Poor glycemic health currently stands as a major challenge for many individuals and has become a central issue in medical and public policy discussions.

The Centers for Disease Control has announced that glycemic-related health issues are reaching epidemic proportions, which means many consumers will likely be directly affected. More than ever, customers need products that address glycemic and other health concerns. With one of the industry’s breakthrough resistant starches under its belt, Ingredion has developed an innovative portfolio of nutritional ingredients with the goal of providing solutions.

Irresistable starch

Ingredion has a long history, with research and development initiatives extending back to the late 1800s. The company’s continual efforts to anticipate consumer trends leads to products like Hi-maize, a natural bioactive resistant starch that can be added to foods such as bread and pasta or smoothies and shakes. This ingredient has become something of a celebrity due to more than 200 published studies indicating that consumption of Hi-maize comes with a range of health and wellness benefits—including improving insulin sensitivity, essential for maintaining glycemic health. One of the most recent studies found that non-diabetic men who were overweight or obese experienced a 73 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity after consuming 30 grams per day of Hi-maize.

Santiago Vega, senior manager of nutrition, said consumers have realized the importance of ingredients and products that support, rather than detract, from health. “Consumers are increasingly interested in better-for-you alternatives that incorporate scientifically proven nutritional ingredients,” he said.

Fiber fits the bill

Since most American diets lack necessary fiber levels, breakthroughs in versatile fiber ingredients are especially critical, Vega said. The company’s prebiotic soluble fiber ingredient NutraFlora contributes immune, digestive and bone health benefits to products. “Thanks to supporting nutrition science and broad functionality, the market for NutraFlora is expected to experience double digit growth over the next few years,” Vega said.

In this increasingly health-conscious age, nutritional food ingredients such as NutraFlora and Hi-maize have helped draw customer attention to Ingredion. “The company is easily differentiated as an ingredient solutions provider—we are so much more than a supplier,” Vega said. “Our starches, sweeteners and other ingredients are used by our customers to provide everything from sweetness, taste and texture to immune system support, fat replacement and adhesive strength.”

The company’s commitment to extensive research suggests that Ingredion will continue to be an innovator and source of expertise in various industries. 

On the horizon

“The gluten-free diet is one of the fastest growing nutritional movements—even for people without any allergies,” said Vega. Since gluten-free products pose challenges in terms of texture, Ingredion offers specialty rice and tapioca flour blends to enhance the texture and taste of gluten-free products. “We can step in as a true partner in formulation to apply our broad development capabilities to help manufacturers meet their gluten-free formulation goals,” Vega said.