Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Catering to a healthier 2021

Wazzup Pilipinas!

For many of us, the new year offers a chance to reflect on the ways we would like to improve our lives. Something at the top of many people’s new year resolutions list is being healthier and eating better.

For food manufacturers, ‘new year, new me’ resolutions present a surge in people looking for healthier options. In fact, the demand for healthier products in Asia Pacific has been on a steady rise for some time and is set to continue growing post-COVID-19. New research from FMCG Gurus on behalf of BENEO shows that there is an overriding demand for healthy ingredients as consumers’ increasingly want to eat healthier, due to the pandemic.

In addition, the same research showed that people are increasingly becoming more vigilant about the threats posed by serious and common health conditions like diabetes as they appear to be more vulnerable to the virus. The past months have shown that people with diabetes or a badly controlled blood sugar level suffer more from COVID-19. With the region accounting for about 251 million diabetics, there’s a clear need for healthier alternatives that can help consumers better manage their blood glucose levels.

The good news is that scientific studies have showed that reducing blood sugar levels is relevant to health and the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes. To enable that, carbohydrate-based foods with low or reduced glycaemic properties should be the preferred food choices.

Low glycaemic diets are characterised by low blood glucose levels and correspondingly low insulin levels, which allows for a more balanced blood glucose response. This supports health and wellbeing in the long term, and benefits people of all age groups who thrive for a healthy diet and lifestyle.

With a growing body of research pointing towards blood sugar management as a powerful tool in the war against diabetes but also obesity, and more consumers now realising its potential, the food and drink industry has a clear opportunity. By incorporating BENEO’s range of ingredients from nature, they can create products with lower glycaemic indexes – a key requisite that allows for better blood sugar management and better overall health.

Effective blood sugar management without compromising taste

It is important to look at the quality of the carbohydrates we consume – and carbohydrates that help to keep the blood glucose level under control are the way to go. There are two effective ways to minimise the glycaemic effect of food products. The first is to modify the glucose supply with fully available, yet low glycaemic carbohydrates such as Palatinose™ (isomaltulose); ensuring the carbohydrate energy enters the body in a balanced way. The second is to reduce overall glucose supply by sugar replacement, using partially (e.g. the sugar replacer ISOMALT) or non-available carbohydrates (e.g. the prebiotic fibres Orafti® Inulin and Orafti® Oligofructose).

Derived from the sugar beet, Palatinose has a mild sugar-like sweet taste. It supplies the body with the same amount of energy as other common, high glycaemic carbohydrates, but in a more balanced way. The slower yet complete digestion and absorption of Palatinose™ is characterized by a slower, longer lasting, and steadier blood glucose response, without the significant drops in blood glucose associated with conventional high glycaemic sugars. This lower and more balanced blood glucose response results in less insulin release and an improved metabolic profile, which helps consumers who want to manage their weight as part of their new year’s resolution.

Alternatively, better blood sugar management can also be achieved by replacing available carbohydrates with partially (e.g. the sugar replacer ISOMALT) or non-available carbohydrates (e.g. chicory root fibres).

ISOMALT, the only sugar replacer from beet sugar, has a very low effect on blood sugar levels and does not trigger insulin release to any significant extent. With its sugar-like taste, this bulk sweetener can replace sugar in a 1:1 ratio in various applications. Aside from being the number one sugar replacer in sugar-free hard candies worldwide, it is also popular in products like chewing gum, baked goods and cereals.

BENEO’s functional fibres inulin and oligofructose, are also additional options when looking to reduce the glucose supply of foods. They are both prebiotic fibres, naturally derived from the chicory root, and they both have a mild and pleasant taste. Partially replacing high glycaemic sugars, these chicory root fibres effectively reduce the glycaemic response of foods while still offering excellent sensorial taste and texture. At the same time, inulin and oligofructose also enrich foods with prebiotic fibre content, thus helping consumers to reach the recommended level of dietary fibre intake and boosting digestive health.

To a healthier year ahead

BENEO’s portfolio of ingredients such as Palatinose™, ISOMALT, Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose has proven that their benefits can help manufacturers produce foods that are both healthy and tasty to consumers, helping them to keep their blood glucose levels at a lower, more balanced level. With the interest in healthier food products continuing to grow, the time is now for manufacturers to start adapting their recipes to meet this demand, making it easier for consumers fulfil their new year’s goals of a healthier lifestyle.

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