Future trends

Strategies to produce low-GI foods could include: incorporating non-digesting carbohydrates (dietary fiber, RS) into foods; starches with slow digesting properties that extend glucose release; creating proper food forms; viscosity-increasing polysaccharides that delay gastric emptying or decrease digestive enzyme access; organic acids and their salts; or anti-nutritional agents that inhibit digestion of starch and other glycemic carbohydrates. Additionally, as more research is conducted to understand the effects of low-GI foods with slow glucose release properties on health, satiety, activity levels, and mental performance, these types of slowly digestible carbohydrates may be available for consumers.

Food form will continue to be a major issue in the development of low-GI and, particularly, slow digesting foods. Highly organized, dense food forms impede starch digestion and, thereby, lower the glycemic response of starchy foods. An organized food form could simply preserve the crystalline order of starch (prevent complete gelatinization) during food processing or provide a barrier to digestive enzymes. Besides pasta (described in Section 9.5.1), whole-grain foods, wherein the cellular layers surrounding the starch granules are intact, also present an example of an organized food form with low GI. Whole-wheat-flour bread, in which some of the grain structure persists, has been reported to elicit a lower glycemic response than white bread (Liljeberg et al., 1992). Similarly, legumes cooked under mild heat processing conditions (such as boiling), that had an intact cellular structure, had lower GI as compared with legumes cooked under harsher conditions (pressure cooking) or milled before cooking (Wolever et al., 1987; Tovar et al., 1992; Golay et al., 1986). Beverages, from the point of view of providing extended energy release, represents a special challenge, because soluble glucose-containing oligosaccharides, maltodextrins, and starches tend to be rapidly digested. There is a need for a more systematic research approach to understand how glycemic carbohydrates and food form

(type of matrix, concentration, cooling profile, storage conditions) influence GI and glucose release profiles, and their physiological and metabolic consequences.

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