Blood glucose is an essential measure of health that has a direct impact on diabetes. Millions of Americans are struggling with managing their blood sugar levels. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, the prevalence of diabetes in the U.S. is staggering (see Table 1).
On the world stage, led by India and China, the International Diabetes Foundation estimates that 366 million people globally struggle with diabetes. In 2010, almost 23 million U.S. households had a member coping with diabetes, according to Symphony IRI’s 2010 “OTC Medication Report,” which estimated the annual sales potential for diabetes related OTC drugs and supplements at $3.4 billion.
Furthermore, the CDC estimates that there are 19 million Americans who have been diagnosed with both types of diabetes. Those people, along with the estimated 7 million who are undiagnosed, are costing the U.S. $116 billion annually to treat.
Additionally, in the first major national analysis of diabetes trends among American youth, researchers reported an alarming 23% rise in type 1 diabetes incidence over an eight-year period ending in 2009. The surprising increase is on the heels of similar growth of type 2 diabetes in children. But unlike type 2 diabetes, which is linked to the high prevalence of obesity in youth, researchers have no explanation for why the autoimmune form of the disease is growing at such a clip.
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes for Health, the study used data from 20,000 children and youth under 20 at multiple hospitals and health centers in five states. The researchers found that the incidence of type 2 diabetes over that period increased 21%. Even more alarming, the study found that children and adolescents with diabetes already have measurable signs of complications, including nerve damage, that could lead to amputations. It also identified early signs of cardiovascular damage raising risks for future heart disease.
Blood Sugar Market Potential
According to Escondido, CA-based Sloan Trends, a respected food, beverage and supplement industry trend tracking and forecasting organization, diabetes reached Mega Market status in 2006 and remains among the largest and fastest growing nutraceutical market opportunities in 2012. Medical counts have accelerated at an explosive rate throughout the decade as evidenced by the aforementioned data with more than 180,000 new research studies published in 2010 alone. To that end, diabetes and children impacted by diabetes is currently a very large and highly desirable mass-market opportunity for nutraceutical companies.
All four of the following diabetes-precursor/risk factors outlined below are experiencing significant growth in Medical Counts, showing strong and growing scientific support for their relationship to diabetes. They include: insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, blood sugar control/management and Prediabetes
Each of these is experiencing a different degree of marketability and is currently at different levels and lifecycle stages. However, each remains viable. All are now positioned to attract health food store shoppers and health conscious and condition-specific consumers.
Blood Sugar Ingredient Innovation
Maintaining optimal blood sugar levels is not only important for people with diabetes, but also for the general population as well. The body utilizes insulin to maintain a range of healthy blood sugar levels. When those levels fluctuate, serious conditions such as diabetes and hypoglycemia can occur. People with blood sugar disorders must learn how to maintain healthy blood sugar levels to remain healthy.
Foods that contain carbohydrates raise blood glucose. People that monitor carbohydrate consumption and set limits typically have healthy blood glucose levels. There are three main types of carbohydrates: starches (also known as complex carbohydrates), sugars and fiber.
Consumers should be suspicious of terms like naturally occurring sugar, added sugar, low-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols, reduced-calorie sweeteners, processed grains, enriched grains, complex carbohydrate, sweets, refined grains and whole grains. Some of these terms can be misleading.
That said, in an effort to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, people must eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and refrain from an excess of animal byproducts and sweets. According to Frank Schonlau, PhD, scientific director at Horphag Research in Hoboken, NJ, a person who struggles with maintaining optimal weight must understand that carbohydrates are foods they should limit because they are high in calories. “The term ‘blood sugar management’ may not be as relevant to this population,” he explains. “An effective way to reach the broader public is with the term ‘appetite management.’ Appetite management is a consequence of blood sugar and insulin levels.”
