Effects on parameters of glucose homeostasis in healthy humans from ingestion of leguminous versus maize starches
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Background: Due to their lower glycaemic index, leguminous seeds affect human carbohydrate metabolism lesser than do cereals. Problems, however, could arise from side effects, e.g., increasing flatulence.
Aim of the study and methods: In 26 healthy subjects, metabolic and symptomatic responses following acute ingestion of equivalent amounts of pure pea starch (NASTAR (Cosucra BV, Rosendaal/The Netherlands), crude yellow pea flour (CPC Deutschland, Germany), and modified and unmodified cornstarches (SNOWFLAKE and SIRONA, Cerestar/Germany) were assessed, i.e., plasma glucose, serum insulin, C-peptide, hydrogen exhalation, and flatulence.
Results: Pure pea starch elicited less hyperglycaemia (minus 47 %), hyperinsulinaemia (minus 54 %), and C-peptide secretion (minus 37 %) as compared to cornstarch (p<0.05), while the responses to modified versus unmodified corn starch were similar (8 subjects, n.s.). Pure pea and corn starches were equally well tolerated, while flatulence and breath hydrogen concentration were increased only after the intake of crude pea flour.
Maldigestion of pea flour was calculated to be around 10 % (reference lactulose).
Conclusions: The well-known metabolic advantages of pea starch over cornstarch were confirmed. Tolerability of pure pea starch was excellent, but not of crude pea flour. Provided it has the same technical characteristics, pure pea starch as a “prebiotic” could replace cornstarch in industrial food production.
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