1 May 2009

GI Symbol News with Alan Barclay

LoGicane™: your questions answered

Alan Barclay

The launch of the low GI sweetener LoGicane™ in Australia in March sparked immense interest from around the globe. A growing disenchantment with non-nutritive tabletop sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, and the hypothesis that high fructose corn syrups are fuelling the obesity epidemic in the USA, are a couple of likely reasons for the high level of interest.

How does LoGicane™ compare with other tabletop sweeteners?

It is important to realise that it is a nutritive sweetener – it provides energy (kilojoules) and carbohydrate, as well as small amounts of minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium, and other nutritive substances like polyphenols and antioxidants. Other nutritive sweeteners like honey and raw sugar also provide similar amounts of energy, carbohydrate and some of these other nutrients, but on average, they have a higher GI value. All other nutritive tabletop sweeteners are so highly refined that they only provide energy and carbohydrate, and with the notable exception of fructose, have a higher GI. Therefore, LoGicane™ is an overall better choice of nutritive tabletop sweetener.

However, like all nutritive sweeteners, it may contribute to weight gain, and will elevate blood glucose levels in people with diabetes, if consumed in excessive amounts. It is worth noting that total sugar consumption per head of population has been decreasing in Australia over the last 35 years, while rates of overweight/obesity and type 2 diabetes have approximately trebled over the same period.


How does LoGicane™ compare with non-nutritive table top sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose?
As their name suggests, non-nutritive sweeteners provide essentially no nutrients (energy, carbohydrate, minerals, etc…) when consumed as directed. As such, they will not affect blood glucose levels, and in theory may aid in weight management. However, perhaps surprisingly, there is actually little evidence that they help with weight management for reasons that are as yet unclear. It is worth noting that aspartame and sucralose were introduced into the food supply in the early 1980’s and 90’s respectively, again coinciding with the global obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Is Logicane™ low GI due to added chemicals or sweeteners?
Logicane™ is low GI due to the polyphenols that occur naturally in molasses. The important GI lowering polyphenols in molasses are recovered using a membrane filtration process and this material is reincorporated back into washed raw sugar crystals to ensure the clinically “right” amount is captured in the final sugar product to ensure it is low GI.

Where can you buy it?
While LoGicane™ is currently only available in Australia and New Zealand supermarkets, Horizon Science are negotiating with major North American and European manufacturers, and expect the product will be available in these territories in the near future. For more information email: alan@gisymbol.com


Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
CSO, Glycemic Index Ltd
Phone: +61 2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 2 9785 1037
Email: mailto:alan@gisymbol.com
Email: alan@gisymbol.com
Website: www.gisymbol.com.au


Joan said...

Hi Alan:
Isn't food science wonderful. A healthy sugar? Is it possible that this will find it's way into the food system, as did HFCS and reverse the obesity trends? Is is only a table top sweetener? Because it's not used in the US, I can't tell if the cooking properties are the same, and if you would imagine it being used in beverages, or baked products. I'll check out the website.
Thanks for brining this to the attention of your followers.
J Hill, Boston MA

howross said...

How does Logicane compare with FRUISANA (GI index 19)? - it's 100% fruit sugar made of beet-sugar, stated to be as easy to use as sugar, just use 30% less.

Barbara said...

This is great news!. Can you eleborate what type of polyphenols are in sugar. I am a scietist and I am interested in more details. Any scientific references?

GI Group said...

We have passed your comments on to Alan and will post his reply as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,
I have already cooked with this sugar making muffins. It tasted great and no one could tell the difference.

Anonymous said...

What is the GI of brown sugar? How does it compare to LoGICane?

Robyn said...

I have baked with it too.

Do we know if the low GI effect of the sugar is maintained when dissolved in tea or on the stove with wet ingredients before mixing with other baking? If we don't know, do we have a good basis to guess? E.g. I'm wondering if the polyphenols which I imagine are on the outside, more or less, of the sugar crystals, separate from the sugar but if they are still lowering the GI as they are still in the tea or the baking?

While talking brown sugar, do we have a GI on coffee crystals. Logicane seems a lot like smaller coffee crystals.

GI Group said...

Logicane is a healthier sugar Joan, but it should still be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet. The HFCS debate is still raging. Horizon Science, the company that invented Logicane is looking to supply it to industry as a food ingredient. Therefore, It may eventually be used in processed foods instead of High Fructose Corn Syrups (HFCS) in the USA. They (HFCS) are not used much outside of the USA, yet the obesity epidemic is global. There is powerful evidence that healthy low GI diets help people lose weight. Dietary modelling on Australian populations suggest that substitution of Logicane for ordinary table sugar (the primary sweetener in Australia) will help lower the populations average dietary GI, so it may help slow/reverse the obesity epidemic – if it is consumed in moderation, as part of a healthy diet. It is currently only a tabletop sweetener, and its cooking properties are the same as white sugar (sucrose).

GI Group said...

Re Fruisana and other brands of fructose: They have a lower GI than Logicane, and because they are sweeter than sucrose, you should be able to use less. Compensation for sweetness may affect the bulk or texture of a recipe, but other than that, it is relatively easy to use. Fructose is more expensive than Logicane. Like all nutritive sweeteners, fructose should be consumed in moderation: for example, there is evidence that if the average person consumes more than 50 g (10 teaspoons) of fructose a day, it will raise their triglyceride levels. Consumption of greater than 100 g (20 teaspoons) a day is associated with weight gain.

Re brown sugar: We are unaware of any GI value for brown sugar. It is not likely to be low GI. Brown sugar is usually white sugar with molasses added back in. In theory, the molasses may lower the GI, but the amount added in varies considerably.

GI Group said...

We referred a number of these posts to Horizon Science and Dr Alan Barclay. Hope these responses help.

Re Logicane in tea and in baking:
'We have not examined the effect in tea, and it’s possible that tea, coffee and/or cocoa being high in polyphenols themselves, may elicit their own lowering of the GI if consumed with carbohydrate. We have carried out clinical studies using Logicane in place of white sugar in a range of products including chocolate, dry beverage mixes, ice cream, and soft drinks and there was no statistical difference in GI between the test and control (white sugar) products. When Logicane is used in complex food formulations, other ingredients such as fats, proteins etc are the main driver of the GI result. The proportion of total carbohydrate in the food/recipe coming from Logicane is also an important issue – particularly in baked goods. The addition of Logicane does not necessarily mean the product will automatically become low GI.'

Re coffee crystals:
'There is no data on coffee crystals.'

Re polyphenols in Logicane and any scientific references:
'Sugar cane contains a range of phenolic acids - probably well over 100, but we have identified only a few of these. They probably exist as both “free” compounds eg called aglycones and as esterified / glycosylated compounds. We do not know as yet which ones are the key bioactive compounds and what their bio-availability is. There is very little published data on sugar cane polyphenols. Do a search in the J.Agric. & Food Chemistry.'