Our Research | Nutrition Centre

Helping meet nutrition, health, and wellness needs

Here you'll find information and publications related to Tate & Lyle-sponsored research as well as key external research, nutrition guidelines, and policy.

Our research interests include a variety of areas such as gut health, blood glucose management, metabolism, microbiome, weight management, bone health, and overall public health.

Close-up of a woman's hands holding a yoghurt pot while reading the label

New ex-vivo research on LNCS finds beneficial or no impact on the gut

We recently partnered with Cryptobiotix, pioneers in preclinical gastrointestinal research, on a breakthrough ex-vivo study to explore the potential impact of certain low and no calorie sweeteners on the gut in both healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes. 

Discover how we can help address health and nutrition needs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide obesity has more than tripled since 1975.1 Overweight and obesity contribute to diabetes, heart disease, and other non-communicable diseases. Research indicates that dietary fibres may be helpful in both weight loss and weight maintenance.2,3

Research demonstrates that polydextrose provides several physiological benefits that include satiety effects and reduced energy intakes, thus potentially aiding in weight management.4

Comprehensive systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomised control trials have shown low-calorie sweeteners can be beneficial in weight management by reducing overall daily sugar intake and lowering energy intake when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Research does not support claims that low/no-calorie sweeteners lead to overeating or weight gain.5

Good nutrition and physical activity are critical for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, as well as promoting health and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Evidence indicates that dietary fibres consumed at appropriate levels are associated with a lower blood glucose response after a meal, a desirable feature for healthy individuals as well as those with diabetes.6 Choosing foods and beverages containing low-calorie sweeteners in place of sugar can also help moderate calories and reduce simple, refined carbohydrate intake.

Soluble corn fibre is a source of dietary fibre, which has a low glycaemic response. Clinical studies have reported soluble corn fibre significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin responses in healthy adults.7,8 Polydextrose has also been shown in clinical trials to lower glycaemic response in persons with and without diabetes.9 An EFSA Panel noted that a cause-and-effect relationship has been established between the consumption of foods and beverages containing polydextrose and the reduction of blood glucose after a meal compared to sugar-containing foods and beverages.10

Several research studies have linked intake of low-calorie sweeteners to blood glucose control and better overall health. Research has shown that allulose does not raise postprandial blood glucose or insulin and may blunt the effect of carbohydrates on postprandial blood glucose.11

The understanding of how the gut affects overall human health is advancing significantly. For example, the gut microbiome is critical for the maintenance of gut barrier function, development of the immune system, and decreasing risk of infection from pathogens.12 Research has established that certain dietary fibres act as prebiotics, selectively stimulating the beneficial gut microbiota, which helps to promote health.13

Dietary fibres resist digestion in the stomach and small intestine and are fermented to varying degrees in the human colon; many promoting laxation and demonstrating prebiotic effects.14

Research has demonstrated PROMITOR® soluble corn fibre is well-tolerated at various intake levels that are over twice the tolerance levels for inulin and FOS.15 Research shows that this is likely to be due to lower gas production as well as slow fermentation through the length of the colon.16 Soluble corn fibre acts as a prebiotic because it is a substrate that is selectively utilised by human microorganisms in the large intestine conferring a health benefit.17,18

Polydextrose is minimally absorbed in the small intestine and its excellent digestive tolerance provides positive bowel function benefits. Clinical studies to date have demonstrated that polydextrose consumption increases faecal bulk/weight, faecal consistency, ease of defecation, and decreases transit time in healthy adults.19

Prebiotics are defined as “substances that are selectively utilised by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”.13 Prebiotics are often, but not always, dietary fibres. Also, not all dietary fibres are considered prebiotics. Prebiotics can be naturally occurring or isolated or synthesised.

Prebiotic research encompasses a wide range of health benefits including cardiometabolic health, mineral availability, the reduction of infection and immune modulation.14 There are no official recommendations for the daily intake of prebiotics. The recommendations for the intake of dietary fibre vary by region but are generally around 25-28g/day.20

Soluble corn fibre is considered a prebiotic in some regions due to demonstrated positive changes in the gut microbiome and evidence of an increase in calcium absorption and retention.17,18 The definition and regulatory guidance on prebiotics differ by region. Consult local guidance to best understand how prebiotic is defined and regulated in your region.

