Bringing the science of carbohydrates and glycaemia together in health

Background

The Dietary Carbohydrates Task Force has spent more than a decade developing science which focuses on how carbohydrates can improve public health. The task force particularly puts emphasis on glycaemic regulation and the role of dietary fibres.

Objectives

The task force aims to understand the links between carbohydrates and health, particularly the relevance of controlling glycaemia, and the types and quantities of carbohydrates that should be consumed to optimise health.

Impact

Since its inception, the task force has produced a series of papers and concise monographs clarifying what existing science tells us about glycaemia and long-term health. The latest publication (E. Blaak et al., 2012) has been cited more than 60 times.
The task force’s publications were presented at more than 15 international scientific events between 2011 and 2015.

What’s New

  • Workshop on ‘Dietary Sweetness – Is It an Issue?’ on 3-4 April 2017. Click here for more information.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Pierre Dussort at pdussort@ilsieurope.be

Task Force Members

Dr Sophie Vinoy – Chair Mondelēz Europe FR
Dr David Mela – Vice-Chair Unilever NL
Prof. Ian Macdonald – Co-Chair University of Nottingham UK
Prof. Fred Brouns* Maastricht University NL
Dr Wim Caers Tate & Lyle UK
Dr Katie Koecher General Mills US
Dr Kim-Anne Le Nestlé CH
Dr Camilla Melegari Barilla G&R Fratelli IT
Dr Ana Piekarz The Coca-Cola Company BE
Dr Frédérique Respondek Tereos FR
Dr Stephan Theis Südzucker Group DE
Dr Elaine Vaughan Sensus NL
Dr Joan Vermeiren Cargill BE
Mr Daniel Wils Roquette Group FR
Dr Pierre Dussort ILSI Europe BE

* Scientific Advisor

Expert Groups

Workshop – Sweet Taste Perception, Food Preference And Eating Behaviour – NEW

Objectives

Humans have an inborn liking and desire for sweetness that is persistent in all ethnic groups and cultures. Changes can be seen in the characteristics of liking and motivation for sweetness as we progress through life. Today, however, human attraction to sweet sources of energy is seen as a potential risk for developing less healthy eating patterns. In this context, there is often a failure to distinguish between putative effects of exposure to sources of sweetness and the effects of exposure to sweetness itself. This workshop, jointly organised with the Eating Behaviour and Energy Balance Task Force, intends to assess the evidence base linking sweetness with health and dietary preferences throughout life stages.

Activity

The workshop on ‘Sweet Taste Perception, Food Preference and Eating Behaviour’ aims to encompass the great variety of scientific issues associated with this topic. Among them, it should for instance address how variation in sweetness perception and exposure impacts food preference, diet quality and energy balance.

Expected Output

This workshop will bring together experts from different fields to build a scientific consensus on this very important topic. Research gaps and needs will also be identified. The workshop will result in the publication of the proceedings and the submission of a manuscript to a scientific peer-reviewed journal. Based on the outcomes of this event, a follow-up expert group might be created to address some of the workshop conclusions.

Carbohydrate-Based Recommendations as a Basis for Dietary Guidelines: A Scientific Review

Objectives

Lifestyle-related diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Nutrition is seen as a major modifiable determinant of non-communicable diseases and changes in diet can have profound effects on health, both positive and negative. Although the process for dietary guidelines development has evolved and improved over the past 20 years and although many countries have already adopted public health interventions, non-communicable diseases still proliferate. This project will review the scientific basis and the processes by which current dietary guidelines related to carbohydrates (CHO) were developed. The activity will describe the methodology and the processes different authorities have used to derive dietary recommendations.

Activity

The expert group is carrying out a two-phase study. First, the experts are conducting an inventory of the methods that were applied for the establishment of current dietary guidelines related to CHOs. This includes the means of identifying scientific information (e.g. systematic reviews), types of studies included and the overall approach taken, such as deciding on how to communicate nutrient-based or food-based guidelines. It focuses on total carbohydrates, sugars and dietary fibres, with consideration also given to factors such as whole grains and glycaemic properties of the diet. Subsequently, consistencies and inconsistencies in approaches used by different authorities will be evaluated, along with their potential implications for deriving recommendations.

Expected Output

This project is designed to bring improved clarity on how CHO-based dietary guidelines have been developed by various health and national authorities and what lessons can be learnt from the applied processes. More clarity could help in building harmonised guidelines and hence gaining the confidence of healthcare professionals to communicate understandable messages to consumers, leading to positive changes in dietary practices. A key deliverable will be a peer-reviewed publication summarising the methodology used to develop the guidelines, identifying consistencies and inconsistencies across the processes to support future efforts in this area. Harmonisation of the guideline development process will strengthen confidence and potentially lead to the development of more widely accepted (global) standards.

