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J Nutr. 1989 Nov;119(11):1631-8.

The effect of various thermal processes on the glycemic response to whole grain wheat products in humans and rats.

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Department of Food Chemistry, University of Lund, Sweden.


The effects of different thermal processes used to produce ready-to-eat cereals on the glycemic response to whole grain wheat were investigated in rats. The metabolic response to drum dried flour, which constitutes the major component in instant gruel and porridge, was also studied in healthy human subjects. Boiled flour was used for comparison. The degree of starch gelatinization and rate of starch hydrolysis in vitro were also measured. Incompletely gelatinized steam flaked and dry autoclaved products were digested more slowly in vitro and elicited lower glucose responses in rats compared with completely gelatinized drum dried, extrusion cooked or boiled samples. The initial glycemic response in rats was closely related to the rate of starch hydrolysis in the pepsin/alpha-amylase assay (r = 0.91, P less than 0.04). When pepsin was omitted, no significant correlation was obtained. The peak glucose, insulin and C-peptide responses in humans after breakfast meals of porridge prepared from drum dried flour and from boiled flour were similar, whereas the rate of depression of the glucose curve was more rapid after consuming drum dried porridge. It is concluded that the glycemic response to wheat products is affected by the processing conditions used. The more severe the processing conditions, the more rapid the digestion of starch.

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