Exercise and good nutrition are essential for bone health. Adequate calcium consumption is important throughout the lifespan. During adolescence, the goal is to build strong bones and optimise bone mass, and as we age, we should strive to maintain bone mass and retain bone calcium to reduce osteoporosis risk. Unfortunately, dietary calcium intakes usually fall below the recommended levels, so increasing calcium absorption and retention are of critical significance. Research has shown that certain dietary fibres may impact the gut microbiome and gut pH,21 thereby enhancing calcium absorption thus potentially supporting bone health.18

Dose-dependent increases in calcium absorption and retention have been published in human studies in adolescent females, a mixed-gender adolescent population, and in post-menopausal women who consumed our soluble corn fibre PROMITOR ® with their habitual diet.18,22,23

Dietary fibres are not digested in the stomach or small intestine and pass intact to the large intestine (the colon). The gut microbiota ferment fibres in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and gases. Each type of fibre has its own unique branching, structural components, and degree of polymerisation (DP). It is these variations that cause the microbiota to ferment each fibre differently and contribute to alterations in gastrointestinal tolerance of the fibre ingredient.14

Potential gastrointestinal side effects of high levels of fibre intakes can include bloating, borborygmi (intestinal noises), cramping, flatus, and diarrhoea, particularly if the fibre intake is increased quickly. These effects are due primarily to the production of gases by fermentation as well as the water-binding effects of fibre in the large intestine. In general, smaller chain fibres are rapidly fermented and are thus more likely to cause flatulence, bloating and laxative effects or diarrhoea. Larger chain fibres that ferment more slowly are usually better tolerated.15

Tate & Lyle is committed to keeping abreast of the science of key areas of public health, supporting regional and global public health policies and guidelines.


The World Health Organization’s estimates for 2016 indicated that 1.9 billion adults were overweight, and of these 650 million were obese. It also indicated that more than 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 years were overweight or obese.1 Obesity puts substantial pressure on both individuals and healthcare systems. In the most recent Global Burden of Disease Study, a high BMI was the leading risk factor for morbidities, accounting for 4.4 million deaths and 134 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). Pre-obesity and obesity are top risk factors for approximately 35% of all cases of ischemic heart disease, 55% of hypertension, and approximately 80% of Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM). Increase of urbanisation and mechanisation occurring in most countries around the world has brought increased consumption of high fat, energy-dense foods and a sedentary lifestyle, which has driven the increase in the obesity rate. Additionally, studies have shown that shift work, sedentary work and long working hours are all associated with obesity-related behaviours and excess weight gain.24 Dietary fibre and no/low-calorie sweeteners are tools that can be used to decrease energy (calories) in the diet and therefore aid with weight management.


Diabetes is a complex disease that takes time and knowledge to manage and can lead to complications affecting quality of life. In addition to real human costs, diabetes is associated with an enormous economic burden.25 The incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing, and whilst the cause is not definitive, it could be due to global birth weights and life expectancy increasing.26

Individuals with prediabetes are at high risk for developing insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.27 Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include physical inactivity, increased age, and a family history of diabetes, heart disease or stroke. One of the strongest risk factors for type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese.28

Dietary fibres and low/no-calorie sweeteners can aid in weight maintenance by decreasing the amount of energy (calories) in the diet. Research has shown that fibres such as soluble corn fibre and polydextrose have favourable postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses.6,7,8 Low/no-calorie sweeteners do not raise postprandial blood glucose and in the case of allulose, may even blunt glycaemic response.11


By 2030 58% of the world’s population is projected to be over 65 years of age.29 Factors that contribute to healthy ageing are nutrition, physical activity, mental health, genetics, primary care, medications, and management of chronic conditions. Health concerns change as people age, with diabetes, bone health, and digestive health rising to the top of the list.31 Dietary fibre may address some of these concerns by providing laxation and “regularity”, acting as a prebiotic, contributing favourably to blood glucose response, and helping with mineral absorption such as calcium.14 

Cardiovascular health

The World Health Organization reported that cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the number one cause of death globally; resulting in 17.8 million deaths worldwide in 2017.31 risk factors for CVD include unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and unmanaged diabetes. Dietary changes to increase dietary fibre, reduce sodium and reduce body weight (reduce calorie intake) can help decrease risk.32

Reducing sodium levels in foods is a viable way to help meet public health goals aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease biomarkers.33 Research suggests that simply cutting out salt presents various challenges, including perceived inferior taste and low consumer compliance. Innovated solutions are needed.

