L-Arabinose: A Novel Food Ingredient For A Healthier Living

R. Nolles, A. Benschop
Cosun Biobased Products,
United States

Keywords: L-arabinose, biorefining, sugar beet, glycemic index reduction, sucrase inhibition


ABSTRACT (max. 500 words) Introduction More than 35% of the American adult population, equal to 78.6 million people, is reported to be obese, and the US is amongst the top 3 countries in number of people suffering from diabetes (just over 29 million adults). The annual cost associated with diabetes alone is $245 billion. Hence, the development of food ingredients for a healthy diet to prevent further increase of obesity and diabetes numbers has top priority. Lowering the glycemic response of the human diet is quickly gaining attraction amongst scientists and well-informed consumers. Reducing glycemic response in food products with L-Arabinose L-Arabinose can play an important role in the management of blood glucose and insulin levels related to sucrose intake. The addition of L-Arabinose to a sugar containing diet has the following direct benefits: • Reduction of the glucose peak level related to sucrose consumption by a maximum of 80%. • Suppression of the insulin peak level related to sucrose consumption by a maximum of 80%. • A sustained release of glucose to the body over a longer period of time. A low glycemic diet may have benefits like reduction of heart disease, lowering of blood cholesterol, management of body weight and composition, prevention of type 2 diabetes and improvement of diabetes prevention. The addition of L-Arabinose to a sucrose containing diet maintains all advantages of sucrose while strongly reducing the impact of sucrose consumption on the human body. The relatively small dosage and nice taste profile of L-Arabinose make it easy to implement in existing formulations. L-Arabinose and its functionality L-Arabinose is a rare type of sugar that naturally occurs in the hemicelluloses structure of most fruits and vegetables. The highest concentrations of L-Arabinose can be found in instant coffee, wine and sake. When consumed, L-arabinose selectively inhibits the sucrase enzyme in the small intestine. The sucrase enzyme normally splits the sucrose molecule in a glucose and a fructose molecule. During the period that the sucrase enzyme is inhibited by L-arabinose, the splitting of sucrose is delayed or even prevented, and the release of glucose and fructose to the blood is delayed. This activity of L-Arabinose is selective to the sucrase enzyme. Depending on the amount of L-arabinose in the small intestine, the digestion of sucrose is delayed and/or (partially) prevented. The digestion of other carbohydrates is not affected. L-Arabinose is extracted from sugar beet pulp in a mild process that preserves the natural character of the product. L-Arabinose has a nice, sweet taste that does not linger in the mouth and has no after taste. The sweetness strength is about 60% of the sweetness strength of sucrose. Additional health benefits of L-Arabinose In addition to the beneficial effects on glucose, insulin and energy management L-Arabinose is also associated to weight reduction. Human and animal studies have claimed that the inclusion of L-Arabinose in a sugar containing diet may lead to a reduction in weight gain and even to weight reduction.