The new health claim confirms that chicory root fiber contributes to better blood glucose management, as it supports a lower rise in blood glucose response. Scientific evidence submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by Sensus prompted the change in regulation. The new legislation was passed by the EU Commission on May 30th 2016.
Click here for the official regulation.
Now that the claim has been officially approved, food manufacturers have the opportunity to communicate general health-related claims on products made with chicory root fiber, such as “Keeping your blood sugar low” or “More balanced blood glucose rise”.
“The authorization is based on a human study led by Sensus followed by a human study jointly funded by the chicory root fiber manufacturers, and besides, other scientific evidence clearly showed that chicory root fiber has a significant part to play in controlling glycaemic response,” said Elaine Vaughan, who is responsible for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Sensus. “European food manufacturers now have the opportunity to communicate and educate consumers on this health benefit when applying this claim to their new products.”
Glycaemic response refers to the changes in blood glucose level, which occur as a consequence of consuming a food. Not all foods trigger the same glycaemic response in terms of level and duration of the blood glucose peak that follows their ingestion. Their effect can be measured and compared through their Glycaemic Index (GI). Foods with low GI lead to a lower and slower increase in blood glucose levels. Chicory root fiber is a carbohydrate that is not broken down or digested into simple sugars by the upper digestive tract, but is fermented by gut microbiota in the intestinal tract. As a result, it does not affect blood glucose level and triggers a minimal glycaemic response. Glucose has a GI of 100,sucrose is 68, but pure chicory root fiber has a GI of almost 0.
“In addition to a low GI, chicory root fiber has a natural sweetness and less than half the calories of sugar, which means that it can be used to reduce the amount of processed sugar and fat needed within food products” added Elaine. “It also enhances the taste and texture of foods, and with the new health claim approved, manufacturers now have a strengthened opportunity to encourage consumers to opt for healthier food and drinks”.