03 Issues & Trends
Cereal Foods World, Vol. 63, No. 3
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Effects of Processing on the Functionality of Cereal Polysaccharides
Ndegwa H. Maina1 and Kati Katina2
Cereal polysaccharides, which can be divided into starch and nonstarch polysaccharides, are an important source of energy and dietary fiber in the human diet. From an energy perspective, starch is poorly digested in its native form. Thermal treatment is required to induce changes (gelatinization) in the native starch granule structure that render starch molecules more accessible for digestion by enzymes. However, the increasing occurrence of type 2 diabetes, which is due, in part, to consumption of high levels of rapidly digestible, refined starches, has led to increased demand for low glycemic index (GI) foods. The role of cereal fibers in the prevention of many chronic diseases is well established in the literature, which has led to dietary recommendations that call for increased intake of whole grain products or products rich in cereal fibers. In response, food manufacturers are tailoring processing conditions to develop food structures that deliver the desired physiological functionality (e.g., high fiber, low GI, cholesterol lowering effects, etc.) while maintaining good sensory properties. This article highlights the influence of common cereal processing operations, such as milling, fermentation, baking, and extrusion, on the predominant functional cereal polysaccharides: arabinoxylan and β-glucan.
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