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Kithul (Caryota urens) treacle: A healthy natural sweetener?

Authors:

Pabasara Weeraratne,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About Pabasara
Faculty of Medical Science
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Sagarika Ekanayake

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About Sagarika
Faculty of Medical Science
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Abstract

Introduction:  Incidence of non communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), several forms of cancer, hypertension, obesity etc  is increasing in our country.  It is suggested that these diseases can be moderated, in part, by consuming foods that produce a low blood sugar response. It is presumed that kithul treacle is comparable to simple sugars for sweetness, although currently the beneficial effects are not widely known. 


Objectives: To assess the chemical composition and glycaemic indices (GI) of kithul treacle and confectionary (aluwa) made using table sugar and kithul treacle.


Methods: Chemical composition was analysed with standard AOAC methods. FAO/WHO guidelines were used to determine the glycaemic responses with glucose as the standard.


Results: The moisture, crude protein, crude fat, total carbohydrate, starch & glucose and total dietary fibre contents of treacle were 28%, 0.3%, 7.9%, 81%, 28% and 2.20% (DM) with negligible ash content.  Similarly both aluwa had negligible ash contents.  Total carbohydrate (88-89%), fat (2.9%), protein (3.7-4.2%) and total dietary fibre (7.78-8.32%) contents of both aluwa were not significantly different.  However, the digestible carbohydrate contents of treacle (67%) and sugar aluwa (59%) were significantly different (p<0.05).  The GI of kithul treacle, aluwa made with treacle and sugar were 35, 55 and 63 respectively.


Conclusion: Kithul treacle was categorized as a low GI food whereas both aluwa were categorized as medium GI foods.  In comparison to aluwa made with table sugar, the glycaemic response of aluwa made with treacle was lower proving that replacing sugar with treacle leads to lower glycaemic response. 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v67i1.9553
How to Cite: Weeraratne, P. and Ekanayake, S., 2022. Kithul (Caryota urens) treacle: A healthy natural sweetener?. Ceylon Medical Journal, 67(1), pp.11–16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v67i1.9553
Published on 04 May 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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