May 29, 2016

Some Proclaimed Superfoods Are Not

These superfoods may be better for people without diabetes, but for those of us with diabetes, I do not think they will be neutral for blood glucose results. I would say that they will be like most other carbohydrates and increase your blood glucose levels rather rapidly.

Of course, this is the way food manufacturers attempt to trick us or lure us into consuming what they manufacture. Yes, those of us with diabetes need to be concerned about nutrient dense foods, but just because the manufacturer says they are nutrient dense, does not mean that we should consume them if we are managing our diabetes to prevent spikes in our blood glucose levels.

The popularity of “super” products is clear as food and drink manufacturers globally are tapping into demand for these nutritionally dense ingredients,” said Stephanie Mattucci, global food science analyst at Mintel. “Today’s consumers are becoming much more aware of what they are putting into their bodies.”

Ancient grains gaining appeal, which is good for those of us can tolerate them. The wheat-free diet trend has driven growth in the amount of products containing “supergrains” ancient grains, Mintel said. Chia is leading the charge, as the percent of products in which the ingredient was featured grew 27% between 2014 and 2015. During the same period, products containing teff grew 31% and those containing quinoa rose 27%.

The popularity of pulses as a superfood is on the rise, too. Over the past two years, Mintel said, the percentage of products launched containing green split pea jumped 126%, while those containing coral lentils grew 62% and products featuring yellow split peas increased 21%.

“Pulses can be used to add a range of natural health benefits to food and drink products,” Ms. Mattucci said. “Additionally, healthy pulses are staples in many ethnic cuisines, offering manufacturers a pathway for product innovation for convenience-seeking ethnic food explorers.”

Superseeds also are sprouting up more often in new product launches. Over the past two years, the percentage of food and beverages containing chia seeds increased 70%, according to Mintel. Products featuring pumpkin seeds grew 27% and those containing sunflower seeds spiked 22%.

“Some seeds, including chia and pumpkin seeds, offer complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids in the correct ratios,” Ms. Mattucci said. “However, a lot of protein from seeds is incomplete. Blending seeds can help improve the quality of protein.”

Going forward, sprouted ancient grains, turmeric and moringa are the superfoods to watch, Ms. Mattucci said.

“Whilst the number of products containing ancient grains has been rising, next we could see the popularity of sprouting ancient grains,” Ms. Mattucci said. “The ancient, accidental process of sprouting, where whole grains are soaked and left to germinate has largely been eliminated by modern processing techniques. There has been a return to this ancient practice, with controlled ‘sprouting’ practices being introduced, as the nutritive advantage of sprouted grains is being recognized. The ancient grain quinoa is leading the comeback of sprouted grains.”

Turmeric and moringa also may be on the rise, as turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and moringa is said to have beauty and anti-aging properties.

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