Health & Wellbeing

Natural plant pigment makes for diabetic-friendly bread

Natural plant pigment makes fo...
Researchers have created bread that improves blood glucose control for diabetics
Researchers have created bread that improves blood glucose control for diabetics
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Researchers have created bread that improves blood glucose control for diabetics
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Researchers have created bread that improves blood glucose control for diabetics

Good for news for people with diabetes, and it's edible, too. Scientists at the National University of Singapore have created a bread with anthocyanin, a plant pigment that helps slow digestion, which helps the body keep glucose levels in the blood under control. The team hopes it will help pave the way for a new market of healthier food products for people who have to manage their diabetes.

The team, led by Professor Zhou Weibiao, found that when dough with one percent of anthocyanin extract from black rice was baked at a temperature of 200° C (392° F) for eight minutes, digestion rates decreased by 12.8 per cent. When they increased the amount of anthocyanin to four percent, the digestion rate was even slower, dropping to 20.5 percent.

This happens because anthocyanin can inhibit digestive enzymes, making digestion slower and improving blood glucose control in the process. Conversely, starch found in standard bread is rapidly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, making sugar levels rise too quickly because of its high glycemic index.

Besides slowing digestion, adding anthocyanin to food offers other health benefits, the researchers say. Anthocyanin is rich in antioxidants, and can help prevent cardiovascular and neurological diseases, cancer and inflammation.

The research goes back to 2014 when the team looked into the degradation of anthocyanins during baking. At the time, they found that 8- percent of the antioxidant capacity of the bread crust and crumb was retained even when baked at 240° C (464° F) for up to 12 minutes.

"Our results demonstrate that it is indeed feasible to create functional food products through anthocyanin fortification, using bread as an example," says Prof Zhou. "We hope to conduct further studies to incorporate anthocyanins into other food items, such as biscuits. Our team is also keen to explore opportunities to work with industry partners to introduce the anthocyanin-fortified bread to the market."

Besides black rice, anthocyanins, which belong to a class of molecules called flavonoids, can be found in several fruit and vegetable types, such as berries, grains and purple sweet potatoes.

The study appeared in the October 2015 issue of the journal Food Chemistry.

Source: NUS

4 comments
Timelord
I wonder if anthocyanin could be taken in some other form, like pills or powder sprinkled onto food, which could help reduce the problem of foods with high glycemic indices even for non-diabetics, such as potatoes. Or sweets. Imagine being able to eat a larger slice of cake with icing without having your blood sugar spike through the roof. Important for older people since the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels decreases with age, and high levels can damage the dentate gyrus in the brain, among other structures.
pmshah
"digestion rates decreased by 12.8 per cent. When they increased the amount of anthocyanin to four percent, the digestion rate was even slower, dropping to 20.5 percent." Does this mean that at 1% digestion rate dropped to 87.2 % and at 4% it dropped to 20.5 % ? So does it bring down the need for food or keep one full for extended periods? This could be a solution for high prevalence of obesity.
SharonPeterson
Sounds good. Too good to be true, perhaps? Over-slow digestion (gastroparesis) is a fairly common diabetic complication. Not sure this is a healthy alternative for folks living with this condition. Also ... a slow rise does not necessarily mean no spike. Often, as with certain "low-carb" grain pastas, the spike is merely delayed by a few hours, and/or higher glucose levels may continue for days. Worth a test, maybe ... but with caution.
AGO
Another unknown factor introduced into our biology??? That's how we got diabetes in the first place!!! The un natural amount of carbohydrate forced down our throats is what began this ever profitable abyss..... We've all been unwilling Guinea pigs in the "healthy carb" experiment. Yes, it's true, it's easier and cheaper and infinitely more profitable to feed the masses on the super versatile and almighty "grain", ....... Just like livestock,... But is it right? We are all getting sicker every year! Why don't we find a better way to provide the food that humans evolved to eat? High fat low carb... That's what everyone is using to reverse diabetes now! Not because it's a miracle, but because it's what our bodies need to be healthy! ..... I guess it's another merry go round for us little people.......