Why oats as the ingredient of choice!
The goal for Glucanova is to provide a liquid natural whole grain/fiber-rich cereal-based food ingredient that should promote health targets sought by the consumer and be supported by public health recommendations. In addition, it should stabilize the product to which it is added (e.g. nutritional beverages, smoothies, fruit drinks, fiber drinks etc.) and in that way reduce or eliminate the need to add stabilizing agents. It should also have the potential to be fermented and used in fermented products (e.g. drinking yogurt). Oats (Avena sativa) came out as the outstanding cereal to achieve this having a list of “pro’s” that exceeded any of the other investigated plants:
- A balanced quantity and high quality of macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate) equal to the need of humans. Oats have a higher concentration of well-balanced protein than other cereals, and also the best amino acid profiles of any grain, and is lower in carbohydrates than most other whole grains
- Whole grain oats and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fiber. Oat contains a mixture of about half insoluble and half soluble fibers with very specific health promoting properties. Dietary fiber is an under-consumed nutrient in the western diet.
- Contains natural antioxidants, (helps protect end product quality as well as having possible health effects) and natural emulsifiers, (phospholipids and digalactosyldiglycerides) that help stabilize the product.
- Contains a good balance of healthy essential fatty acids and health promoting lipid components.
Glucanova is at present an active partner within the oat area in several large national and European research initiatives to develop new knowledge and IP on oats.
Why whole grain oat and fibre-rich oat bran?
Whole grains constitute an important part of dietary recommendations worldwide due to its health promoting properties. This was substantiated by WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (2004) where increased consumption of whole grains was set as a prime goal. This has resulted in national dietary guidelines globally and has been reflected in important industry and public initiatives in information and marketing (e.g. Whole Grain Council) which have boosted product launches and consumption as the message is easily communicable.
Examples of published health benefits of oats, confirmed and under evaluation, include:
Oats lower bad cholesterol: Health claims related to oat fiber beta-glucan and cholesterol reduction have been approved by FDA and EFSA. As one example, a U.S. study on thirty-six overweight middle-aged men compared the daily intake of oat and wheat cereal for twelve weeks. The men eating the oat cereal had lower concentration of LDL cholesterol compared to those in the wheat group.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2002; 76(2):351-8
In another study it was observed that oat milk containing insoluble as well soluble fibers decreased total as well as LDL cholesterol in healthy subjects.
Ann. Nutr. Metab. 1998; 42: 211-20
Oats help controlling blood glucose and insulin: Health claims related to oat fiber beta-glucan and reduction of postprandial blood glucose responses have been approved by EFSA. Control of blood glucose and insulin levels is of importance in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is also essential in preventing many of the complications associated with diabetes. In a German dietary intervention study with 14 patients who had uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, the patients were introduced to a diabetes-appropriate diet containing oatmeal. A 40% reduction in insulin dosage was achieved – a reduction which was maintained even after 4 weeks on their own at home.
Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes, February 2008; 116(2):132-4
In another study where beta-glucans isolated from an oat drink were added to a fruit juice flavored drink the postprandial levels of glucose and insulin were significantly reduced.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005; 59:1272-81
Oats may also improve insulin sensitivity: In a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial of ninety-seven men and women, in which half of the group consumed foods containing oat fiber, the other half ate control foods. The oat group showed improvements in insulin sensitivity, while the control group was unchanged.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007; 61(6):786-95
Oats help digestive mobility and eliminate need for laxatives: In a controlled, blind, intervention trial where subjects received 7-8g of oat bran per day, 59% of the oat group had discontinued laxative use whereas the control group showed an 8% increase in laxative use at the end of 6 weeks.
Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, February 2009; 13(2):136-9
Oats may contribute to feeling of satiety and weight management: Researchers at the University of Sydney compared 38 different foods given to volunteers with respect to Satiety Index. Oatmeal rated #3 overall for making people feel satisfied and full, and it rated #1 in the breakfast food group.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 1995; 49(9): 675-90
Oats may also increase appetite-control hormones: Australian researchers studied fourteen people who ate a control meal and three different cereals with different levels of oat beta-glucan. They then collected blood samples for four hours after each meal, and found a significant dose response between higher levels of oat beta-glucan and higher levels of Peptide Y-Y, a hormone associated with appetite control.
Nutrition Research, October 2009; 29(10):705-9
In another study an oat based soup was introduced as main meal as part of a dietary regimen among overweight and obese subjects during a 23 weeks period. The new oat-based liquid food (soup) was very well tolerated as a part of the dietary regimen which resulted in a weight reduction from 83 to 77 kg. The dietary regimen also resulted in lower plasma insulin, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.
Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 1996; 40: 212-20
Oats may reduce asthma risk in children: A Finnish study of 1293 children found that those introduced earlier to oats were less likely to develop persistent asthma.
British Journal of Nutrition, January 2010; 103(2):266-73
Oats may help control blood pressure: In a study on 18 hypertensive and hyperinsulemic men and women for six weeks, the oat group showed a 7.5mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 5.5 mm Hg reduction in diastolic blood pressure, while the wheat group was unchanged.
Journal of Family Practice, April 2002; 51(4):369
Oat Beta Glucans may improve immune system defenses: Italian researchers reviewed existing research about the positive effects of beta-glucans on human health. They found that, in addition to reducing cholesterol and blunting glycemic and insulin response, beta-glucans boost defenses of the immune system agains bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
Minerva Medica, June 2009; 100(3):237-45