There’s a great deal of buzz these days regarding glycemic carbohydrates. Choosing carbohydrate‐rich foods based on the right carbohydrates — those that do not cause spikes in blood‐glucose levels — will be better for our health. Egg products can assist with formulating such foods, as most egg products are extremely low in carbohydrates. Their inclusion in foods typically does not affect carbohydrate content.
The carbohydrate‐blood glucose relationship and its potential impact on health is something diabetics know all too well. Further, in non‐diabetics, research suggests a possible correlation to sustainable weight loss, as well as reducing the risk of developing diabetes and other diet‐related ailments including heart disease.
Glycemic carbohydrates are the carbohydrates in food that elicit a measurable glycemic response — change in blood glucose concentration — after ingestion. The only carbohydrates that can do this are classified as “available carbohydrates” or “net carbohydrates.”
Available carbohydrates are absorbed components such as glucose and fructose. These may have occurred in the food as such or as more complex molecules that were digested, such as starch, maltodextrin, sucrose, etc. However, some carbohydrates are only partially available due to the nature of the food matrix, degree of cooking or the nature of the carbohydrate itself. Simply, all available carbohydrates are glycemic carbohydrates.
A common measure of availability is post‐prandial blood glucose concentration (glycemic response). When consumers and popular authors talk about glycemic carbohydrates, they are usually referring to carbohydrates that cause a marked rise in blood glucose immediately after ingestion. Individuals with normal glucose tolerance can rapidly clear this glucose from the bloodstream. Thus use of glycemic carbohydrate can lead to misinterpretation, since it is often talking only about carbohydrates with a glycemic response that is high, and not merely about possessing the capacity to induce a glycemic response.
It is important to note that many products formulated to be sugar‐free, low‐sugar or no sugar‐added are not necessarily going for a low‐glycemic claim. However, reducing or eliminating sugar is a step in the right direction, especially since research indicates that Americans are trying to cut back on their sugar intake.
Formulators interested in developing foods with a low‐glycemic impact are seeking out ingredients that contribute no to minimal available carbohydrates. Most egg products are just that. And, of course, egg products are all‐natural, highly functional and an excellent source of high‐quality protein.