Bread fortified with pomelo lowers GI and risk of diabetes: study

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Scientists in India conducted a study to develop health-promoting breads fortified with pomelo. Pic: ©iStock/thaloengsak
Scientists in India conducted a study to develop health-promoting breads fortified with pomelo. Pic: ©iStock/thaloengsak

Related tags Glycemic index Nutrition Carbohydrate

Indian scientists suggest adding the citrus fruit to bread lowers its glycemic index, which increases its nutritional value and decreases the risk of diabetes.

Scientists from India’s Department of Fruit and Vegetable Technology, and Flour Milling, Baking & Confectionery Technology Department of the CSIR-CFTRI conducted a study to develop value added white and brown breads using pomelo fruit (Citrus maxima).

The breads were also analysed to evaluate the starch digestibility, glycemic index (GI) and the retention of naringin and other biofunctional components to ensure the health promoting properties of pomelo were retained even after processing.

Past studies found that pomelo acts as a stomach tonic, a remedy for fever, insomnia and a sore throat, is a cardiac stimulant,​and lowers oxidative stress​ and inflammation​, ​among other benefits.

Pomelo is rich in naringin, a flavonoid found in citrus fruit, giving them their typical bitter flavour.

Studies found naringin to possess antioxidant, anti-ulcer, anti-osteoporosis, anti-carcinogenic and cholesterol lowering poperties.

A 2014 study published in Advances in Nutrition​also suggested that naringin supplementation is beneficial to treat obesity, hypertension and metabolic syndrome.

Breakdown of carbs

pomelo bread Smitt
Pic: ©iStock/Smitt

Analysis on the breads containing pomelo revealed higher levels of resistant starch than in control breads.

The Indian scientists also discovered the presence of bioactive compounds were higher in bread supplemented with pomelo, which lowered the product’s GI.

The bread containing pomelo showed lower and gradual release of glucose than control bread.

They concluded that naringin could inhibit the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body. When consumed in high quantities, carbs can result in fat deposition and weight gain.

High body fat also increases the risk of several diseases, such as diabetes.

Effects of fortification

The Indian scientists also studied the effects that fortifying bread with fresh and dried segments of pomelo would have on white and brown bread.

Pomelo piece chengyuzheng
Pic: ©iStock/gyuzheng

They found the volume of the white and brown breads supplemented with fresh segments of pomelo increased, but the crumb firmness decreased.

A taste panel of Indian males and females between the ages of 35 and 50 judged the bread made with 20% fresh and 5% dry pomelo segments was sensorily acceptable.

Bioactive components such as phenolics, flavonoids, naringin and carotenoids were better retained in bread containing dry pomelo segments.

Dry segment-incorporated bread showed higher resistance towards starch digestion, thus lowering the release of glucose.

The scientists concluded the study offered a new approach to producing bread with a lower starch digestion rate, and stated fortified with pomelo was suitable for people with diabetes.


Food Chem. 2017 Dec 15;237:957-965. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.05.138. Epub 2017 Jun 1.

‘Starch digestibility and predicted glycemic index in the bread fortified with pomelo (Citrus maxima) fruit segments.’

Authors: SK Reshmi, ML Sudha and MN Shashirekha

What is GI?

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of how quickly different foods make blood glucose levels rise after consumption.

Foods with a high GI are not necessarily bad. For example, it is still healthier to eat a baked potato (high GI) than potato chips (medium GI).

However, research suggests the slower release of energy from carbs (low GI) helps control appetite and could even stabilise blood glucose levels, which is helpful in diabetes.

GI eyjafjallajokull
Pic: ©iStock/eyjafjallajokull

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