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How to age well – Stay active and eat well with BENEO’s functional ingredients.

Main aspects of healthy ageing:

Consumers are increasingly adopting a long-term approach to health maintenance, wanting to stay fit, active and independent until as late in life as possible. Nutrition is beginning to play a key role in this. Beyond the usual advice to eat well and stay active, BENEO’s functional ingredients ISOMALT, Palatinose™, Orafti® Inulin and Orafti® Oligofructose are supported by solid science and can be incorporated into a healthy eating pattern to promote optimal ageing.

Worldwide more than 1 billion people are older than 60 years of age. This is 13.5% of the world’s population. Projections estimate that the number will have more than doubled (to 2.1 billion) by 2050 (World Health Organization (2020) Decade of healthy ageing: baseline report.)

These facts led the WHO to declare 2021-2030 the “Decade of Healthy Ageing” (WHO UN Decade of healthy ageing) The goal is “to ensure that older people can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality, in a healthy environment”. Our health span, the years of healthy, independent living, is more important for our wellbeing than our life span.

Managing blood sugar is a smart move
Digestive health, gut microbiota and prebiotics
Immune health
Weight Management and body composition
Dental health
Bone Health by improving calcium absorption
The benefits of prebiotics in frailty

Population by age group, including UN projections, World

Worldwide more than 1 billion people are older than 60 years of age

One important element is our nutrition. The potential of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and being overweight or obese increases with age, as the body’s ability to correct dietary mistakes decreases. This is why healthy ageing and healthy eating are strongly correlated.

Managing blood sugar is a smart move.

Managing a person’s blood glucose levels is a good way to help promote long-term health. It not only supports metabolic health but benefits fat oxidation for energy production and inhibits the storage of fat, which may support weight management. Also lower blood sugar levels have been shown to help strengthen immunity. Consumers, in particular older consumers are concerned about their blood sugar levels and the goal in diet-choices therefore is to come to a lower blood sugar day profile.

Promoting healthy ageing through blood sugar management can be supported by choosing the right type of carbohydrate. The ideal carbohydrate provides the necessary energy for a person’s metabolism, it triggers a low and balanced rise in blood glucose and a low increase in insulin, as well as encouraging fat burning rather than fat storage. With all this in mind, the nutritional quality of carbohydrates is very important for healthy ageing.

The goal for any food producer interested in promoting the long-term health of consumers should be the development of food choices that deliver a lower glycaemic profile. This is only possible by selecting the right ingredients such as BENEO’s Palatinose™, prebiotic chicory root fibre Orafti® Inulin and Orafti® Oligofructose, as well as ISOMALT. With a low or non-glycaemic profile, all of these ingredients can help in the creation of foods and beverages that support blood sugar management.

Digestive health, gut microbiota and prebiotics.

As people age, the gut microbiome changes. So it is no surprise that 2 in 5 consumers 50+ globally state that they are concerned about digestive problems. The stability of the microbiota composition goes down, there is a lower diversity and imbalances of bacteria (dysbiosis) and an increase in the potentially harmful bacteria groups also occurs.

Also, constipation becomes more common as people age, with 1 in 4 women aged 65 and over struggling with this condition and 1 in 6 men. BENEO’s Orafti® Inulin is a plant-based natural dietary fibre and proven prebiotic that carries an EU health claim for digestive health by improving bowel regularity. At the same time, numerous studies show that this prebiotic chicory root fibre nourishes the gut microbiota, whilst improving digestive health and wellbeing.

Almost every second consumer over the age of 50 chooses food and beverages to improve digestion. In fact, BENEO’s inulin and oligofructose have been shown to support a healthy microbiota and a selective increase in bifidobacteria in more than 50 human intervention studies. Think of prebiotics as helping the good guys, that is, helping the good microbes to flourish while keeping the bad or disease-causing microbes in check. Inulin and oligofructose are plant-based prebiotics. They belong to the very few proven prebiotics according to ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics).

Immune health.

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3 in 4 consumers aged 55+ choose prebiotic products to improve their immune health

With age a person’s inner defence system is weakened. Bearing in mind that 70% of the inner defence system is located in the gut, nutrition that is beneficial to the gut and its microbiome also supports the inner defence system.

BENEO’s prebiotic chicory root fibres inulin and oligofructose, support a healthy microbiota, improve the gut environment to make life for pathogens more difficult, strengthen the gut’s barrier function and more. Chicory root fibres belong to the very few proven prebiotics according to ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics). Inulin and oligofructose are the only plant-based prebiotics.

