Nixtamalization Process Affects Resistant Starch
Formation and Glycemic Index of Tamales
ıa Mariscal-Moreno, Juan de Dios Figueroa C´
ardenas, David Santiago-Ramos, Patricia Rayas-Duarte,
e Juan Veles-Medina, and H´
ector Eduardo Mart´
Abstract: Tamales were prepared with 3 nixtamalization processes (traditional, ecological, and classic) and evaluated for
chemical composition, starch properties, and glycemic index. Resistant starch (RS) in tamales increased 1.6 to 3.7 times
compared to raw maize. This increment was due to the starch retrogradation (RS3) and amylose–lipid complexes (RS5)
formation. Tamales elaborated with classic and ecological nixtamalization processes exhibited the highest total, soluble
and insoluble dietary ﬁber content, and the highest RS content and lower in vivo glycemic index compared to tamales
elaborated with traditional nixtamalization process. Thermal properties of tamales showed 3 endotherms: amylopectin
retrogradation (42.7 to 66.6 °C), melting of amylose lipid complex type I (78.8 to 105.4), and melting of amylose–lipid
complex type II (110.7 to 129.7). Raw maize exhibited X-ray diffraction pattern type A, after nixtamalization and
cooking of tamales it changed to V-type polymorph structure, due to amylose–lipid complexes formation. Tamales from
ecological nixtamalization processes could represent potential health beneﬁts associated with the reduction on blood
glucose response after consumption.
Keywords: amylose–lipid complex, nixtamalization process, resistant starch, tamales
Practical Application: Population demands functional products that diminish health problems as obesity. Resistant starch
(RS) is considered dietary ﬁber, it has exhibited improvements on glycemic index (GI) and other health improve-
ments. This study outlines physicochemical properties and resistant starch formation on tamales elaborated by different
The production of tamales has been traced back to the Ancient
Mayan civilization and they were consumed during feasts as early
as the Preclassic period (1200 to 250 BC; Figueroa and others
2016). Till date, tamales remain an important culinary tradition
in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Southwest of
United States (Hoyer 2008). Tamales are steamed and made of
nixtamalized masa that may contain a variety of ﬁllings. They are
considered a carbohydrate dense food item and few studies have
assessed their carbohydrate digestibility.
Tamales are currently produced by traditional nixtamalization
(TN) by cooking maize kernels in water with calcium hydrox-
ide (lime). However, this process decreases nutrients such as fat,
protein, dietary ﬁber, and various nutraceutical compounds
es and others 2010). An ecological nixtamalization
(EN) process patented by Figueroa and others (2011) replaced
lime used in the TN by calcium carbonate and demonstrated
that the drawback of nutrient deterioration can be reduced
erez and others 2015; Mariscal Moreno and others 2015;
JFDS-2016-1900 Submitted 11/16/2016, Accepted 3/5/2017. Authors Mariscal-
Moreno, Figueroa, and Veles-Medina are with CINVESTAV-Unidad Quer´
bramiento Norponiente No. 2000, Fracc. Real de Juriquilla, Quer´
etaro, Qro. 76230,
exico. Author Santiago-Ramos is with PROPAC, Univ. Aut´
onoma de Quer´
Cerro de las Campanas S/N, Col. Las Campanas, Quer´
etaro, C. P.
exico. Author Rayas-Duarte is withRobert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural
Products Center, Oklahoma State Univ., 123 FAPC, Stillwater, OK 74078–6055,
U.S.A. Author Mart´
ınez-Flores is with Univ. Michoacana de San Nicol´
as de Hi-
dalgo, Facultad de Qu´
ıa, Tzintzuntzan 173. Col. Matamoros,
Morelia, Mich. C.P. 58240, M´
exico. Direct inquiries to author C´
Santiago-Ramos and others 2015). In addition, Mariscal-Moreno
and others (2015) reported improvements in the nutrition proﬁle
of tortillas made with EN and classic nixtamalization (CN). In the
latter process lime was replaced by wood ashes.