Dr. Schonlau went on to say that appetite and caloric load can be controlled by consuming foods that are digested slowly. “These foods don’t kick-start high insulin levels,” he said. “For example, no ingredient exists for someone who consumes too much sucrose. Insulin levels will skyrocket and, shortly afterward, plummet again. And this creates an increased craving for food.”
Another consideration is that people consume excessive starch and sugar, which has a profound impact on blood sugar. “The body simply cannot manage such intake, leading to insulin resistance,” explained Scott Steil, president, Nutra Bridge, Shoreview, MN. “There are several natural options to help better control blood sugar and improve insulin function. “The key categories that our industry addresses include appetite suppressants, sweet craving control, reducing the rate of glycolysis, insulin sensitizers, starch blockers and sugar blockers. Most of these products can be used in multiple delivery systems, including foods, beverages and supplements, in both pill and chewable options.”
Prebiotics also have a great upside for blood sugar management. “Prebiotics can not only offer a sweetening effect with lower glycemic index, but can also offer additional health benefits,” says Brandon Nomura, territory manager for Softgel Technologies in Los Angeles, CA. “The natural sweetener xylitol can not only support digestive health by acting as a food source for probiotics, but it has also been clinically studied for significantly improving dental health.”
Interestingly, according to a November 2011 ILSI Europe monograph “Food, Glycemic Response and Health,” the short-term reduction in glycemic response does not correlate to an improvement in blood sugar health. “Although it is easy to measure, glycemic response can be lowered by many approaches, and because of this, eating foods with low glycemic response does not mean that someone has improved their glycemic health,” says Rhonda Witwer, senior business development manager, Nutrition, at Ingredion Incorporated based in Westchester, IL. “The scientific data is very contradictory, which reflects the variety of approaches to reduce glycemic response.”
Some of these approaches include: replacing flour with resistant starch; replacing sugar with non-nutritive sweeteners and bulking agents; eliminating or minimizing carbohydrates in the diet or adding protein and/or fat; and replacing flour with non-fermentable fibers like modified resistant wheat starch and/or cellulose.
“Even though similar amounts of reduced glycemic response can be achieved with each of these four approaches, the health consequences will be very different,” Ms. Witwer explained. “Short-term glycemic reduction by itself cannot be utilized as a primary strategy for blood sugar management. It is believed to be a valuable goal that will contribute to health, but it must be combined with additional information and/or biomarkers that actually correlate to glycemic health.”
Epidemiological studies have consistently found that cereal fiber correlates to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and that fruit and vegetable fiber does not. “Moreover, research studies have also shown that cellulose, such as that found in wheat bran and whole grain flour, is minimally fermented in the large intestine, and does not contribute to microbial or hormonal changes that lead to immediately improved insulin sensitivity,” concluded Ms. Witwer.
According to Neelesh Varde, product manager at Roquette America in Keokuk, IA, low sugar soluble fibers such as resistant dextrins offer potential. “Low sugar soluble fibers have a low glycemic index because of a lack of easily digestible carbohydrates,” he said. “They also have functional digestive benefits, such as prebiotic effects, as well as weight management benefits.”
In this day and age of processed food, consumers are increasingly looking to support their diets with viable supplement formulas that control blood sugar. In fact, since the passage of the Dietary Supplements and Health Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994, interest in natural solutions to health has grown dramatically in the U.S. It is now estimated that 70% of the U.S. population uses dietary supplements at least occasionally and 40% use them regularly.
In this vein, Steve Siegel, vice president of Ecuadorian Rainforest, LLC in Belleville, NJ, commented, “As a whole, I believe that society is moving toward a more natural approach to eating and healthcare. Supplements, organic foods, etc., are becoming much more accessible and prominent. Therefore, blood sugar management products such as those that include natural sweeteners, may become a healthy norm and not sold exclusively to those in need of a blood sugar management product.”
