TechnologyLow sugar foods: How to estimate the glycemic index

Low sugar foods: How to estimate the glycemic index

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The trend towards less and less use of sugar in the composition of food is unstoppable. The number of variants of products launched in the European market under the claim “low in sugar” or “without sugar” is constantly increasing year after year, standing at 6,306 variants launched in the European Union in 2017.

Food companies, especially those that focus their offer on groups with overweight, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes , can have scientific evidence of the glycemic response of their new products developed, through the use of the in vitro Dynamic Digester available at AINIA, to validate their nutritional and healthy improvement.

The glycemic index (IG) is an indicator that allows to classify foods considering the glycemic response in blood of an ingested food compared to a reference food (glucose or white bread). Glycemic index values ​​can be used to assist consumers in food selection and possibly to reduce the risk of certain diseases.

However, the in vivo method to determine the GI of foods has certain drawbacks, since it is considered slow, expensive and unethical (frequent blood sampling in humans, two foods to be tested, etc.).

With the purpose of having a faster, more reproducible methodology that generates fewer errors, especially when the study focuses on the development of food products, some in vitro methods have been developed to estimate the GI of foods.

Technological solutions to estimate the Glycemic Index: AINIA In Vitro Dynamic Digester

At AINIA Centro Tecnologico we have extensive know-how in in vitro studies to estimate the glycemic index of foods. This allows us to help food companies when developing new products with a reduced glycemic level tested with scientific-technical evidence.

We make this possible thanks to the fact that we have an in vitro Dynamic Digester that reproduces the gastrointestinal conditions of the human being, which:

  • Reproduce the peristaltic movements of the stomach and intestine.
  • Control body temperature.
  • Regulate the acidic conditions of the stomach and basic conditions of the intestine
  • Reproduce salivary, gastric and intestinal (biliary, pancreatic, etc.) secretions of enzymes and substances involved in digestion.
  • Reproduce the gradual emptying of the stomach and intestine.

Trends in the development of low sugar products

The trend in the development of foods “low in” or “without” sugars is clear. As we see in this graph, the number of product variants we launch in the Union market is constantly increasing year after year, standing at 6,306 variants launched in Europe in 2017.

The consumer wants to reduce the consumption of sugar and for this he reads more and more the labeling of the product. It also demands more natural sweeteners, differentiating between “good” and “bad” sugars.

But in addition, different organizations insist on this line as a preventive measure against diseases and reduce the health expenditure that this entails, adopting new regulatory measures. Thus, the Ministry of Health has recently announced the first Collaboration Plan for the improvement of the composition of food and beverages in Spain 2017-2020. It is a commitment to reduce, among other nutrients, the sugar in food. The objective is none other than to minimize the risks to the health of consumers that derive from a high intake.

Added to this is the legislative initiative of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Law 5/2017, of March 28). A tax measure that creates and regulates a tax on packaged sugary drinks. If you want to know what this tax consists of, we invite you to read the article “Tax on packaged sugary drinks (EIBB)”.

According to current legislation, to convey that the product has a lower sugar content, the label must refer to it as “low sugar content”, if the product does not contain more than 5 g of sugars per 100 g in the case of solids or 2.5 g of sugars per 100 ml in the case of liquids., “without sugars”, if the product does not contain more than 0.5 g of sugars per 100 g or 100 ml., or “without added sugars ”, if no monosaccharide or disaccharide has been added to the product, nor any food used for its sweetening properties.

If you need to reformulate products to reduce your sugar level, or estimate their glycemic index, count on AINIA, we can help you.

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