Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 310–316 | Cite as

Filtered Molasses Concentrate from Sugar Cane: Natural Functional Ingredient Effective in Lowering the Glycaemic Index and Insulin Response of High Carbohydrate Foods

  • Alison G. WrightEmail author
  • Timothy P. Ellis
  • Leodevico L. Ilag
Original Paper


An aqueous filtered molasses concentrate (FMC) sourced from sugar cane was used as a functional ingredient in a range of carbohydrate-containing foods to reduce glycaemic response. When compared to untreated controls, postprandial glucose responses in the test products were reduced 5–20 %, assessed by accredited glycaemic index (GI) testing. The reduction in glucose response in the test foods was dose-dependent and directly proportional to the ratio of FMC added to the amount of available carbohydrate in the test products. The insulin response to the foods was also reduced with FMC addition as compared to untreated controls. Inclusion of FMC in test foods did not replace any formulation ingredients; it was incorporated as an additional ingredient to existing formulations.

Filtered molasses concentrate, made by a proprietary and patented process, contains many naturally occurring compounds. Some of the identified compounds are known to influence carbohydrate metabolism, and include phenolic compounds, minerals and organic acids. FMC, sourced from a by-product of sugar cane processing, shows potential as a natural functional ingredient capable of modifying carbohydrate metabolism and contributing to GI reduction of processed foods and beverages.


Filtered molasses Glycaemic index Reduced glycaemic response Reduced insulin response Carbohydrate metabolism 



Catechin equivalent (non-specific measure of phenolic activity)


Filtered molasses concentrate


Glycemic index (measurement of 2 h postprandial glycemic response relative to pure glucose)


Insulinemic index or response (measurement of 2 hour postprandial insulin response relative to glucose)


Oxygen-radical absorbance capacity (measure of antioxidant activity)


Picomole per litre



The authors would like to thank Fiona Atkinson of the Sydney University Glycaemic Index Research Service for extensive GI testing, analysis and reporting; Ria Setyabudi (formerly Horizon Science) for sample preparation and analysis, Gunter Kuhnle of the University of Reading for polyphenol determination, and Plant and Food Research New Zealand for in vitro digestive enzyme studies.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Study subjects

The authors declare this research study involved human subjects. This study was conducted in accordance with the ethical principles that have their origins in the Declaration of Helsinki. The experimental procedures used in this study were in accordance with international standards for conducting ethical research with humans and were approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Sydney University (approval number 08-2009/12029, valid August 13, 2009 – August 31, 2012). This study was performed between March 2011 and March 2012.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison G. Wright
    • 1
    Email author
  • Timothy P. Ellis
    • 1
  • Leodevico L. Ilag
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Horizon Science Pty. LtdMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology InstituteUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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