Baobab has Positive Effect on High GI Foods & Diabetes

The baobab tree is native to Africa, and typically found in dry and hot sub-Saharan Africa. The fruit that grows on the Baobab Tree, the Baobab Fruit almost looks like a small coconut or large mango. Baobab fruit has a hard outer shell, and inside the hard casing you would find the pulp; which is already naturally dehydrated.

The only fruit in the world that dries on the branch, so it can be simply sieved into a 100% natural, organic powder that is free from preservatives or additives. Baobab fruit powder is a completely natural raw whole-food composed of high levels of antioxidants and dietary fibre.

Research has shown that when consumed with simple carbohydrates, it will slow their glycemic response. Baobab essentially lowers the Glycemic Index (GI) of high GI foods such as white bread!

By slowing the glycemic response of simple carbohydrates, the findings indicate that baobab fruit powder could potentially help in the management of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It is thought that specific groups of antioxidants called polyphenols contained in baobab fruit powder are responsible for this effect.

Glycemic Index

Our body’s “glycemic” response to a food is the measure of the effect it has on our blood sugar levels after eating. Persistent fluctuations in blood sugar levels can lead to serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, when the body receives more glucose than it can use, it stores the excess sugar which it is unable to metabolise as fat. That is why eating foods which promote rapid and elevated blood sugar levels such as white bread, confectionery and white rice can often lead to weight gain.

This has resulted in the development of the Glycemic Index (GI). Foods classified as low GI typically release glucose slowly into the bloodstream leading to only moderate level increases in blood sugar levels. Higher Glycemic Index foods such as simple carbohydrates will result in a more rapid rise in blood sugar levels.

However, the Glycemic Index of a food is different when eaten alone then when combined with other foods.

Baobab and Glycemic Index Research

In a 2013 clinical study, researchers at Oxford Brookes University in England discovered that drinking a mix of baobab fruit powder and water significantly slowed the rise of blood sugar levels 20-60 minutes after eating high Glycemic Index white bread. (SA Coe et al. “The polyphenol-rich baobab fruit reduces starch digestion and glycemic response in humans”.

Subjects were given drinks containing either (1) 18.5g of baobab fruit powder in 250ml of water or (2) 37g of baobab fruit powder in 250ml of water. Both groups recorded lower and slower blood sugar increases after eating high GI white bread compared to the group that was given just plain water. It is thought that specific groups of antioxidants called polyphenols contained in baobab fruit powder are responsible for this effect.

In addition, the same subjects were separately fed either standard white bread or white bread where baobab fruit powder had been added to the mix prior to baking. Researchers found that by adding baobab fruit powder to the baking mix, it actually lowered the GI of white bread. They trialed different percentages of baobab fruit powder in the baking mix (1.25%, 1.88%, 2.50%, 3.13% and 3.75%) and even the lowest amount proved effective in lowering the GI.