Why do millets have slower starch and protein digestibility than other cereals?

George Amponsah Annor, Catrin Tyl, Massimo Marcone, Sanaa Ragaee, Alessandra Marti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Background Millet and millet based products are known to have lower starch and protein digestibility rates when compared to other cereals. Understanding, why millets are slowly digestible and how they are affected by processing is important in maintaining their lower starch and protein digestibilities when processed. Scope and approach This review explores the factors that contribute to the lower starch and protein digestibilities of millets and their underlying mechanisms. The effects of different processing methods on millet starch and protein digestibility rates are also discussed. Key findings and conclusions Factors such as starch structural characteristics, starch-protein-lipid interactions, fiber and polyphenols present in millets play significant roles in their hypoglycemic property. The amount and type of fatty acids present in millets significantly affect their starch hydrolysis rates. Unsaturated fatty acids are more effective in reducing starch hydrolysis rates than their saturated counterparts. In-vitro protein digestibility (IVPD) of millets appears to be mostly affected by polyphenols and processing. Simple processing steps such as decortication, germination and fermentation which are mostly applied to millets significantly affect both starch digestibility and IVPD of millets. The adoption of processes that maintain low starch hydrolysis rates and increases protein digestibility in millets should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Glycemic index
  • Millet
  • Processing
  • Protein digestibility
  • Starch digestibility


Dive into the research topics of 'Why do millets have slower starch and protein digestibility than other cereals?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this