The big issue is food structure – The more foods are ultra-processed, the less satiating and hypoglycemic they tend to be


Anthony Fardet
INRA, UMR 1019, UNH, CRNH Auvergne, F-63000 CLERMONT-FERRAND & Clermont Université, Université d’Auvergne, Unité de Nutrition Humaine, BP 10448, F-63000 CLERMONT-FERRAND, France


Scientific literature shows that food structure is a key parameter of food health potential. Ultra-processing destroys food structure through refining and fractionation, leading to hyperglycaemic and poorly satiating foods.

One can be surprised that food structure has not been really taken into consideration in defining food health potential (1). Indeed food health potential is traditionally defined through food nutrient composition as exemplified by nutritional indices and the color labeling proposed in some countries to help people choosing healthy foods. As well analyzed by Scrinis, this led agro-food industry to market reformulated foods and to convince us that they are healthier, but always on an ultra-processed basis (2). This reductionist vision of the health potential of foods does not really allow deeply reconsidering processing and its tough impact on food structure, this latter participating in a more holistic picture of food health potential (1).


Food structure is essential because it defines nutrient bioavailability, transit time but also a less studied parameter satiety (3). Indeed, some studies clearly showed that the more food is fractionated and unstructured, the less satiating it is and the bigger its glycaemic impact, as shown for example, with raw and processed (cooked, blended or refined) apples and carrots (4-6). The same is true for cereal-based foods. ...