A natural mutation in Pisum sativum L. (pea) alters starch assembly and improves glucose homeostasis in humans
Elevated postprandial glucose (PPG) is a significant risk factor for non-communicable diseases globally. Currently, there is a limited understanding of how starch structures within a carbohydrate-rich food matrix interact with the gut luminal environment to control PPG. Here, we use pea seeds (Pisum sativum) and pea flour, derived from two near-identical pea genotypes (BC1/19RR and BC1/19rr) differing primarily in the type of starch accumulated, to explore the contribution of starch structure, food matrix and intestinal environment to PPG. Using stable isotope 13C-labelled pea seeds, coupled with synchronous gastric, duodenal and plasma sampling in vivo, we demonstrate that maintenance of cell structure and changes in starch morphology are closely related to lower glucose availability in the small intestine, resulting in acutely lower PPG and promotion of changes in the gut bacterial composition associated with long-term metabolic health improvements.