Characterisation of and Criteria for Glycaemic Exposure Markers in the Non-diabetic Population

Objectives

There is broad consensus that the maintenance of blood glucose concentrations within the normal range is beneficial for health. In particular, attention is given to the importance of minimising exposure to foods which produce a large glycaemic response. One accepted marker to evaluate the sustained maintenance of normal blood glucose concentrations is glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). However, the use of HbA1c as a marker may have drawbacks when applied to the non-diabetic population. The present expert group is evaluating alternative markers of sustained (dietary) glycaemic exposures and their potential endorsement for use in the non-diabetic population. The goal of this project is to reach evidence-based consensus on the relevance of and criteria for alternative markers and possible further research needs to establish these as accepted measures of diet-induced glycaemic exposures.

Activity

The expert group reviewed and characterised different markers for glycaemia. They identified research gaps for their further validation and wider endorsement. The experts are now defining potential criteria for evaluating alternative markers related to glycaemic control.

Expected Output

The review and dissemination of this scientific work will improve the recognition of alternative markers and stimulate greater consideration of their potential use in intervention studies of foods and diets, particularly in the general (non-diabetic) population. It will highlight the relevance of differentiating food effects in the non-diabetic population from medical monitoring of glycaemic control in diabetes patients. The acceptance of more feasible outcome measures would ultimately enhance the ability of researchers to test, develop and prove the potential beneficial effects of foods on glycaemic control. This consensus review could support the development of guidance on the evaluation of claims relating to maintenance of normal blood glucose concentrations.

Quantifying the Health Impact of Reduced Post-Prandial Glycaemia

Objectives

There is general consensus that reductions in post-prandial glycaemic (PPG) and relative insulinaemic (PPI) responses are likely to be beneficial in reducing the risks of several non-communicable diseases (e.g. diabetes or cardiovascular diseases) in the general population. It should be possible to estimate quantitatively the potential health impact of reducing PPG and PPI through diet.

Activity

The expert group is reviewing the types of data available, identifying and collecting key variables which support this exercise. This includes chronic PPG / PPI data linked to disease endpoints for nutritional and relevant pharmaceutical interventions (e.g. using acarbose and α-glucosidase inhibitors), all in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes, as well as in healthy individuals.

Expected Output

The output will clarify the impact of PPG and PPI in terms of quantitative risk reduction in the general population (a public health approach). It will also allow for differentiating the potential effects of food from pharmaceutical treatment of diagnosed individuals.

Expert Group Members

Workshop – NEW
Sweet Taste Perception, Food Preference and Eating Behaviour 

Dr Anna Wittekind – Chair London Metropolitan University UK
Prof. Ian Macdonald – Co-Chair University of Nottingham UK
Dr Angela Bonnema Cargill US
Prof. Kees de Graaf Wageningen University NL
Prof. Jason Halford University of Liverpool UK
Dr Ana Piekarz The Coca-Cola Company BE
Dr Frédérique Respondek Tereos FR
Prof. Peter Rogers University of Bristol UK
Dr Pierre Dussort ILSI Europe BE
Dr Cyril Marsaux ILSI Europe BE

Carbohydrate-Based Recommendations as a Basis for Dietary Guidelines: A Scientific Review

Prof. Fred Brouns – Chair University of Maastricht NL
Dr Annette Buyken University of Bonn DE
Dr Wim Caers Tate & Lyle UK
Prof. Ian Johnson Norwich Research Park UK
Prof. Ian Macdonald University of Nottingham UK
Dr David Mela Unilever NL
Dr Ana Piekarz The Coca-Cola Company BE
Dr Stephan Theis Südzucker Group DE
Prof. Cor van Loveren Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) NL
Dr Pierre Dussort ILSI Europe BE

Characterisation of and Criteria for Glycaemic Exposure Markers in the Non-diabetic Population

Prof. Edith Feskens ─ Chair University of Wageningen NL
Dr David Mela – Vice-Chair Unilever NL
Dr Lorraine Brennan University College Dublin IE
Dr Naila Rabbani Warwick University UK
Dr Wolfgang Rathmann Deutsches Diabetes-Zentrum DE
Dr Frédérique Respondek Tereos FR
Prof. Coen Stehouwer University of Maastricht NL
Dr Stephan Theis Südzucker Group DE
Prof. Paul Thornalley Warwick University UK
Dr Sophie Vinoy Mondelēz Europe FR

Quantifying the Health Impact of Reduced Post-Prandial Glycaemia

Prof. Jacqueline Dekker – Chair Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre NL
Dr Marjan Alssema Unilever NL
Prof. Ellen Blaak University f Maastricht NL
Dr Léonie Egli Nestlé SGP
Dr Denise Robertson University of Surrey UK
Dr Sophie Vinoy Mondelēz Europe FR
Dr Pierre Dussort ILSI Europe BE

Poster

Impact of Postprandial Glycaemia on Health: Role in Body Weight Control and Diabetes Prevention

Publications

All Publications

Dietary Fibre

ILSI Europe Concise Monograph. Translations available in English, Portuguese, and Japanese.

Read more

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