Scientists have used a specially formulated flour to make bread that keeps you full longer and lowers blood sugar, potentially providing a healthier alternative that lowers the risk of obesity and diabetes.
The new flour is made from legumes, which include chickpeas, lentils and beans. Already known to be useful in helping us maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, the benefits are largely based on the plant material maintaining its integrity. In the production of ordinary wheat flour, the benefits of this fibrous structure are believed to be due to the milling process.
“At a time when we are all being encouraged to increase our fiber intake, this study underscores the importance of fiber fitness, as intact cell walls slow starch digestion, improve blood sugar levels and stimulate body hormones. satiety to help us feel full. “says biochemist Peter Ellis, of King’s College London in the UK.
After producing their flour and baking their bread, the researchers tested it on 20 healthy people, who were served samples of white bread containing 0%, 30% and 60% chickpea flour. No added sugar jam was added for flavor.
The chickpea-enriched bread tended to fill the volunteers up according to their own statement. Blood work suggested it was the result of an increased release of hormones that promote satiety.
Then there was the reduction in blood sugar: 30% chickpea flour reduced blood sugar by up to 40%, with an almost equivalent drop seen with 60% chickpea flour compared to flour ordinary. This is because starch takes longer to break down in the body, researchers say.
“We have been impressed with the results we have seen in healthy individuals, and would now like to see how our Cellular Chickpea Flour Bread can help manage body weight or diabetes in trials. scaled-up dietary intervention with people suffering from these conditions,” says gut physiologist Balazs Bajka, of King’s College London.
In their published study, the researchers note that it can be difficult to get people to change their eating habits to prevent and solve potential problems such as obesity and diabetes – that’s why advances like this one are so promising.
Staples like bread could be engineered to be better for us, requiring no real effort on our part. In general, eating foods that require less processing has always proven to be the way to a longer and healthier life.
This is the first study of its kind, demonstrating how using whole-cell legume flour in bread can have these beneficial effects. There’s a lot more to come though: the same approach could be used on other types of food as well.
“We’ve known for a long time that the structure of foods can have a big impact on their nutritional value,” says bioscientist Cathrina Edwards, from the Quadram Institute in the UK. “This study is a promising example of how new ingredient structures can be successfully used to improve the metabolic and satiety effects of everyday food products.”
“We hope our findings will pique the interest of food producers looking to improve the health qualities of their products.”
The research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.