To stimulate discussion around the topic of 'carbohydrates' and health, the Brazilian branch of the International Life Sciences Institute held the 11th International Functional Foods Workshop (1-2 December 2011) in which consolidated knowledge and recent scientific advances specific to the relationship between carbohydrates and health were presented. As part of this meeting, several key points related to dietary fiber, glycemic response, fructose, and impacts on satiety, cognition, mood, and gut microbiota were realized: 1) there is a need for global harmonization of a science-based fiber definition; 2) low-glycemic index foods can be used to modulate the postprandial glycemic response and may affect diabetes and cardiovascular outcomes; 3) carbohydrate type may influence satiety and satiation; glycemic load and glycemic index show links to memory, mood, and concentration; 4) validated biomarkers are needed to demonstrate the known prebiotic effect of carbohydrates; 5) negative effects of fructose are not evident when human data are systematically reviewed; 6) new research indicates that diet strongly influences the microbiome; and 7) there is mounting evidence that the intestinal microbiota has the ability to impact the gut-brain axis. Overall, there is much promise for development of functional foods that impact the microbiome and other factors relevant to health, including glycemic response (glycemic index/glycemic load), satiety, mood, cognition, and weight management.
- Functional food
- Gut health