Efforts from the food industry to combat the obesity epidemic have mainly focused on reducing the energy content of foods, cutting fat or reducing portion size. However, the fact that obesity rates continue to remain a problem suggests that this is not enough. National Starch Food Innovation address these concerns with a view to tackling obesity.
New research, recently presented at health professional seminars in Australia, may provide the food industry with an effective new tool in the obesity fight. Studies have revealed that there is an opportunity to reduce how much people eat by enhancing the satiety effect of food – without adding calories.
According to Professor Joanne Slavin, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, choosing the right type of foods may help people control appetite. Also, it was found that resistant starch is the most effective in curbing appetite.
Professor Slavin delivered the keynote address at seminars held in Sydney and Melbourne, focusing on her research into the satiety effects of resistant starch, a fibre ingredient attracting significant interest from the scientific community and recently incorporated into the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Nutrient Reference Values.
In the study conducted by Slavin at the University of Minnesota, participants who ate a breakfast muffin with added resistant starch found that they were less hungry and stayed fuller for longer compared with those who ate muffins containing other types of fibre. The muffins contained around 9g of fibre and had similar levels of calories and other nutrients.
Unlike other satiety enhancers such as protein, which can mean adding calories, adding resistant starch to a food adds little or no additional energy to the diet.
According to Slavin, since resistant starch is an invisible form of fibre, it is easy to both boost a family’s fibre intake and prevent over-eating. By recognising appetite signals, people may be less likely to over-eat or snack on the wrong foods. One can enhance those signals by choosing the right foods, such as those with resistant starch.
Resistant starch is found naturally in firm bananas, legumes, pasta, potatoes and rice. One of the richest natural sources of resistant starch is Hi-maize, which is made from Australian grown corn ground finely.
Hi-maize can be used to boost fibre levels in breads, breakfast cereals, snacks and bars, pasta, noodles, beverages, soups and ready meal components. In addition to health advantages, dose tolerance and processing benefits, Hi-maize delivers good texture and clean flavour.