Consumers’ Understanding of ‘Glycemic Index’
According to the “HealthFocus Trend Survey” data, there is a sharp increase in the number of shoppers who believe low glycemic foods are important for controlling blood sugar levels (60% in 2010 vs. 53% in 2008). “This suggests that consumers probably understand the connection between low glycemic and blood sugar management,” says Deborah Schulz, specialty carbohydrate product line manager, Cargill Health & Nutrition in Minneapolis, MN. “This is definitely an area to explore in terms of connecting these terms in messaging.”
Additional data from the HealthFocus Trend Survey indicate consumers are very concerned about the impact of carbohydrates on their health, which has a direct impact on blood sugar. According to the HealthFocus survey, 32% of primary grocery shoppers report that they have decreased their use of sugar in the past two years, while 25% have decreased their use of carbohydrates. Additionally, 35% of shoppers are extremely interested in foods or drinks if they could help to manage blood sugar levels. An additional 39% are “somewhat interested.”
Interestingly, proprietary research conducted by Ingredion International has shown that consumers are extremely interested in the labeling claim “helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.” “It is simple, easy to understand, and relevant to many prevalent conditions including energy, weight and diabetes,” said Ms. Witwer.
Many health professionals believe that consumers do not understand terms “glycemic index,” “glycemic load” or “glycemic response.” And the HealthFocus Trend Survey supports this. Only 8% of primary grocery shoppers indicated that “Glycemic Index” had a strong influence on their food choices. In contrast, 26% reported that the Whole Grain Stamp had a strong influence. Consumer education is still sorely needed, as just 54% of consumers are aware of the category of low glycemic foods.
According to Ms. Witwer, even within the scientific research community, there is broad confusion about the measurement of glycemic impact. “Within the medical research community, contradictory data remain unclear about the benefits of reducing the glycemic response of foods,” she said. “Many studies use different approaches to reducing glycemic response, with significant variability in results. Some studies show benefits, while other studies find no benefits whatsoever.”
Ecuadorian’s Mr. Siegel believes consumers are becoming increasingly aware of natural alternatives to basic, every day food items such as sugar. “Low blood sugar is widely used by consumers,” he says. “Sugar, while ok in moderation, is still one of the most widely abused products in the world. Sugar, in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle, is the root cause of many blood sugar management problems today.”
R.V. Venkatesh, managing director at Gencor Pacific Group in Anaheim, CA, concurred. “Consumers are more aware of terms like glycemic index and blood sugar management. They understand the difference between foods and ingredients that have a low glycemic index and ingredients that help to manage blood sugar levels post meals. A judicious mix of both is needed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels long-term,” he explained.
However, Paul Dijkstra, CEO, InterHealth Nutraceuticals, believes consumers still struggle with terms like “glycemic index” and “blood sugar management.” “Glycemic index is definitely gaining traction in the scientific community,” he stated. “This term was developed to simultaneously describe the quality (glycemic index) and the quantity of carbohydrates in a meal or diet (glycemic load). However, glycemic index tells you only how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. It doesn’t tell you how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving of a particular food. It is necessary to know both to understand a food’s effect on blood sugar.”
One misconception among the general consumer population is that managing blood sugar is isolated only to people with diabetes. “It is important to educate consumers so they recognize that even if they do not have any form of diabetes, it is critical to manage blood sugar levels to help interfere with metabolic pathways that may lead to excess body weight or cardiovascular issues,” Mr. Dijkstra added. “Consumers definitely need more education when it comes to functional ingredients and dietary supplements. The industry also needs to do a better job influencing diabetes educators and building awareness of how even a small lifestyle change, such as supplementing with natural blood sugar products, can greatly impact long-term health.”
Mitch Skop, senior director of new product development for Pharmachem Laboratories Inc., Kearny, NJ, agrees that more consumer education is needed. “Blood sugar management is the more common and understood term due to the dramatic increase in the number of diabetics in the U.S. and around the world,” he said. “However, the term ‘glycemic index’ is being used more frequently in our industry and is making its way onto consumer packaging. ‘Glycemic index’ is a more complex term and more education will be needed before people will completely understand it.”
