The low-glycemic product movement has made it out of the corners of health food stores to become a widely accepted addition to supermarkets, mass merchandisers and drug stores, where they are often double-marketed with like foods. They can be seen in the diabetic supplies aisle, as well,” says Don Montuori, the publisher of Packaged Facts, as he explains how the low-glycemic movement may grow and create product offerings akin to the low-carb craze. In its report “Low Glycemic Index Food and Beverages in the U.S.,” year-end sales are estimated at $350 million and predicted to grow 45% annually through 2011, resulting in sales touching $1.8 billion by 2011.

To make the transition to low-glycemic formulations easier for food manufacturers, Pharmachem has recently developed StarchLite™, a patented ingredient containing an extract of the white bean, also known as Phase 2®. It may be added to food formulations to lower the glycemic index and help to lower the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. According to Gregory Drew, director of the food and beverage group at Pharmachem Laboratories, “Sensory and taste evaluations have shown that consumers favorably compare baked goods containing StarchLite to control products. Applications include baked goods, cereals, frozen foods, packaged meals, pasta, potato products, pizza crusts, soups, beverages, sauces, dips, chips and confectionery goods. StarchLite has repeatedly been found to have significant glycemic index lowering properties, as well as a-amylase inhibitory activity. It also has the added benefit of reducing weight, as shown in clinical studies.”

In one study, StarchLite was formulated into butter and spread on Wonder brand white bread; the glycemic index was decreased by 35%—a statistically significant reduction, according to Jay Udani, M.D., medical director, Pacific West Research (the facility where the research was performed). It did not modify the taste or texture of the bread. In another study, StarchLite was formulated (at 3%) into commercially available instant mashed potatoes and then tested to measure the inhibitory activity on a-amylase. After preparation of the instant mashed potatoes, StarchLite was nearly unaffected and retained activity. In at least two other double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on the effects of this ingredient on weight loss, the participants who consumed StarchLite lost significantly more weight than those on the placebo, averaging about a 5lb loss per month while consuming between 500-1,500mg per day.

As Billy McLellan, senior vice president of business development at Pharmachem Laboratories, says, “The low-glycemic technological innovations being discovered in food science may put the ‘wonder’ back in white bread.” NS

For more information:

Pharmachem Laboratories, Kearny, N.J., Gregory Drew,  201-719-7405,

Billy McLellan,  800-246-1000, ,