Perhaps the most efficacious ingredient to cover diabetes concerns is good old fibre, and with technologies enabling it to go seamlessly into beverages, it's easier than ever to offer consumers higher fibre content (it helped that the latest US food-guide pyramid had as one of its chief pronouncements to consume more fibre).
Soluble fibres such as psyllium, flax, gums and oats form gels in the intestine and slow the rate of nutrient absorption, which helps reduce blood-sugar levels after meals are consumed. Insoluble fibres from whole grains increase bulk and slow down the movement of matter through the bowel.
Both fibre types prolong gastric emptying and bind cholesterol to limit its absorption. Dietary fibre also inhibits the activity of alpha-amylase and postpones the release of glucose from starch.
A third fibre type, resistant starch, resists digestion in the small intestine, is fermented like some dietary fibres to provide long-term energy and can increase insulin sensitivity in healthy people.
The slow-carb movement, including ingredients such as resistant starch and Phase 2, is strongest in Europe where Mintel reports that just over 34 per cent of UK consumers are now actively avoiding sugar, while in France and Germany, the figures are 40 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively. Sweden has gone so far as to officially approve a low-GI health claim. There, products that qualify can state: "(X) gives a low and slow blood-sugar response and has a scientifically tested low-glycaemic index," per World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization criteria.
Although used traditionally as a spice for foods, cinnamon has found most of its success from a health-benefit standpoint in the supplements world. As for foods, the active components in cinnamon are not destroyed by heat, so cinnamon could certainly play an enhanced role in processed foods.
"It is typical to speak in general terms about a raw material such as cinnamon, but the species will play an important role in the end result," says Tim Romero, president of Integrity Nutraceuticals. "Even if you are starting with the same raw material it doesn't necessarily mean the function will be identical unless it's concentrated for a specific analyte. Unfortunately, competitors borrow science and potentially misrepresent the efficacy of their product."
The mineral chromium is at the heart of a biologically active complex called Glucose Tolerance Factor or 'GTF,' which is responsible for increasing the action of insulin in the body. Originally applied solely to supplements, it is now finding a home in bars, beverages and even chewing gum. The two primary forms of chromium on the market are chromium picolinate and niacin-bound chromium polynicotinate. Both have research to back their efficacy.
Some suppliers have rolled out branded ingredients, using catchy monikers to cement the health condition they address. Examples include Terry Labs' GlySync and DSM's Insuvital.
Nutripeptint: A glycaemic index-reducing peptide. A natural, safe means to control blood-glucose through diet. A clinical study showed that supplementation of 1-2% gives significant GI-lowering functionality (GI reduction of 30-50 per cent) to ordinary foodstuffs, while not inducing hypoglycaemia.
+33 (0)3 21 10 00 30
Le Portel, France
Draco Natural Products
Pomegranate Seed Oil, 70% CLnA: Contains a high level of a unique omega-3 fatty acid, CLnA, that converts into CLA in the body. Studies also show that pomegranate- seed oil promotes skin-cell renewal.
Yumberry Extract, 20:1: Rich in cyanidin-3-glucoside, which studies have shown reduces appetite and positively improves hormones that govern fat metabolism. Also contains myricetin, which works similarly to resveratrol on the anti-ageing SIR2 gene.
+1 408 287 7871
San Jose, California, USA
GAT Food Essentials
Denomega GAT 100: A liquid functional-foods ingredient containing omega-3s from fish oil. Can be used in a broad range of food and beverage applications without affecting taste, smell or shelf life of the food or beverage product.
+43 2624 53922
MoruCel: Herbal powder extracted from mulberry leaf. Considered a superior ingredient to help type II diabetics with blood-glucose levels.
+86 731 5138565
Nopal: A dehydrated powder from the opuntia indica ficus, aka, prickly pear cactus. Processed in low-vacuum drying units where temperature and air flow are monitored to produce pure high-quality powder. Thought to aid in regulating blood sugar and to bind fats, making this powder ideal for weight-loss and other products.
+1 972 230 9155
DeSoto, Texas, USA
ChromeMate: A patented form of biologically active chromium called chromium nicotinate or polynicotinate. Dramatically increases the effectiveness of chromium. Helps insulin metabolize fat, turn protein into muscle and convert sugar into energy.
+1 800 783 4636
Benicia, California, USA
Cinnamon Extract: All-herb extract produced in a GMP facility and tested at independent laboratories in the US. A natural, safe and healthy way to maintain healthy blood-sugar levels.
+1 973 439 6869
Fairfield, New Jersey, USA
SX-Fraction: A patented glycoprotein derived from maitake mushrooms. Researched to promote healthy blood-sugar levels and healthy insulin function. Works synergistically with many other ingredients.
+1 800 747 7418
East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA
Viscofiber: A multi-functional ingredient suitable for functional foods and dietary supplements. Provides the highest quality of oat-soluble fibre available today, with an enhanced concentration up to 12 times more than oat bran. GRAS affirmed.
+1 780 436 6444
Chromium Aminokel: Has an absorption rate 2-3 times greater than the absorption rate of inorganic salt. Chromium is involved in the production of insulin and the release of glucose from cells. In studies, diabetics who took chromium daily have shown reduced blood-sugar levels.
+1 305 270 3774
Miami, Florida, USA
Maltisorb: Derived from grains, this range can be used alone and play a major role in reduced sugar and sugar free products.
+1 800 553 7035
Soft Gel Technologies
Loquoro: Standardized extract of loquat leaf with one per cent corosolic acid. Loquat leaves are abundant in triterpene acids, notably corosolic acid, which stimulates uptake of blood glucose, thereby helping to regulate it. Aids in glucose transport, but also inhibits the differentiation of pre-adipocytes into adipocytes.
+1 323 726 0700
Los Angeles, California, USA
TSI Health Sciences
Promilin: A patented ingredient for promoting healthy glucose and insulin utilization. Proprietary research and clinical studies supporting a bioactive compound found in 4-hydroxyisoleucine indicate promise for healthy products.
+1 406 549 9123
Missoula, Montana, USA