Mr. Varde from Roquette believes the term “glycemic index” has broader consumer appeal than blood sugar management. “Blood sugar management is mainly associated with those who have problems controlling their blood sugar, in particular diabetics,” he says. “Glycemic index, on the other hand, is an important term for diabetics and also has relevance for health conscious consumers who consume satiety-induced foods that provide a sustained release of energy.”
Reducing caloric intake from simple sugars and fats also has a profound impact on blood sugar management and diabetes. In this regard, consumers must consider a comprehensive approach to blood sugar management. According to Mathieu Dondain, marketing manager for Nexira in Somerville, NJ, glycemic index is only one facet of a healthy approach to blood sugar management. “In the U.S., 72% of men and 64% of women are overweight or obese, with about 33% of adults being obese (Flegal et al., 2010), “states Dondain. “Poor diet and physical inactivity are associated with major causes of morbidity and mortality, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.”
Blood Sugar Information on Labels
With diabetes at epidemic proportions, consumers are growing increasingly conscientious about information related to the food and supplements they consume and the real nutritional story. Reading food labels can help consumers make the best choices.
That said, when reading food labels, start with the list of ingredients, including heart-healthy ingredients, such as whole wheat flour, soy and oats. Monounsaturated fats, such as olive, canola or peanut oils, promote heart health, too. On the flip side, it is also very important to be cognizant of unhealthy ingredients such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil.
From a regulatory perspective, ingredient and finished product companies must recognize that there are no FDA-authorized health claims that address blood sugar management and disease risk. However, there are other ways to communicate the attributes of a product that may play a role in “blood sugar management.”
According Cargill’s Ms. Schulz, one approach that is used by the food industry is making a nutrient content claim specifically about sugar. “Terms such as ‘reduced’ or ‘low’ in sugar are FDA-regulated claims with specific requirements,” she said. “Other statements you may see on food labels for people who may be interested in blood sugar management include ‘suitable for diabetics.’ Also, dietary exchange information based on the exchange lists for diabetes published by the American Dietetic Association/Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Diabetes Association may also be provided on the label.”
Ms. Schulz says structure-function claims about blood sugar management and glycemic index are potentially more difficult to communicate to consumers on labels because they do not require pre-market approval by FDA. “These criteria are less well-defined as compared to health and nutrient content claims,” she explained. “Furthermore, because blood sugar management is commonly associated with health conditions such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome, it is required that structure-function claims may not imply that the food product may diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease (such as diabetes). If a structure-function claim does so, the product may be considered a drug by FDA and subject to regulatory enforcement.”
According to consumer research carried out by Ingredion, there are two primary segments of consumers who are interested in labeling information on blood sugar health:
Older consumers concerned about developing diabetes and other chronic diseases; and younger consumers interested in energy management and weight management
These segments constitute a significant percentage of the population and are growing.
InterHealth’s Mr. Dijkstra believes consumers want labels to be more specific. “The term ‘blood sugar management’ may be too arbitrary,” he says. “However, manufacturers need to abide by DSHEA, which sometimes makes it hard to communicate the clinically studied benefits to consumers.”
That said, the blood sugar category is drawing increased attention. Supplement marketers have increased their focus on this category as it remains one of the largest, untapped markets. According to Mr. Steil of Nutra Bridge, food companies have initiated a sugar awareness effort. “Several brands now list reduced sugar content on their packaging,” he says. “None if this would happen if consumers weren’t asking for these types of changes and responding with their wallets.”
What Does the Future Hold?
With the obesity epidemic growing at an alarming rate and the healthcare system in the midst of an overhaul, consumers are becoming more aware of natural solutions to health and prevention. And this philosophy applies to the blood sugar category as well.
