Low GI Food Development Ingredients

Mar. 06, 2023

The glycemic index, or glycemic index, is a physiological parameter used to describe the ability of carbohydrates in food to raise blood glucose after a meal.


A low GI diet can reduce the risk of type II diabetes and gestational diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and breast and bowel cancer, as well as improve health in terms of weight loss and management, skin health, sustained energy supply, exercise endurance, prolonged satiety, lower cholesterol levels, and pregnancy management.


To make a low GI food, it is very important to use the right ingredients to reduce the GI value of food, and the following "black technology" ingredients can enable low GI product development.

low GI diet


01 Ingredients with low GI properties


Factors affecting GI value include the texture of the food itself, raw and auxiliary ingredients, processing methods and degree of processing, etc. Among them, the choice of raw and auxiliary ingredients is an important factor in determining the GI value of the product. The combination of various low GI ingredients and slow-digesting carbohydrates, such as partial sugars, sugar alcohols, and resistant starches, can achieve "twice the result with half the effort".




Unlike common sugars that can be quickly broken down and digested to release glucose into the bloodstream, there are some sugars with slow digestion and absorption/low levels that are low GI sugars, such as isomaltulose (GI=32), tagatose (GI=3) and lactose (GI=46), which can suppress postprandial hyperglycemia and are good ingredients for low GI product development.


Sugar alcohols


Sugar alcohols have low calories and low glycemic index. Common sugar alcohols with GI value less than 55 are low GI raw materials, such as xylitol (GI=7), maltitol (GI=26), isomaltone sugar alcohol (GI=2), lactitol (GI=-1~3), etc. Sugar alcohols can replace sugar substances with relatively high GI values, such as glucose (GI=100), maltose (GI=105), and sucrose (GI=65).


Resistant starch


Compared with regular starch, resistant starch itself is digested and absorbed slowly in the body, which can slow down the rise of blood sugar in the body and is generally lower in terms of GI index, helping to stabilize blood sugar after meals. The use of resistant starch in food instead of refined carbohydrates can reduce the GI value of the product to a certain extent, and has been widely used in pasta, bakery, puffed and other foods. During the market application, the production process and temperature need to be controlled, because different degrees of pasting of resistant starch can affect the GI value, but overall the difference in GI value between different treatments is relatively small.


02 GI reduction ingredients


In the digestive tract, the digestion of available carbohydrates involves a variety of digestive enzymes, and the inhibition of these enzymes has the effect of reducing carbohydrate absorption and utilization. Many ingredients have been found to inhibit amylase and glucosidase activity, such as L-arabinose, white kidney bean extract, and mulberry leaf extract.



Crystalline L-Arabinose


L-arabinose is a natural sugar extracted from corn cob and other plants as the main raw material, with pure sweetness and belongs to the human body's unavailable carbohydrates, which can selectively inhibit the small intestine sucrase activity, thus reducing the digestion and absorption of sucrose in the body to reduce the related blood sugar fluctuations.


L-arabinose has the characteristics of obvious effect of sugar reduction, good compatibility, wide applicability, and low cost. In the development of low GI products, L-arabinose, and white sugar can be compounded into low GI sugar for various foods on the one hand, and L-arabinose can be used directly to replace high GI sugar on the other hand.


In many processed foods, sucrose is still an essential ingredient, and reducing the glycemic burden caused by sucrose is also a very necessary way to reduce sugar. This compound sugar not only retains the excellent sweet taste of white sugar, but also maintains or even enhances the processing characteristics of white sugar in food, which can replace the traditional sugar raw materials such as white sugar in the original processed food and can be used as sugar for home use, catering sugar, and food industry sugar raw materials to reduce the health burden caused by excessive intake of traditional sugar. Health burden caused by excessive intake of traditional sugar and solve the problem of the poor taste of some sweeteners. A number of low GI products with L-arabinose have already been launched.


White kidney bean extract


The active ingredient of white kidney bean extract is amylase inhibitor protein, which inhibits the activity of salivary and pancreatic α-amylase in the human digestive tract through specific binding to α-amylase glycosidic site, thus effectively inhibiting the decomposition and absorption of starchy carbohydrates in the food, thereby inhibiting the increase of postprandial blood glucose concentration, which is suitable for reducing the GI value of high starchy food. Currently, white kidney bean extract is widely used in carbohydrate-reduced functional foods.


Morus alba extract


The active ingredient of mulberry leaf extract, 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), has a structure similar to that of sugar and has a competitive inhibitory activity against α-glucosidase. By inhibiting the activity of α-glucosidase, it slows down/reduces the digestion and absorption of sugar and carbohydrates in the body, thereby reducing the degree of postprandial blood glucose elevation and making blood glucose more stable. Therefore Mulberry leaf extract can be used to lower the GI value of some sugar and carbohydrate containing foods.