The rising prevalence of obesity and the vulnerability of the pediatric age group have highlighted the critical need for a careful consideration of effective, safe, remedial and preventive dietary interventions. Amylose starch (RS2) from high-amylose maize (HAM) ferments in the gut and affects body weight. One hundred and ten children, of 7-8 (n=91) or 13-14 (n=19) years of age scored the sensory qualities of a yogurt supplemented with either HAM-RS2 or an amylopectin starch. The amylopectin starch yogurt was preferred to the HAM-RS2-enriched yogurt by 7-8 year old panelists (P<0.0001). Appearance, taste, and sandiness scores given by 13- to 14-year-old panelists were more favorable for the amylopectin starch yogurt than for HAM-RS2-enriched yogurt (P<0.05). HAM-RS2 supplementation resulted in acceptable (≥6 on a 1-9 scale) sensory and hedonic ratings of the yogurt in 74% of subjects. Four children consumed a HAM-RS2-enriched yogurt for four weeks to test its fermentability in a clinical trial. Three adolescents, but not the single pre-pubertal child, had reduced stool pH (P=0.1) and increased stool short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) (P<0.05) including increased fecal acetate (P=0.02), and butyrate (P=0.089) from resistant starch (RS) fermentation and isobutyrate (P=0.01) from protein fermentation post-treatment suggesting a favorable change to the gut microbiota. HAM-RS2 was not modified by pasteurization of the yogurt, and may be a palatable way to increase fiber intake and stimulate colonic fermentation in adolescents. Future studies are planned to determine the concentration of HAM-RS2 that offers the optimal safe and effective strategy to prevent excessive fat gain in children.
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