expert reaction to wrinkled peas and blood sugar levels
Research, published in Nature Food, looked at whether a type of wrinkled ‘super pea’ could help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Prof Tom Sanders, Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Dietetics, King’s College London, said:
“This is a carefully conducted study comparing the absorption profile of carbohydrate and effects on gut microflora and hormones from different varieties of peas. It found that wrinkled peas or a variety that had a high content of resistant starch compared ordinary peas resulted in slightly lower increases in blood glucose level when subjects were given test meals containing 50g of dried peas. They found no differences between the types of peas when comparing cooked pea flour, which would suggest that the physical structure of the intact pea plays a role in altering the postprandial blood glucose profile. Longer term feeding studies showed changes in gut microbiota but importantly no effects on glucose or insulin responses indicating that there were no changes in insulin sensitivity, which is the key outcome predicting risk of type 2 diabetes.
“The university press release claims that adding wrinkled peas to foods could reduce diabetes risk. There is no evidence from randomized controlled trials that lowering postprandial blood sugar reduces risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, this study used more peas than are likely to be consumed on a regular basis. Obesity and a lack of physical activity are the main preventable and reversible causes of type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, adding wrinkled peas or pea flour to other foods is unlikely to have any impact on risk of diabetes.”
‘A natural mutation in Pisum sativum L. (pea) alters starch assembly and improves glucose homeostasis in humans’ by Katerina Petropoulou et al. will be published in Nature Food at 4pm UK time on Monday 26 October, which is also when the embargo will lift.
Prof Tom Sanders: “Tom has the following declarations:
Honorary Nutritional Director HEART UK (unpaid).
Scientific Governor of the British Nutrition Foundation (until November 2019).
Wrote a briefing paper on nutritional and health benefits of apples for a PR company that represents the British Apple and Pears.
Tom was a member of the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee that recommended that trans fatty acids be removed from the human food chain.
Finished as a member of the scientific advisory committee of the Global Dairy Platform in 2013 (never been a consultant to the dairy industry).
Was paid to chair a meeting by the Almond Board of California two years ago and was sponsored to speak at conference IUNS by Alpro in 2015.
Member of the Programme Advisory Committee of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
In the past Tom has acted as a consultant to Archer Daniel Midland Company and received honoraria for meetings sponsored by Unilever PLC.
Tom’s research on fats was funded by Public Health England/Food Standards Agency.
He is now emeritus but when he was doing research at King’s College London, the following applied:
Tom does not hold any grants or have any consultancies with companies involved in the production or marketing of sugar-sweetened drinks. In reference to previous funding to Tom’s institution: £4.5 million was donated to King’s College London by Tate & Lyle in 2006; this funding finished in 2011. This money was given to the College and was in recognition of the discovery of the artificial sweetener sucralose by Prof Hough at the Queen Elizabeth College (QEC), which merged with King’s College London. The Tate & Lyle grant paid for the Clinical Research Centre at St Thomas’ that is run by the Guy’s & St Thomas’ Trust, it was not used to fund research on sugar. Tate & Lyle sold their sugar interests to American Sugar so the brand Tate & Lyle still exists but it is no longer linked to the company Tate & Lyle PLC, which gave the money to King’s College London in 2006.
Tom also used to work for Ajinomoto on aspartame about 8 years ago.”
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