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Positive EFSA claim evaluation based on new research on chicory oligofructose to lower blood glucose response


January 2014 - Following collaboration between BENEO, Cosucra and Sensus,  a dossier for an EU Art 13.5 claim was filed that contains new data to show the link between oligofructose and improved blood glucose response after intake.
The dossier submitted to EFSA was based on several studies* including newly developed science, and shows that oligofructose has a significant part to play in the area of glycaemic control.  The application targeted an EU Art 13.5 claim on the contribution of oligofructose to a reduction of post-prandial blood glucose response. EFSA’s positive evaluation allows the approval by the Commission, the Member States and the European Parliament within the health claim procedure. This opens the way for new food and drink applications to benefit both the industry and consumers alike.
This proprietary new research from BENEO, Cosucra and Sensus, has shown the positive impact on blood glucose response when a proportion of the sugars in a product is replaced with the prebiotic fibre oligofructose that is derived from chicory.  The new oligofructose data demonstrate a significantly lower blood glucose response with only 20% replacement. The conditions of use proposed in the evaluation refer to the “reduced sugars” claim as published in the annex of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006, i.e. a 30% replacement.
A second dossier focusing on chicory inulin and also including additional newly developed scientific research was ready for submission at the moment when EFSA’s opinion on chicory oligofructose was published. As EFSA broadened the scope to non-digestible carbohydrates when evaluating the oligofructose dossier chicory inulin is included and benefits de facto from this evaluation.
With increasing challenges placed on society by diet related diseases such as obesity, overweight, impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes,  there is increased emphasis on food and drink producers supporting the development of new, lower glycaemic response products. According to a spokesperson of the companies that invested in the research, “this approach is in line with the thinking of the nutritional advisors to expand consumers’ choice for healthy products. The research has provided additional physiological evidence why oligofructose is a very suitable sugar replacer and therefore represents new opportunities for the food industry to meet consumers’ demand for more low glycaemic and tasty products”.
* Studies are partly claimed as proprietary and/or confidential
Editor’s Note:
Oligofructose derived from chicory is not digested in the human digestive system; this means that its building blocks are not released into the blood stream as opposed to sugar for example, whose glucose and fructose are released into the blood stream.  Moreover, oligofructose can be used to replace sugar in a range of food products and by doing so, the glycaemic response of the food product is lowered.  So, sugar with its glycaemic response is replaced by a dietary fiber without a glycaemic response.

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