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Singapore research centre seeks to make bread that cuts blood-sugar

By RJ Whitehead , 29-Jan-2014

The Singapore government’s scientific agency has joined forces with a university in a US$20m joint-venture to develop a variety of bread that will reduce blood sugar, among other research projects.

The Clinical Nutritional Research Centre, the result of a partnership between A*STAR and National University Health Systems, will conduct nutritional studies to understand the causes of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and also find ways to reduce appetites and control body weight.

Research programme

One research item on the new centre’s agenda will be finding the formula for a bread that could help cut blood sugar levels, said Jeyakumar Henry, the CNRC’s director, at its opening.

This novel research programme aims to understand how the structure of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in food can influence metabolic outcomes, such as glycemia, lipidemia and amino acid excursions, when composite foods are ingested.

The first such centre in Asia, its establishment is the next step towards Singapore’s goal to become a major for food and nutrition research. Last week, FoodNavigator-Asia reported on A*STAR’s substantial research alliance with Nestlé, the world’s biggest food company, which was another pillar towards the city-state’s food ambition. Other industry partners include Beneo Asia-Pacific, Danone, DSM and Mead Johnson

"This new research collaboration will bring together capabilities and expertise from both sides in a complementary way to design better products for the consumers,” said Lim Chuan Poh, chairman of A*STAR.

Wider collaborations

CNRC will also collaborate with a number of other institutions beyond NUHS, including the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and Monell Chemical Senses Centre, the world's only independent, non-profit scientific institute dedicated to sensory science. 

Associate Professor Chong Yap Seng, founding director of the Singapore Centre for Nutritional Sciences, Metabolic Diseases, and Human Development (SiNMeD), which has an existing partnership with A*STAR and HUHS, said the CNRC will enhance understanding of how food can be used to benefit health

"One of the approaches we are taking is to see how we can modify factors like pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and early life nutrition and lifestyle to promote health and prevent disease, especially non-communicable diseases like obesity and diabetes. The CNRC will bring new precision to our understanding of how food can be used for good,” said Chong.

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