By BETHAN SMOLENIEC
Change is instore for the cereal industry with new research into different ways of processing chickpeas into breakfast flakes being carried out, in an attempt to help Australians consume more fibre and vegetable based sources of protein.
Imagine starting your morning by pouring fresh milk onto a large bowl of crunchy chickpea flakes. A bizarre thought for many and yet in the near future it may just be the breakfast cereal of choice for many Australians curtesy of Charles Sturt University PhD Student, Stephen Cork’s research.
Australian dietary recommendations currently suggest that people should be eating 5 servings of legumes and vegetables per day. A recommendation that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian’s simply are not meeting with many adults only averaging 3 servings per day.
It is these statistics that have motivated Stephen Cork’s research into turning chickpeas into breakfast flakes through processing the pulse in different ways.
“It’s a good time now for pulses to be more broadly accepted, especially in Australian diets as a lot of people struggle to have enough vegetables in the day and they’re a great food source of protein, fibre and minerals and nutrients as well too”, Mr Cork said.
Mr Cork’s research has been warmly welcomed by dietitians across Australia who commonly see many of their clients not consuming enough vegetables and pulses, or simply starting their day with the wrong types of cereals.
Dietitian and nutrition consultant, Holly Edstein, is particularly supportive of a future where consumers can buy chickpea flakes. Currently, like many who value eating well, she is deeply unimpressed with the breakfast cereal market which is inundated with products that are high in sugar and have little to no protein and fibre.
“Starting your day right with a quality breakfast is incredibly valuable, so by having a low GI, high protein, high fibre cereal that were chickpea flakes it would provide a sensational option that helps us sustain energy levels through the rest of the morning and the rest of the day, so I’d definitely support that”, she said.
Chickpeas have also been linked to lowering the risk of developing a chronic disease, colorectal cancer and are also known for lowering blood glucose levels which helps prevent diabetes.
Nutrition Research Australia’s secondary analysis of the 2011-2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey also revealed that if adults consumed 100 grams and children 75 grams of pulses per day, they were less likely to develop obesity, had smaller waist circumferences and had higher levels of protein, magnesium, zinc, folate and fibre.
Mr Cork is hopeful that his chickpea flakes will provide consumers with a healthier breakfast option in the future.
“A lot of Australian’s struggle to actually eat enough vegetables a day so it’s probably a good way to give people an opportunity to try something different”, he said.
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