Vol.4, No.9B, 81-84 (2013) Agricultural Sci ences
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
Development of a marketable rice based herbal
porridge suitable for diabetics from Scoparia dulcis
Subhashinie Senadheera, Sagarika Ekanayake*
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka;
*Corresponding Author: sagarikae@hotmail.com
Received July 2013
Consumption of herbal leafy porridges is a re-
puted dietary remedy among Sri Lankans in
treating diabetes. The aim of the study was to
develop a rice based herbal porridge [rice: fresh
leaves: scraped coconut kernel 13 - 15: 25 - 30:
10 - 13 (w/w/w)] commercially with Scoparia
dulcis leaves which has proven antidiabetic ef-
fects and low GI (fresh porridge) which benefits
diabetics. Two porridges with the same ingre-
dient ratio were produced with different particle
sizes. Porridge produced with 100% fine par-
ticles (extruded rice, leaves and scraped coco-
nut mixed with rice po wder) elicite d a high GI for
normal (92 ± 22) and diabetic (97 ± 20) subjects.
The second porridge prepared with the mini-
mum amount of extruded rice with other ingre-
dients mixed with boiled and dried intact rice
grains had a medium GI (normal 58 ± 11, diabet-
ics 61 ± 11). A significant reduction (p < 0.05) in
the peak blood glucose was observed in diabetic
subjects for porridge 2 (12.4%) compared to
porridge 1 (0.7%) when compared to glucose.
The reason could be the significantly high (p <
0.05) amount of larger particles (>0.5 mm) (63%)
and minimum amount of extruded fine particles
in porridge 2 compared to porridge 1 (1.3%).
Keywords: Herbal Leafy Porridges; Scoparia dulcis;
Glycaemic Index ; Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is one of the five leading causes of
deaths in the world. According to WHO in year 2011,
220 million people in the world were suffering from di-
abetes and this number will increase up to 366 million by
2030 [1]. Consumption of low glycaemic index (GI)
foods is a dietary modification that is recommended for
diabetic patients by many food and dietetics organiza-
tions. GI indicates the change in blood glucose after con-
sumption of starchy foods. Blood glucose spikes follow-
ing a meal leading to secretion of high insulin is a main
factor for the development of obesity which in turn leads
to diabetes and other non communicable diseases (NCD)
[2]. Low GI foods slow down the rise of postprandial
blood glucose level reducing the insulin secretion when
compared to high GI foods. Many epidemiological stu-
dies have proven the benefits of low GI foods in control-
ling obes i ty and othe r NCDs.
Herbal dietary remedies consumed from ancient times
are still widely used [3] to treat hyperglycemic condi-
tions all over the world. Porridge made with herbal ex-
tracts (Sinhala-ko la kenda) is a unique breakfast food in
Sri Lanka which is made using herbal extracts, coconut
milk and rice. These are more palatable and fulfilling
compared to a water extract of herbs, and are ingested as
a meal. Most of the leaves used for the preparation of
porridge have scientifically proven hypoglycaemic ef-
fects. A previous study with many such porridges proved
that most of these porridges [leaves: scraped coconut
kernel in 25:15:10 (w/w/w) ratio] have low glycaemic
index (GI) values for normal subjects [4]. However, the
low GI in porridges was mainly due to the high water
content and not due to the hypoglycaemic effects of the
leaves as all porridges elicited low GI despite of the
proven anti-diabetic effects of the leaves.
A 3-month study with Streptozotocine (STZ) induced
diabetic Wistar rats and selected low GI porridges eli-
cited a reduction in weight loss, a decrease in HbA1c and
decreased diabetic complications in rats fed with a por-
ridge made of Scoparia dulsic (SD) when compared to a
diabetic control and other porridge fed groups [5]. In addi-
tion, water extracts, infusions (tea) and tablets of Scopa-
ria dulsic are also used by many diabetic patients all over
the world. In today’s world ‘ready to make foods’ are
more popular among the urban population. Thus SD por-
ridge which had low GI and elicited better anti-diabetic
parameters was selected, to be developed as a commer-
S. P. A. S. Senadheera, S. Ekanayake / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 81-84
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
cial product targeting the diabetic patients. Although the
ingredient ratio of freshly prepared and commercially
produced porridges is similar, the procedure followed in
commercial production included extrusion that may change
the texture of the ingredients which may affect the GI.