While it is good to start as early as possible, it is never too late to begin: everyone can support their inner defence system. With consumption of only 3 grams per day of BENEO’s inulin or oligofructose, Bifidobacteria increase significantly. This contributes to the support of a person’s digestive health and overall wellbeing, whilst helping to keep the inner defence system in good shape.

Weight management and body composition.

3 in 4 consumers 50+ worldwide regarding maintaining a healthy weight as extremely or very important for their overall health (HFI 2020)

3 in 4 consumers 50+ worldwide regard maintaining a healthy weight as extremely or very important for their overall health

For many people, getting older also often goes hand in hand with becoming overweight or obese, which, as such are both risk factors for further diseases.

With a typical adult gaining approximately 1 kg per year over their lifetime, and a deficiency of 7000 kcal needed to lose only 1 kg, supporting a healthy lifestyle begins with enjoyable products that help us to eat less. Low glycaemic products are key in the weight management toolbox. They help to lower a person’s blood glucose profile, which leads to lower insulin levels, supporting metabolic health, fat oxidation and the inhibition of fat storage.

With its slow release of energy and lower rise in blood glucose and insulin, BENEO’s Palatinose™ can help drive the metabolism towards higher fat burning and can ultimately support weight management and body composition.

BENEO’s chicory root fibre has gained more and more attention for its supportive role in helping to eat less, naturally. Chicory root fibre’s role in weight management is supported by scientific evidence, in both animal and human intervention studies. Balanced energy input and output are crucial to maintaining healthy weight. BENEO’s sugar replacer ISOMALT can help to reduce calories by replacing sucrose cup by cup in confectionery or baked goods. So you can have both – the treat and less calories.

Dental health.

Oral health counts to the top 3 health concerns for consumers when aging (HFI 2020)

Oral health counts to the top 3 health concerns for consumers when ageing

With an ageing population and increasing incidences of diseases like diabetes mellitus and hypertension that also influence the dental status, dental health is of high importance when getting older. A dry mouth condition affects 30% of people over 65 years of age with increasing incidences by age. While the origin of this phenomena can be multiple and related to other diseases and medication, this can lead to a decline in the overall dental status. A stimulation of the saliva flow by sucking sugar-free isomalt-based candies or chewing sugar-fee chewing gums is an option to address this dry mouth feeling. Even better, there is no increase in dental caries as isomalt does not promote tooth decay. This benefit is confirmed by health claims in the U.S. and Europe.

Consuming sugar-free products with Isomalt can not only stimulate saliva flow rate but can also change saliva composition to increase the availability of minerals and increase remineralisation of teeth.

Bone Health by improving calcium absorption.

One in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures

Osteoporosis or porous bones is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide and causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually. (International Osteoporosis Foundation. About osteoporosis). 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures. Osteoporosis is a disorder best prevented rather than treated.

Once bone is lost, it is not easy to replace it. A healthy diet is one effective tactic to halt the progress. While at least 15 nutrients are needed for strong, healthy bones, one star ingredient is calcium.

A sufficient calcium intake as well as efficient calcium absorption and retention for increased bone mineral density is best in early adulthood but also later in life. Calcium requirements as well as recommendations even increase later in live. So the importance to optimize absorption increases to reduce the risk for osteoporosis and related fractures. Since its bioavailability is very low in humans and calcium absorption is limited, ways to improve the absorbed amount of calcium so that the additional calcium is used to strengthen the bone structure are important.

Vitamine D supports the absorption of calcium in the small intestine. Prebiotic chicory root fibre supports the absorption by preparing the large intestine so that also here absorption of calcium takes place and the overall absorption is extended.

Chicory root fibre helps to increase prebiotic fibre intake whilst, at the same time, serving as a dietary approach to increase calcium absorption via the large intestine for maintaining healthy bones.

The benefits of prebiotics in frailty.

The benefits of prebiotics in frailty

30% of consumers 50+ choose healthy foods and beverages to ensure their future good health

Frailty is a geriatric syndrome describing physical and functional decline that occurs as a consequence of certain diseases (e.g., cancer, chronic infection, osteoporosis etc.) but also with muscle disuse in the absence of disease. Also gut dysbiosis in the elderly may contribute to changes in muscle size, their composition and function.

