Proso Millet as an Ingredient in Foods Common to North Americans
Millet is a small grain that is drought resistant, gluten free and has been found to elicit a lower glycemic response than other grains. However, millet is considerably under-utilized in the Western world. The purpose of this study was: (i) to investigate proso millet based products that are common to North American consumers (biscuits, extruded snacks, couscous and porridge), and (ii) to examine the effect of decortication on the health benefits of these products, glycemic index and sensory properties. A human glycemic index study was conducted to ascertain that a variety of millet based products were in fact low GI foods, as other studies have suggested. Once products were manufactured, refined proso millet resulted in higher protein, lipid, dietary fibre and polyphenol content in comparison to refined corn products. The expected glycemic index of the proso millet based products (50.2- 64.7) was much lower than those of the corn based products (78.5-86.3) (p<0.05). The refined proso millet couscous and porridge were found to have a low eGI. In the human glycemic study, incorporation of proso millet into food items did not result in a significantly different GI as compared to food items produced from refined corn (p=0.05). However, the importance of the interaction between product matrix, and how it can affect the GI was illustrated. Although the nutritional profiles were enhanced, the sensory characteristics of the millet products were not well liked by the consumers. As the amount of refined proso millet was increased, the liking scores decreased. There were many negative attributes (gritty, bitter, bitter aftertaste) associated with the refined proso millet products. However, the use of flavouring agents and other additions should lead to millet products that have acceptable sensory characteristics. Overall, decorticated proso millet needs to be investigated further to examine how it can be optimally used in the North American diet.