Given that 79 million U.S. adults are currently prediabetic and a high percentage of these people will likely develop type 2 diabetes, the country is facing a diabetes epidemic on par with the obesity epidemic. In fact, according to The International Diabetes Federation, the costs of caring for the enormous number of diabetics worldwide could have a catastrophic impact on governments and economies far and wide.
“The business opportunities will be tremendous for products that can deliver real benefits in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels,” stated Ms. Witwer. “As a society, if we do not significantly increase our efforts at preventing the development of type 2 diabetes, the incidence of type 2 diabetes will significantly rise, the cost of caring for these individuals and the increasing burden on healthcare will be huge, and millions of Americans will suffer the tragic consequences of this serious disease, including increased risk of heart disease, amputations, blindness, and kidney failure.”
Nutra Bridge’s Mr. Steil believes the supplement market for products that target Metabolic Syndrome and prediabetes is still relatively small. “However, this category remains the biggest of unmet market and customer needs and will explode over the next few years,” he commented. “Exponential growth rates in both diabetes and obesity will have to be addressed as the cost of treating these diseases explodes. Given that consumers are increasingly becoming more responsible about their own healthcare costs, prevention of both metabolic syndrome and prediabetes will be essential. Investing in supplements that help maintain healthy blood sugar and insulin levels will grow and play a vital role in helping to improve health not only in the U.S., but also worldwide.”
Pharmachem’s Mr. Skop is also very optimistic about what lies ahead for the blood sugar management category. “As with weight control, blood sugar management supplements and functional beverages and foods have a bright future,” he said. “More people are discovering at earlier ages that they need to pay careful attention to their blood sugar numbers. This knowledge impacts dietary choices and motivates people to buy supplements and foods that will help them.”
The future may be bright for the blood sugar management category, but Mr. Nomura of Softgel is quick to point out that many of the herbs and ingredients currently used in blood sugar management formulas do not have legitimate third party science showing efficacy. “I believe it would be judicious to do more research on existing ingredients for blood sugar management before additional new ingredients are unveiled,” he cautioned.
For now, with the blood sugar category largely untapped in terms of revenues, marketers must tread carefully. According to Ricardo Carvajal, JD, MS, of Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C. and the nonprofit organization The International Food Information Council (IFIC), if the term “glycemic index” is used in a context that suggests an intent to treat, cure, prevent, mitigate, or diagnose a disease such as diabetes, FDA would likely view the product as an unapproved new drug. “However, certain categories of foods, including medical foods and foods for special dietary use, can be marketed to help manage diabetes,” he explained. ”If the term is used only to suggest an effect on a normal structure or function of the body (e.g., help maintain blood sugar levels that are already within the normal range), then the use of the term is unlikely to draw an objection. Also, any claim must be adequately substantiated. Otherwise it will be vulnerable to challenge by FDA, FTC and competitors through the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau.”
Anne Maher of Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker LLP in Washington, D.C., says the FDA and USDA do not view the glycemic index as a useful tool for consumers to use in choosing foods for a healthy diet and blood sugar management. “The more important issues are calorie content and the type of carbohydrate, such as soluble vs. insoluble fiber,” she said.
The potential health concern for foods that raise blood glucose levels and initiate an insulin response is that they may eventually lead to diabetes. “Current evidence suggests that there is no relationship between total carbohydrate intake, minus fiber, and the incidence of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes,” explained Ms. Maher. “And the intake of fiber-containing foods is associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Will the term “glycemic index” become more mainstream and expand consumer dietary supplement and functional food purchasing profiles? “It’s hard to say whether the term will become the norm. However, with the diabetes numbers skyrocketing, it would only make sense that there could be greater interest in products that help manage blood sugar levels,” concluded Ms. Maher.