There is an increased interest on resistant starch (RS) found
in foods due to its attributed beneﬁcial effects on human health
such as reduction of glycemic index (GI), insulinemic responses to
food, hypocholesterolemic effect, and protection against colorec-
tal cancer (Asp and others 1996). RS was 1st coined by Englyst
and others (1982) to describe a small fraction of starch that was
resistant to hydrolysis by α-amylase and pullulanase as well as other
amylolytic enzymes. Five types of RS have been identiﬁed so far,
namely RS1 physically inaccessible starch, RS2 granular starch
with the B- or C-polymorphism, RS3 retrograded starch, RS4
chemically modiﬁed starch, and RS5 amylose–lipid complex (Birt
and others 2013).
GI, area under the glycemic response curve of a tested food com-
pared to a reference glucose or white bread of the same amount
(50 g) of available carbohydrate, is a concept proposed by Jenkins
and others (1981) to represent the physiological effect of dietary
carbohydrates in foods (Zhang and Hamaker 2009). The resulting
GI classiﬁcation of foods provide a numeric physiologic classi-
ﬁcation of relevant carbohydrate foods for the prevention and
treatment of diseases such as diabetes (Jenkins and others 1981;
Jenkins and others 2002).
Diets with low glycemic foods have associated health beneﬁts
by reducing the risk of developing diabetes (Salmer´
on and oth-
ers 1997), cardiovascular diseases (Liu and others 2000), obesity,
and metabolic syndrome, as well as a reduction in serum lipids,
and colon and breast cancer. Despite inconsistencies in some re-
ports, sufﬁcient, positive ﬁndings have emerged to suggest that the
C2017 Institute of Food Technologists R
doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13703 Vol. 00, Nr. 00, 2017 rJournal of Food Science 1
Further reproduction without permission is prohibited
Resistant starch formation on tamales . . .
dietary glycemic index is of potential importance in the treatment,
and prevention of chronic diseases (Jenkins and others 2002).
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of 3 nixta-
malization processes (traditional, ecological, and classic) on the
resistant starch formation, chemical composition, and glycemic
index proﬁle of tamales.
Materials and Methods
Maize (Zea mays var. Huimilpan) kernels, shortening (Alimentos
Capullo, Santa F´
e, Mexico City, Mexico), and baking powder
(Rexal, Productos Mexicanos, Monterrey, NL, Mexico) were pro-
cured from local markets in Queretaro, Mexico. Maize kernels
were stored at 4 °C until needed for processing. Lime (Ca[OH]2)
and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) were food grade, 97% to 99%
purity. Wood ash of oak trees (Quercus agrifolia) was collected from
local communities in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
Ether was from JT Baker Chemical (99.98% purity).
Traditional nixtamalization process
The TN method used was reported by Campechano and others
(2012). Brieﬂy, maize kernels were mixed with water (1:2 w/v
ratio) and 1% calcium hydroxide (lime), heated at 94 °C for 30 min,
and steeped for 16 h at room temperature. The cooked kernels
(nixtamal) were ground in a stone mill to obtain fresh masa. The
masa was ﬂash dried (CINVESTAV, Queretaro, Mexico) at 260 °C
for 4 s to obtain dehydrated ﬂour and ground with a hammer mill
(Pulvex-200, Mexico City, Mex.) equipped with a 0.8 mm mesh
screen (Figueroa and others 2016).
Ecological nixtamalization process
The EN patented by Figueroa and others (2011) was used in
which the 1% calcium hydroxide (lime) was replaced by calcium
carbonate in the cooking process to obtain whole grain ﬂour.
Brieﬂy, maize was mixed with water (1:2 w/v ratio) and 1% cal-
cium carbonate and heated at 94 °C for 30 min followed by a
steeping process for 16 h at room temperature. Grinding and dry-
ing processes were used as described by Campechano and others
(2012) and in section “Traditional nixtamalization process.”