  1. WHO. (2020, April 1). Obesity and overweight. Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight
  2. Thompson, S. V., Hannon, B. A., An, R., & Holscher, H. D. (2017). Effects of isolated soluble fiber supplementation on body weight, glycemia, and insulinemia in adults with overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr., 1514-1528
  3. Ramage, S., Farmer, A., Eccles, K. A., & McCargar, L. (2014). Healthy strategies for successful weight loss and weight maintenance: a systematic review. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 1-20.
  4. Ibarra, A. A. (2015). Effects of polydextrose on different levels of energy intake. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Appetite, 30-37.
  5. ISA. (n.d.). Benefits in Weight Management. Retrieved 12/22/2020 from International Sweeteners Association: Low/No Calorie Sweeteners & You: https://www.sweeteners.org/benefits-in-weight-management/
  6. Weickert, M. O. (2018). Impact of Dietary Fiber Consumption on Insulin Resistance and the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. J Nutr, 7-12.
  7. Kendall, C. W. (2008). Effect of Novel Maize-based Dietary Fibers on Postprandial Glycemia and Insulinemia. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27(6), 711-718.
  8. Tan, W. S. (2020). The Role of Soluble Corn Fiber on Glycemic and Insulin Response. . Nutrients, 12(4), 961.
  9. Carmo, M. D. (2016). Polydextrose: Physiological Function, and Effects on Health. Nutrients, 8(9), 553.
  10. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, N. a. (2011). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to the sugar replacers xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, lactitol, isomalt,erythritol, D-tagatose, isomaltulose, sucralose and polydextrose andmaintenance of tooth mineralisation by de. EFSA Journal, 9(4):2076.
  11. Tucker, R. M. (2017). Do non-nutritive sweeteners influence acute glucose homeostasis in humans? A systematic review. Physiol Behav, 182:17-26.
  12. Cani, P. D. (2018). Human gut microbiome: Hopes, threats and promises. Gut, 67(9), 1716-1725.
  13. Gibson, G. R. (2017). Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 14(8), 491-502.
  14. Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients, 5, 1417-1435.
  15. Housez, B. C. (2012). Evaluation of digestive tolerance of a soluble corn fibre. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 25(5), 488-496.
  16. Maathuis, A. H. (2009). The Effect of the Undigested Fraction of Maize Products on the Activity and Composition of the Microbiota Determined in a Dynamic VitroModel of the Human Proximal Large Intestine. . Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 28(6), 657-666.
  17. Costabile, A. D. (2016). Prebiotic Potential of a Maize-Based Soluble Fibre and Impact of Dose on the Human Gut Microbiota. Plos One, 11(1).
  18. Whisner, C. M.-C. (2016). Soluble Corn Fiber Increases Calcium Absorption Associated with Shifts in the Gut Microbiome: A Randomized Dose-Response Trial in Free-Living Pubertal Females. The Journal of Nutrition, 146(7), 1298-1306.
  19. Boler, B. M. (2011). Digestive physiological outcomes related to polydextrose and soluble maize fibre consumption by healthy adult men. British Journal of Nutrition, 106(12), 1864-1871.
  20. Reynolds, A. M. (2020). Carbohydrate quality and human health: A series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The Lancet .Tan, W. S. (2020). The Role of Soluble Corn Fiber on Glycemic and Insulin Response. . Nutrients, 12(4), 961.
  21. Balk, E., Adam, G., Langberg, V., Earley, A., Clark, P., Ebeling, P., . . . B, D.-H. (2017). Global dietary calcium intake among adults: a systematic review. Osteoporos Int. , 28(12): 3315–3324.
  22. Jakeman, S. A. (2016). Soluble corn fiber increases bone calcium retention in postmenopausal women in a dose-dependent manner: A randomized crossover trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 04(3), 837-843.
  23. Whisner, C. M. (2014). Soluble maize fibre affects short-term calcium absorption in adolescent boys and girls: A randomised controlled trial using dual stable isotopic tracers. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(3), 446-456.
  24. Dai, H., Alsalhe, T., N, C., M, R., NL, B., & Wu, J. (2020). The global burden of disease attributable to high body mass index in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: An analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study. PLoS Med, 17(7): e1003198.
  25. ADA. (2020, Feburary). The Cost of Diabetes. Retrieved from American Diabetes Association: https://www.diabetes.org/resources/statistics/cost-diabetes
  26. Mobasseri, M., Shirmohammadi, M., Amiri, T., Vahed, N., Fard, H. H., & Ghojazadeh, M. (2020). Prevalence and incidence of type 1 diabetes in the world: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Promotion Perspectives, 10(2), 98-115.
  27. CDC. (2020, June 11). Diabetes: Prediabetes- Your chance to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Retrieved from Centers for Disease control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html
  28. Wu, Y., Ding, Y., Tanaka, Y., & Zhang, W. (2014). Risk Factors Contributing to Type 2 Diabetes and Recent Advances in the Treatment and Prevention. Int J Med Sci, 11(11): 1185–1200.
  29. UN. (2019). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved from World Population Prospects 2019: https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/XlGEBUvEbRbwip?domain=esa.un.org.
  30. WHO. (2020). World Health Organization: Ageing and health. Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health
  31. AHA. (2020). 2020 Heart Disease & Stroke Statistical Update Fact Sheet Global Burdan of Disease. Retrieved from American Heart Association: www.heart.org
  32. WHO. (2017, May 17). Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)
  33. WHO. (2019, August 7). Reducing Sodium intake to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular diseases in adults. Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/elena/titles/sodium_cvd_adults/en/
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