Historically, most of the research into carbohydrates as functional ingredients focused on the improvement of appearance, taste, mouth-feel, and stability. The growing interest in functional foods, however, is demanding a critical look at the beneficial nonnutritive effects of carbohydrates on human health. Furthermore, there is a need to establish definitive relations among the structure, physical property, and physiological function of these bioactive compounds. As more of the benefit and functional versatility of carbohydrates is revealed, it is clear that any future research and recommendation must be based on a solid synthesis of multidisciplinary findings including epidemiological, metabolic, and clinical nutritional data.
Through clinical and epidemiological studies, Functional Food Carbohydrates addresses the specific classes of carbohydrates that seem to exert health-enhancing effects. The text begins with in-depth treatments of the chemistry, physical properties, processing technology, safety and health benefits of a variety of carbohydrates including cereal beta-glucans, microbial polysaccharides, chitosan, arabinoxylans, resistant starch, and other polysaccharides of plant origin. The authors then discuss the physiological and metabolic effects that a variety of carbohydrates have on specific chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and various gastrointestinal disorders. The final chapters discuss the regulatory and technological aspects of using carbohydrates as functional foods. Specifically, the authors consider the safety and efficacy of pre-, pro-, and synbiotics, and the potential use of carbohydrates as delivery vehicles for other bioactive compounds.
With contributions from experts specializing in food chemistry and technology, as well as human nutrition and physiology, this text illuminates the link between the behavior of carbohydrate compounds and their beneficial end-result on human health.