Therefore the objective of this study was to estimate the
glycaemic indices of two Scoparia dulsic porridge sam-
ples with the same ingredient ratio as in the fresh, low GI
porridge but produced commercially, incorporating dif-
ferent rice particle sizes, in normal and in diabetic indi-
Preparation of the extruded meal: Tender leaves of
SD (15 kg), scraped coconut kernel (10 kg) and red rice
[272 6B, Rice Resear ch Institute, Bombuwala, Sri Lanka]
(15kg) were mixed and extruded at 110˚C - 120˚C using
JR 600 Extruder (Instra Por). Extruded meal was dehy-
drated using a hot air dryer (60˚C - 75˚C, 4 - 5 hrs).
Dried meal was ground using a Hammer mill (Particle
size 100% pass through 0.5 mm mesh).
Preparation of porridge 1: Extruded meal prepared
as above and rice powder (boiled and dried rice grain
powder, 100% pass through 0.5 mm mesh) was mixed in
1:1 ratio.
Preparation of porridge 2: Extruded meal prepared
as above and boiled and dried intact rice grains were
mixed in 1:1 ratio.
Digestible carbohydrate content: Digestible carbo-
hydrate content of porridges 1 and 2 were estimated by
modified Holm’s method [6]. Porridge 1 and 2 were
packed separately (40 g) in air tight packets which con-
tained fresh leaves: rice: scraped coconut kernel in 13 -
15: 25 - 30: 10 - 13 (w/w/w) ratio.
Estimation of GI and GL: The GI study was de-
signed as a random crossover study. Glycaemic index of
porridges 1 and 2 were estimated with 10 healthy indi-
viduals (BMI = 18 - 2 5, fa s t ing blood gluc ose level ≤ 110
mg/dl, peak blood glucose level after consuming 25 g of
glucose ≤ 180 mg/dl, not under any medication) and with
10 diabetic patients (FBS > 126 - 300 mg/dl, with no
severe complications) [7].
Volunteers were advised to fast for 8 10 hours and
fasting blood glucose measured. Glucose was used as the
standard reference food. Volunteers were given 25 g of
glucose in 250 ml of water and blood glucose was meas-
ured at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 minutes after ingestion of
glucose. Additional blood samples at 150 and 180 mi-
nutes were obtained from diabetic patients.
Incremental area under the curve (IAUC) was calcu-
lated using a graph constructed with blood glucose con-
centration vs. time. The above procedure was repeated
twice for every volunteer and the mean IAUC calculated.
Porridges containing 25 g of digestible carbohydrate (1
packet of each porridge) was given to the volunteers on
separate days, after reconstituting the contents in the
packet with 500 ml of water and boiling for 5 minutes in
a closed pan. IAUC was calculated. The percentage ratio
of IAUC for porridge and average IAUC for glucose
were taken as GI for each individual. The GI values of
each volunteer were averaged to obtain the final GI val-
Glycaemic Load (GL) was estimated by multiplying
the Glycaemic Index by the number of net carbohydrates
in a given serving (25 g) [8].
Particle size distribution of the porridges: Each por-
ridge (1 and 2) was sieved through 0.5 mm, 0.1 mm and
0.05 mm sieve set separately and the percentage portion
on each sieve and the percentage portion sieved through
the final sieve (0.05 mm) were measured.
Ethical approval: Ethical approval was obtained from
the Ethics Review Committee of Faculty of Medical
Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura (Approval
No.476/09). Written consent was obtained after explain-
ing the procedure to each volunteer.
Statistical Analysis: Data were analyzed using stu-
dent t test (Microsoft Excel 2007 version).
Both porridges had comparable digestible carbohydrate
contents (68%) which were similar to the freeze dried
fresh porridge. GI values of porridges 1 and 2 for normal
and diabetics are stated in Table 1. Porridge 1 elicited
high GI in both normal and diabetic individuals. Howev-
er, porridge 2 elicited medium GI for both normal and
diabetic individuals. Porridge 1 had a high GL while por-
ridge 2 had a medium GL for bot h no rmal and dia be tics.
