Author(s): Englyst KN, Englyst HN, Hudson GJ, Cole TJ, Cummings JH
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Abstract BACKGROUND: A chemically based classification of dietary carbohydrates that takes into account the likely site, rate, and extent of digestion is presented. The classification divides dietary carbohydrates into sugars, starch fractions, and nonstarch polysaccharides, and groups them into rapidly available glucose (RAG) and slowly available glucose (SAG) as to the amounts of glucose (from sugar and starch, including maltodextrins) likely to be available for rapid and slow absorption, respectively, in the human small intestine. OBJECTIVE: We hypothesize that RAG is an important food-related determinant of the glycemic response. DESIGN: The measurement of RAG, SAG, and starch fractions by an in vitro technique is described, based on the measurement by HPLC of the glucose released from a test food during timed incubation with digestive enzymes under standardized conditions. Eight healthy adult subjects consumed 8 separate test meals ranging in RAG content from 11 to 49 g. RESULTS: The correlation between glycemic response and RAG was highly significant (P < 0.0001) and a given percentage increase in RAG was associated with the same percentage increase in glycemic response. After subject variation was accounted for, RAG explained 70\% of the remaining variance in glycemic response. CONCLUSIONS: We show the significance of in vitro measurements of RAG in relation to glycemic response in human studies. The simple in vitro measurement of RAG and SAG is of physiologic relevance and could serve as a tool for investigating the importance of the amount, type, and form of dietary carbohydrates for health.
This article was published in Am J Clin Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences