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Flour power in our daily bread


There are few foods more satisfying than a chunk of white bread when we are seeking comfort food. Unfortunately, white bread is not one of our healthiest food choices.

The news that researchers at the Quadram Institute and King’s College London have produced an ingredient that can replace wheat flour and produce a healthier version of our favourite comfort food, could well bring some cheer to our mealtimes.

When used in bread making, the new ingredient, referred to as PulseON®, improved the glycaemic response of people eating white bread, and in a human trial lowered the blood glucose response to white bread by 40%.

It is PulseON®’s production that could make it such an important new option in the production of some processed foods. It uses specially developed milling and drying processes that preserve cellular structure, making its starch more resistant to digestion. Using PulseON® in food products would help control blood glucose levels thus helping to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UKRI, was used to develop the commercial potential of PulseON® and expands the possibilities for including large amounts of resistant starch in processed foods to improve nutritional quality.

Quadram Institute’s Dr Cathrina Edwards is the lead researcher on the PulseON® work. She said, “Incorporating our new type of flour into bread and other staple foods provides an opportunity to develop the next generation of low glycaemic food products to support public health measures to improve health through better diets”.

For more about this exciting new product, please visit the Quadram Institute website. The research has been published:

Reference: Balazs H. Bajka, Ana M. Pinto, Jennifer Ahn-Jarvis, Peter Ryden, Natalia Perez-Moral, Alice van der Schoot, Costanza Stocchi, Catherine Bland, Sarah E. Berry, Peter R. Ellis, Cathrina H. Edwards, 2020. The impact of replacing wheat flour with cellular legume powder on starch bioaccessibility, glycaemic response and bread roll quality: A double-blind randomised controlled trial in healthy participants, Food Hydrocolloids, 2020, doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2020.106565