The glycaemic responses of porridge 1 and porridge 2
in normal and diabetic subjects are given in Figures 1
and 2 respectively. A significant reduction (p < 0.05) in
the peak blood glucose was observed in diabetic subjects
for porridge 2 (12.4%) compared to porridge 1 (0.7%)
when compared to glucose.
The particle size distribution of porridges 1 and 2 are
stated in Table 2. Porridge 2 had a significantly high (p <
0.05) amount of larger particles (>0.5 mm) (63%) com-
pared to porridge 1 (1.3%). The amount of particles smaller
than 0.05 mm in porridge 1 was twice the amount in po r-
ridge 2.
Table 1. GI values of porridges for normal and diabetic indi-
Porridge 1 Porridge 2
92 ± 22
97 ± 20
58 ± 11
61 ± 11
23 ± 6
24 ± 5
14 ± 3
15 ± 3
N = 10.
S. P. A. S. Senadheera, S. Ekanayake / Agr icultural Sciences 4 (2013) 81-84
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
Figure 1. Glycaemic responses of normal and diabetic individ-
uals for porridge 1 (each value represents an average of 10).
Figure 2. Glycaemic responses of normal and
diabetic individuals for porridge 2 (each value
represents an average of 10).
Table 2. Particle size distribution of porridges (n = 3).
Porridge 1 Porridge 2
0.5 mm 1.3% 63%
0.5 - 0.1 mm 14% 0%
0.1 - 0.05 mm 63.3% 24.6%
0.05 mm 20.1% 10.2%
Although the ingredients used for the previous study
in estimating the GI [4] and for the present study were
comparable, in the commercial production process por-
ridge ingredients were extruded. The GI of the commer-
cial porridge 1 with 100% fine particles (extruded par-
ticles + rice powder) elicited a remarkably high GI than
the fresh porridge (39 ± 25) used for the previous study.
Since the only difference was extrusion which required
rice powder and as data reports the effect of particle size
of starch based foods on GI [9], minimum amount of rice
powder was incorporated in to porridge 2 to retain the
palatability and texture, during extrusion procedure. To
obtain a similar amount of digestible carbohydrate as in
porridge 1, boiled and dried rice grains were incorpo-
rated in to porridge 2. This elicited a medium GI for both
normal and diabetic individuals. This lowering of GI and
the reduction in peak blood glucose percentage compared
to glucose were more apparent in diabetics than normal
individuals indicating the suitability of the porridge 2 on
diabetics. This also showed that extrusion procedure gives
rise to high glycaemic response.
Since the only difference between the two porridges
was the rice particle size, the particle size distribution
was analyzed. The medium GI value obtained for por-
ridge 2 with higher particle size d is tr ibution, compared to
high GI of porridge 1 revealed that particle size of a food
is a key factor in controlling the glycaemic response thus
the GI. Av ailabil ity of high surface area for enzyme access
might increase the digestibility of foods with fine par-
ticles thus increasing the GI. In addition, the high tem-
peratures and pressure the rice grains subjected to during
processing may cause gelatinization and cell/starch gra-
nule rupture releasing the constituents making these more
accessible to enzymatic digestion. These could have con-
tributed for not obtaining the low GI value elicited with
freshly made porridge with 100% intact rice grains. How-
ever, since during commercial pr oduc tion additio n of rice
powder could not be avoided during the extrusion pro-
cedure the adjustment made by using minimum rice
powder and rice grains have paved the way to reduce the
GI to a medium.
Porridge of Scoparia dulcis made incorporating rice
grains as in porridge 2 elicits medium GI and medium
GL values in normal as well as in diabetics. Therefore
porridge produced as porridge 2 is a suitable breakfast
food for diabetics which elicits high satiety and hypog-
lycaemic effects when consumed frequently. This study
also proves that porridge with intact rice grains is better
for diabetics than powdered p orridge.
The financial support by ASP/06/PR/2010/12 and PhD/08/2012
grants of University of Sri Jayewardenepura and support provided by
Plenty Foods (Pvt) Ltd., Sri Lanka in prod ucing porridge commerciall y
are gratefully acknowledged.
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S. P. A. S. Senadheera, S. Ekanayake / Agr icultural Sciences 4 (2013) 81-84
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
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