New EU health claim for Sensus chicory root fibre and blood glucose management

In addition to the authorised 13.5 health claim, general health-related well-being claims under article 10.3 are also possible

The new health claim, authorised by the European Commission, confirms that non-digestible carbohydrates, such as chicory root fibre, also labelled as inulin or fructo-oligosaccharides, contribute to better blood glucose management, as they support a lower rise in blood glucose response.

Scientific evidence jointly submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by Sensus, together with other chicory root fibre manufacturers, prompted the change in regulation.

The new regulation, which is based on scientific evidence, falls under article 13.5 of the EU Regulation on nutrition and health claims. After publication of the new claim in the EU Official Journal (expected within 4–6 weeks), manufacturers may state the following when their products contain Sensus chicory root fibre: 'Consumption of food and drinks containing chicory root fibre instead of sugars induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared with sugar-containing foods and drinks.'

In addition to the authorised 13.5 health claim, general health-related well-being claims under article 10.3 are also possible, along with the main claim, such as 'lower and more balanced blood glucose rise.'

'The authorisation is based on a human study led by Sensus followed by a human study jointly funded by chicory root fibre manufacturers, and besides, other scientific evidence clearly showed that chicory root fibre 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 levels that 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 a GI lead to a lower and slower increase in blood glucose levels. Chicory root fibre 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, they do not affect blood glucose levels and trigger 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 fibre 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.'

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