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Can lupins change the world?

News story

It’s not often the words ‘junk food’ and ‘healthy’ share space in the same sentence, however that is likely to change in the near future due to Curtin School of Public Health’s Vijay Jayasena’s research into lupins.

Associate Professor Jayasena plans on restricting our ever-increasing waistlines by creating an array of tasty yet healthy snacks, including junk food favourite’s potato chips and cookies, using ground up lupins as flour instead of the more traditional wheat flour.

The main thing is no other grain in the world has that type of high protein and high fibre together.’

‘And it has low GI. But on top of that it is low in fat, and studies have shown that it helps with reducing weight, lowering cholesterol, and has anti-diabetic benefits as well.’

Associate Professor Jayasena began examining lupin as a food source four years ago, due to Australia dominating the global market by producing 80% of the world’s lupin crops.

‘So that is the main reason I started. But on top of that, it is an undervalued crop. It’s very high in protein, very high in fibre and everything else they are looking for in a good food ingredient, yet we still hardly use as food.’

Unlike many healthy junk food alternatives, testing has shown many people find the lupin based snacks to be just as tasty as their fatty counterparts. Western Australians will have the chance to try the foods for themselves in the near future, with lupin chips, biscuits and pastas all set to become available within the next few months.

Associate Professor Jayasena said he foresees a bright future for the lupin-based foods when they are released into the rest of Australia, South-East Asia and beyond.

‘I believe this will be a unique grain because we can address a lot of issues using this humble grain that is undervalued, he said.

‘Like at the moment one of the main problems we have is we all love to eat junk food, but at the same time in Australia we have a lot of health problems: obesity among kids and various other health problems.

‘One of the main problems is unhealthy food, we don’t eat enough dietary fibre, don’t take in enough dietary fibre. So what we are trying to do is make various food products that looks and tastes likes the normal food but it is a healthier version. So if we start using this in our kids’ meals and various other places instead of the normal junk food, we can change the whole world.’

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