In vitro carbohydrate digestibility of whole-chickpea and chickpea bread products

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Pulses such as the chickpea are generally considered to be valuable dietary sources of slowly digestible starch, a form of starch that is considered beneficial to health since it results in relatively low post-meal blood glucose levels compared with more rapidly digested starch. The development of novel chickpea-based foods is necessary to help expand the worldwide consumption of the chickpea. However, the effect of different processing methods on the starch digestibility of chickpea-based foods has not been widely investigated. This study used an in vitro method simulating human carbohydrate digestion to determine levels of slowly digestible starch, rapidly digestible starch (RDS), resistant starch, total starch and rapidly available glucose (RAG) of: (i) whole-chickpea products (domestically boiled, commercially canned and commercially precooked/vacuum-packaged); and (ii) standard white bread, chickpea flour bread (25% replacement of wheat flour by chickpea flour) and extruded chickpea flour bread (25% replacement of wheat flour by extruded chickpea flour). The RAG levels were then used to predict the relative in vivo glycaemic indices of the products. The commercially precooked/vacuum-packaged whole chickpeas demonstrated higher levels of RDS than the commercially canned and domestically boiled products (P<0.05). In addition, the domestically boiled product had lower levels of RAG (g/100 g available carbohydrate) compared with the canned and precooked/vacuum-packaged products (P<0.05). There were no significant differences between any of the carbohydrate digestibility measures of the white bread, chickpea flour bread and extruded chickpea flour bread (P>0.05) and all bread products demonstrated far higher RAG (g/100 g available carbohydrate) values than the whole-chickpea products. The findings suggest that the commercially precooked/vacuum-packaged whole chickpeas and the canned product may have higher and less beneficial glycaemic indices than the domestically boiled chickpeas. It appears unlikely that the use of chickpea flour or extruded chickpea flour, at the incorporation rate investigated in this study, would modify the glycaemic index of bread. It is probable, however, that the chickpea bread products investigated would demonstrate higher and potentially less beneficial glycaemic indices than the whole-chickpea products.

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