Thursday, June 13, 2024

UNAM researchers develop tortilla to counter obesity

Is it possible to fight obesity by eating more tortillas? Students and faculty at the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) think so, as long as the tortillas are the healthy ones they have developed.

Their tortillas are made from dough loaded with proteins, calcium, fiber, folic acid, probiotics and prebiotics and, their inventors say, will not only help people who are overweight but those suffering from malnutrition as well.

They claim that eating a single one of their tortillas offers the same benefits as drinking a glass of milk.

The students and academics made use of several fermenting processes that rendered lactic bacteria and several organic acids that give the tortilla another desirable characteristic: a long shelf life.

It will last for up to two months at room temperature, sealed in its original packaging, or more than three months under refrigeration, making it an ideal product to distribute in remote communities where refrigeration is not common.

The double-fermenting process of the raw tortilla dough also renders it soft and elastic. The students found that once it is cooked in the shape of a tortilla and stored for a few months, it can recover its original consistency and texture if a few drops of water are sprinkled on it before reheating.

This tortilla is also a bit sweeter in taste than its conventional counterpart, making it a tasty complement for both sweet and savory meals.

UNAM researcher Raquel Gómez Pliego is at the helm of the fortified tortilla project. She asserted that the high content of probiotics and prebiotics can aid with the discomfort caused by conditions such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or cancer.

The process of preparing the new fortified tortilla is currently being patented by the Mexican government.

No date has been set for the product to reach store shelves, but sooner might be better. According to the National Institute of Public Health, 70% of Mexicans are overweight and the primary cause of death is diabetes.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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