There are several things being done to battle the obesity epidemic growing across the globe in First World countries. Are all of them ethical, though?
Japanese scientists have developed two new, non-digestible carbohydrates called resistant glucan (RG) and hydrogenated resistant glucan (HRG). Don’t they sound delightful?
If you didn’t already know it, there are already non-digestible dietary fiber additives on the market such as polydextrose and resistant maltodextrin. They’re often added to processed foods as a low-energy bulking agent. So it makes the “food” more palatable without adding many calories.
These new non-digestible fibers created by Japanese researchers will be even more non-digestible according to their initial lab results. In fact, the resistant glucan is expected to pass through ones’ digestive system 99% undigested.
Though the researchers conclude that no harmful effects have been seen, and that RG and HRG could be the new and improved non-digestible dietary fibers, more testing still needs to be done.
The European Food Safety Authority backed claims of favorable glycemic responses when sugars are replaced with non-digestible additives earlier this year. Glycemic responses do not equal weight loss, though. And if these additives have been in food for years, why is the obesity rate continuing to skyrocket?
All of this leaves one wondering if additives like these are actually making the obesity epidemic worse. If you eat the food, but it’s non-digestible and therefore nutritionally irrelevant, won’t that drive people to just eat more food? Are foods made with these products not the definition of empty calories? We aren’t just empty stomachs waiting to be filled – humans have actual, nutritional needs that need to be met.