For healthy participants, the rice-based formula reduced their postprandial blood glucose levels, resulting in a low glycemic index and a low-to-intermediate glycemic load.
For early-onset and at-risk diabetic patients, significant results were noted in their postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses.
However, it is key to note that the commercial formula was shown to provide greater energy, protein, fat, and fibre content compared with the rice-based formula. Nevertheless, the researchers warranted for further investigation into the nutritional profile of the respective formula.
The results were based on a four-arm randomised double-blinded crossover clinical trial that put to test 1) rice-based powder and 2) commercially available diabetes-specific formula interventions on both healthy individuals and those with early-onset or at-risk for diabetes.
This study was jointly funded by the Agricultural Research Development Agency and Siriraj Research Fund of Mahidol University, Bangkok.
10 healthy participants and 10 early-onset and at-risk participants for diabetes were recruited for the study.
All participants were randomized to consume one of the following products: 1) A rice-based diabetes-specific formula, powder (MDFM); 2) Rice-based diabetes-specific formula, liquid (MFDM-liquid); 3) Commercially available standard non-diabetes formula (SF); or 4) Commercially available diabetes-specific formula (DSF).
“These interventions were chosen to allow for the comparison of the MFDM with either a commercially available diabetes-specific formula or a standard, non-diabetes-specific formula, with an assumption that the MFDM would elicit glycemic and hormonal responses similar to the commercially available DSF, but would elicit less glycemic responses and more favorable hormonal responses compared with commercially available SF,” the researchers explained.
Participants were directed to consume at an even pace within 15 minutes with 250 ml of water afterwards. Their blood samples were collected at baseline, and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after consumption.
The parameters assessed were glucose, insulin, and gastrointestinal hormones using blood samples; as well as satiety and hunger using visual analog scales (VAS).
Statistical difference was noted in glycemic response, as MFDM yielded a lower response than SF (p<0.01). However, no statistical difference was noted between MFDM and DSF, as well as hunger and satiety.
As for gastrointestinal hormone responses which regulates digestion, MFDM consumption stimulated active peptides such as GLP-1, PYY, and GIP, and supressed ghrelin. SF and DSF consumption exhibited the same effects.
About the rice-based formula
Despite its benefits, diabetes-specific formula remains limited in access among lower income communities in Thailand.
To improve access through availability, researchers from Mahidol University and DOD Biotech Public Company Ltd. chose to utilise local ingredients, a rice known as Oryaza sativa L., to develop a novel diabetes-specific formula.
The researchers highlighted the nutritional profile of the rice-based formula: “It contains complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat which provide energy and is a good source of dietary fiber, gammaoryzanol, and phytosterols, which are found mainly in the membranes of rice and germs.
“Results from previous studies showed that rice bran oil with a high content of gamma-oryzanol reduced blood sugar and lipid levels (15, 16). For this reason, rice was used to develop and manufacture a novel DSF in this study.”
Micronutrient mixes were added to supplement the daily nutritional requirements, and it is a vegan product.
Processing is key
The paper elicited that the rice flour processing is key to explaining the ability of the formula to reduce postprandial blood glucose among the participants.
“Our findings confirmed the potential use of the MFDM powder formula as a diabetes-specific formula that can reduce the risk of postprandial hyperglycemia when used in patients who are at risk for postprandial hyperglycemia and its associated morbidity.
“The physical modification of the rice starch using temperature and the combination of fibre, protein, and fat of the MFDM formula likely explained these findings.”
While rice-based formula exhibited similar glucose and insulin responses with commercial formula, the paper reported that the former is capable of further processing to break it down into digestible content.
“Rice flour is readily available and provides an important source of carbohydrates and protein in large parts of the world.
“We have demonstrated here that rice flour can be physically modified using temperature to increase the amount of slowly digestible carbohydrates and can be effectively used as the main ingredient of a medical food suitable for patients with diabetes or at risk for hyperglycemia,” the paper reported.
“Effects of a novel rice-based diabetes-specific formula on postprandial glucose and gastrointestinal hormones: a double-blinded multi-arm randomized crossover trial”
Authors: Chaiyakul S., et al.