Living with a chronic disease of any type isn’t easy. And diabetes is no exception. The 366 million people who struggle with the disease worldwide is a staggering number. But many are living with diabetes successfully. Interestingly, in a failing health system, many are addressing their blood sugar challenges with innovative dietary supplement formulas and functional foods. And these products contain groundbreaking ingredients proven efficacious by legitimate science generated by brilliant researchers, many of whom are vital players in the natural products industry. Marketers are also incentivized by the annual $3.4 billion sales potential for diabetes and related OTC drugs and supplements. Whatever the motivation, blood sugar management offers a healthy mix of challenges and opportunities moving forward.
About the author: Mark Becker has worked as a natural products sales and marketing executive for 15 years. He has written more than 250 articles and has hosted or been a guest on more than 500 radio shows. He obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism and marketing from Long Beach State University and did his master’s work in communications at Cal State Fullerton. For almost 30 years he has participated in numerous endurance events, including more than 150 triathlons of Olympic distance or longer, 100 marathons and numerous other events, including ultramarathons and rough water swims from Alcatraz to the mainland. He has relied on a comprehensive dietary supplement and homeopathic regimen to support his athletic, professional and personal endeavors. Follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marklbecker or http://www.facebook.com/energyatlast. Follow Mark on Twitter at http://twitter.com/becker_mark. For more information, access Mark’s website at www.EnergyatLast.com.
Maintaining optimal blood sugar levels is not only important for people with diabetes but also for the general population. Ingredient companies are meeting this demand by creating innovative new products that are making their way into great new finished product formulas. An increasing number of ingredient companies are investing in clinical work to show efficacy. Generating compelling data is what it’s all about and the following is snapshot of some of the latest in blood sugar management ingredient offerings.
Cargill Health & Nutrition, Minneapolis, MN
Xtend Sucromalt: A slowly digestible carbohydrate. It is a fully digestible sweetener syrup that provides carbohydrates without blood sugar highs and lows. Sucromalt is a fully caloric, low glycemic sweetener that is ideal for use in foods where a balanced release of energy is desired.
Oliggo-Fiber Inulin: A source of soluble dietary fiber that can be measured in foods by AOAC analytical methods. Like other prebiotics, they are not digested and absorbed in the stomach or small intestine but arrive unaltered in the large intestine where they are fermented, forming short chain fatty acids, gases and increased numbers of beneficial bacteria.
Ecuadorian Rainforest, Belleville, NJ
Cinnamon: 1 gram of cinnamon daily in either food or a supplement can help maintain blood sugar levels by activating insulin receptors in the body and making the flow of glucose smoother.
Dandelion root, leaf and flower: This herb has been shown to have an effect on blood sugar levels, acting as a stabilizing agent, buffering against extreme highs and lows.
Blueberry leaf: Blueberry leaf contains myrtillin and pterostilbene, both of which tend to control or lower elevated blood sugar levels. Dried blueberry leaves as tea have been used to regulate insulin.
Gencor Pacific Group, Anaheim, CA
Gencinia: An extract of Coccinia cordifolia, syn. Indica. Coccinia cordifolia, also known as Coccinia indica, has been used as a vegetable in India for centuries. It has been used traditionally for the balancing of blood sugar levels. Many published studies have shown that an extract of Coccinia cordifolia is effective in controlling blood sugar levels.
Horphag Research, Hoboken, NJ
Pycnogenol: Pycnogenol has been shown in a controlled clinical trial to help people control their caloric intake. Pycnogenol has been demonstrated to significantly decrease the postprandial (post-meal) blood glucose levels. In addition to decreasing blood glucose, Pycnogenol has been also found to lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure and abdominal adiposity in people with metabolic syndrome. Pycnogenol allows the sugar from starch to be released into the blood stream more slowly, which promotes balanced insulin levels that don’t drop rapidly after a meal. This prevents people from craving snacks between meals.
