Prebiotic Oligosaccharides, Resistant Starch and Sugar Alcohols in Lentils: Implications for Obesity
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Imbalanced energy intake, coupled with low concentrations of bioactive compounds in foods, has fueled the rising epidemic of obesity and related non-communicable diseases. Currently, over 35% of American adults are obese, including nearly 17% of children and adolescents. In relation, chronic non-communicable diseases result in an estimated 36 million deaths globally each year. To combat these dietrelated disorders, support health, and contribute to overall sustainability of health care, it is important to develop foods that supply proper amounts of energy and nutrients. Lentil (Lens culinaris L.), a cool season food legume, is a good source of protein (20-30%), essential fatty acids, micronutrients, and prebiotic carbohydrates and elicits a low glycemic index. Carbohydrate profiles of lentil that contribute to healthful effects include prebiotics: raffinose-family oligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, sugar alcohols, and resistant starch. The book chapter will provide insights on prebiotic carbohydrates in lentil, including genetic diversity and growing environmental and processing effects. Additionally, the chapter will include a synopsis of health consequences associated with consumption of these important prebiotic carbohydrates, and, in closure, will discuss avenues of further research.