, Falony G, Vieira-Silva S, et al. oi:10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313271 Vandeputte D, Falony G, Vieira-Silva S et al. (2017) Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota. Gut 66(11): 1968–1974. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28213610/
[ix] Kellow et al (2014) systematic review and meta analysis, O’Connor et al (2017) literature review
[x] Kordowski A, Künstner A, Schweitzer L, Theis S, Schröder T, Busch H, Sina C, Smollich M (2022) Palatinose (Isomaltulose) and Prebiotic Inulin-Type Fructans Have Beneficial Effects on Glycemic Response and Gut Microbiota Composition in Healthy Volunteers - A Real-Life, Retrospective Study of a Cohort That Participated in a Digital Nutrition Program. Frontiers in Nutrition 9. DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2022.829933, published 07 March 2022. Link: https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnut.2022.829933
[xi] Insites Consulting conducted an online quantitative survey in October and November 2020 in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, UK: 1000 consumers/ country = 5,000 consumers in total
[xii] Insites Consulting conducted an online quantitative survey in October and November 2020 in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, UK: 1000 consumers/ country = 5,000 consumers in total