Ingredion Incorporated, Westchester, IL
Hi-Maize: A resistant starch, Hi-Maize is made from a proprietary high amylose corn hybrid. It contains approximately 40% slowly digestible (glycemic) starch and 60% resistant starch (insoluble fiber that resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine). In the last 20 years, more than 350 published studies—including more than 90 human clinical trials—have demonstrated a range of health related benefits from the consumption of Hi-Maize resistant starch, including assisting blood sugar and energy management, weight management and satiety in healthy individuals. It can be added to foods such as breads, baked goods and snacks by partly replacing flour. It can also be added to smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal in a simple blending process.
InterHealth Nutraceuticals, Benicia, CA
Zychrome: Published clinical research indicates that Zychrome, a chromium dinicocysteinate, is superior over chromium picolinate in managing insulin function. Chromium is a great ingredient for blood sugar management and the science supports this. Chromium is continually recommended by healthcare experts for blood sugar and insulin control.
Nexira, Somerville, NJ
Acacia gum: Also known as gum Arabic, it comes from the sap of acacia trees. It is a natural water-soluble hydrocolloid, a polysaccharide, belonging to the complex arabinogalactan family. For decades, gum acacia has been widely used by the food and the beverage industries for its functional properties, and its nutritional and health benefits include: Enrichment in soluble dietary fibers; improvement of digestive comfort; and source of prebiotic fiber.
Stevia extract: Super-sweet and low-calorie,stevia helps regulate blood sugar and support the pancreas. It is valuable for anyone with diabetes and hypoglycemia. It aids with weight loss and weight management because it contains no calories. Research indicates that it significantly increases glucose tolerance and inhibits glucose absorption. People who ingest stevia daily often report a decrease in their desire for sweets and fatty foods.
Nutra Bridge, Shoreview, MN
InSea2: This ingredient changes the way consumers manage the impact of starch and carbohydrates on blood sugar and insulin response. InSea2 blocks both alpha amylase and alpha glycosidase enzymes (it blocks the breakdown of both starch and table sugar). As a result, it offers more complete control of blood sugar levels versus the more traditional starch and carb blockers. Given that it is almost impossible to avoid the consumption of starch and complex carbohydrates, supplementing with InSea2 can reduce the quick spike in blood glucose and insulin associated with these compounds.
Pharmachem Laboratories Inc., Kearny, NJ
Phase 2 White Kidney Bean Extract: The over consumption of processed, refined carbohydrates, such as white breads, pastries, white pastas, white rice and potatoes, has contributed to the breakdown of the insulin-blood sugar balance. Phase 2 is a white kidney bean extract that is clinically proven to delay the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. This, in turn, reduces the caloric impact of starchy foods and the glycemic index, which are priorities for diabetes patients in managing this disease through diet.
Phase 3 Sugar Controller: This specialty powder helps control weight and blood sugar levels by reducing the body's ability to absorb and utilize sugar. Phase 3 combines the glucose absorption benefits of L-arabinose and the insulin control capability of chromium. Like L-arabinose, chromium is a naturally occurring element that has been shown to help support healthy blood sugar levels.
Roquette America, Keokuk, IA
Maltitol: Maltitol is part of a group of reduced-calorie sweeteners called “sugar alcohols”—these are often substituted in foods for regular sugar. Sometimes they are called low- or reduced-calorie sweeteners. Even though sugar alcohols are made from different types of sugar and starch, they usually have about half the calories. They may be helpful in weight management and have a much smaller effect on blood glucose levels. Therefore, they may help with diabetes management when they replace sugar or starch.
Sorbitol: Another sugar alcohol, sorbitol is commonly used as a sugar substitute in many foods. Often found in sugar-free foods, sorbitol is about half as sweet as sugar and also provides fewer calories per serving. Unlike sugar, sorbitol is easily metabolized in the body and does not cause drastic changes in blood sugar levels.
Softgel Technologies, Los Angeles, CA
GlucoHelp: This proprietary banaba leaf extract is standardized to 18% corosolic acid—a key bioactive constituent—which has been clinically proven to help control blood glucose levels in pre-diabetic and diabetic adults, without causing hypoglycemia.