Gut friendly foods, such as prebiotics, can be supportive in nourishing the microbiota and support the growth of beneficial bacteria as a person gets older. Research has shown that microbiota-support using gut-friendly foods or food supplements that include BENEO’s prebiotic chicory root fibre inulin can improve their frailty index.

Some key references:

Blood sugar and immunity

Jafar, Nagham; Edriss, Hawa; Nugent, Kenneth (2016): The Effect of Short-Term Hyperglycemia on the Innate Immune System. In: The American journal of the medical sciences 351 (2), S. 201–211. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjms.2015.11.011. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26897277/

Digestive health, bowel function, well-being

Gallegos-Orozco, Juan F.; Foxx-Orenstein, Amy E.; Sterler, Susan M.; Stoa, Jean M. (2012): Chronic constipation in the elderly. In: The American journal of gastroenterology 107 (1), 18-25; quiz 26. DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2011.349. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21989145/
Nagy et al. (2022) Effect of chicory-derived inulin-type fructans on abundance of Bifidobacterium and on bowel function: a systematic review with meta-analyses. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr:1–18. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10408398.2022.2098246?needAccess=true
Collado Yurrita et al. (2014) Effectiveness of inulin intake on indicators of chronic constipation; a meta-analysis of controlled randomized clinical trials. Nutr Hosp 30 (2)(1699-5198):244–252. http://www.aulamedica.es/nh/pdf/7565.pdf
Vandeputte et al. (2017) Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota. Gut 66(11):1968–1974. http://gut.bmj.com/content/gutjnl/66/11/1968.full.pdf

Calcium Absorption & bone mineral density increase

Abrams et al. (2005) A combination of prebiotic short- and long-chain inulin-type fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr 82(2):471–476. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-pdf/82/2/471/23960080/znu00805000471.pdf
Costa et al. (2020) Changes in nutrient absorption in children and adolescents caused by fructans, especially fructooligosaccharides and inulin. Archives de Pédiatrie 27(3):166–169. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32127241/

Blood sugar reduction

Lightowler et al. (2017) Replacement of glycaemic carbohydrates by inulin-type fructans from chicory (oligofructose, inulin) reduces the postprandial blood glucose and insulin response to foods: Report of two double-blind, randomized, controlled trials. Eur J Nutr 57(3):1259–1268. https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-017-1409-z
Kordowski et al. (2022) Palatinose™ (Isomaltulose) and prebiotic inulin-type fructans have beneficial effects on glycemic response and gut microbiota composition in healthy volunteers – a real-life, retrospective study of a cohort that participated in a digital nutrition program. Front Nutr 9. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.829933/full
Kellow et al. (2014) Metabolic benefits of dietary prebiotics in human subjects: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr 111(7):1147–1161. http://journals.cambridge.org/article_S0007114513003607
Sydney University’s Glycaemic Research Service (SUGiRS) (2002): See GI Database at www.glycemicindex.com
Ang M, Linn T (2014) Comparison of the effects of slowly and rapidly absorbed carbohydrates on postprandial glucose metabolism in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients: a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr 100(4):1059–1068. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/07/16/ajcn.113.076638.full.pdf+html
Henry CJ, Kaur B, Quek RYC, Camps SG (2017) A Low Glycaemic Index Diet Incorporating Isomaltulose Is Associated with Lower Glycaemic Response and Variability, and Promotes Fat Oxidation in Asians. Nutrients 9(5). http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/5/473/htm
Maresch CC, Petry SF, Theis S, Bosy-Westphal A, Linn T (2017) Low Glycemic Index Prototype Isomaltulose-Update of Clinical Trials. Nutrients 9(4). http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/4/381

Weight Management

McCann et al. (2011) Oligofructose-enriched inulin supplementation decreases energy intake in overweight and obese men and women. Obesity reviews 12(S1):63–279. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00889.x/pdf
Parnell and Reimer (2009) Weight loss during oligofructose supplementation is associated with decreased ghrelin and increased peptide YY in overweight and obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr 89(6):1751–1759. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827013/pdf/


Buigues, Cristina; Fernández-Garrido, Julio; Pruimboom, Leo; Hoogland, Aldert J.; Navarro-Martínez, Rut; Martínez-Martínez, Mary et al. (2016): Effect of a Prebiotic Formulation on Frailty Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial. In: International journal of molecular sciences 17 (6). DOI: 10.3390/ijms17060932. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27314331/

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