How does molasses in beet pulp affect glycemic response?
There are two forms of beet pulp on the market: with added molasses and with no added molasses. Beet pulp is the residual fibrous material left after the sugar has been extracted from the sugar beet. The pulp is dehydrated and sometimes molasses is added to improve palatability and reduce dust. When beet pulp has added molasses, it can have a glycemic response similar to oats.
When sugar and starch are eaten by the horse, there is a measurable increase in blood glucose that normally peaks about two hours after the meal and then gradually drops. This is called a glycemic response.
In a study at Kentucky Equine Research (KER), scientists documented that beet pulp had a similar glycemic response to oats. With this in mind, researchers performed a follow-up study to see if it was possible to rinse out the molasses and any residual sugar in beet pulp to lower the glycemic response. They tested the effectiveness of rinsing by doing a glycemic response test.
To remove the sugars, researchers rinsed the beet pulp four times, getting rid of the wash water each time. The beet pulp was then soaked and fed to the horses, and blood was drawn to measure glycemic response over the next six hours.
By rinsing the beet pulp, researchers were able to get rid of most of the residual sugar, which was evidenced by a dramatic change in glycemic response. In fact, there was hardly any glycemic response at all.