Classic nixtamalization process
The method described by Mariscal-Moreno and others (2015)
was used. Brieﬂy, CN differed in 2 aspects compared to the other
2 processes, (1) the alkali ingredient used was 1% wood ash and (2)
the cooking time was 40 min. The rest of steps and conditions were
the same as for the TN and EN described in section “Traditional
nixtamalization process” and “Ecological nixtamalization process.”
Blank sample without salt (not nixtamalized)
A blank sample was prepared without salt treatment. Brieﬂy,
maize kernels and water (1:2 ratio w/v) were mixed and the mix-
ture was heated at 94 °C for 40 min, followed by a steeping process
of 16 h at room temperature. The grinding and drying steps were
performed as described in section “Traditional nixtamalization
Processing of tamales
The basic formula for the tamales consisted in 100 g dry ﬂour,
97 g of water, and 37 g of vegetable shortening. The dry ﬂour, wa-
ter, and shortening were mixed by hand until a homogeneous ﬂuffy
dough is obtained and a piece of the dough ﬂoats when dropped
onto a beaker with tap water. Baking powder (0.8 g/100 g of dry
nixtamalized ﬂour) and salt (1 g/100 g of dry nixtamalized ﬂour)
were added to the masa and mixed by hand for 1 min. About 80 g
of masa were placed onto washed corn husks used as wraps and
made in a tubular shape. The wrapped masa tamales were loosely
stacked up vertically in a steamer and cooked for 1.5 h until the
dough slips from the corn husk when opened. The cooked tamales
were about 12.3 cm long, 3.8 cm wide, and 2.5 cm thick. Three
batches of tamales were prepared in different days. A portion of the
cooked tamales was cooled at room temperature, ground, dried
at room temperature to constant weight, and stored at 4 °C until
needed for analysis. Another portion was used the same day of
preparation to measure glycemic index in vivo.
Tamales samples for thermal analysis were defatted using the
method of Bhatnagar and Hannna (1994) to remove free fat.
Brieﬂy, samples were dried at room temperature (72 h) until a
moisture range of 12.5% to 12.9% and mixed with ether at a 1:3
ratio (w/v), placed on a shaker for 15 min, and allowed to settle
for 15 min before ﬁltering to remove the solvent plus free fat.
Thermal analyses were conducted in raw maize and tamales
with a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC; model 821, Mettler
Toledo, Greifensee, Switzerland) previously calibrated with in-
dium. Five milligrams of defatted tamale samples were weighed
into an aluminum pan and deionized water was added to reach
60% moisture content. The pan was sealed tightly and allowed to
stand for 1 h before carrying out the analysis. An empty aluminum
pan was used as a reference. The sample was subjected to a heat-
ing program over a range of temperature from 30 to 130 °Cata
heating rate of 10 °C/min.
Four endotherms were characterized: (I) gelatinization en-
dotherm by onset [T0(I)], peak [Tp(I) ], and ﬁnal [Tf(I) ] gelatiniza-
tion temperatures as well as gelatinization enthalpy [H(I)]; (II)
endotherm related to starch retrogradation by temperatures and
enthalpy of melting of recrystallized amylopectin [T0(RS3),Tp(RS3),
Tf(RS3),HR(RS3) ], (III) melting of the amylose–lipid complex
Form I [T0(RS5-I),Tp(RS5-I) ,Tf(RS5I) ,H(RS5-I)], and (IV) melt-
ing of the amylose–lipid complex Form II [T0(RS5-II),Tp(RS5-II) ,
Tf(RS5-II),H(RS5-II) ] (Santiago-Ramos and others 2017). Each
sample was analyzed in triplicate.
Chemical composition of tamales
AACC International Approved Methods of Analysis were used
for determining ash (08-03.01), fat (30-25.01), protein (46-13.01),
total dietary ﬁber, soluble dietary ﬁber, and nonsoluble dietary
ﬁber (32-07.01). Total starch and resistant starch were analyzed
by Megazyme assay kits K-TSHK and K-RSTAR (Megazyme
International Ireland, Wicklow A98 YV29) based on AACC In-
ternational Approved Methods 76-13.01 and 32-40.01.
Dry ﬂour and defatted samples (7% of moisture content and
defatted as described in section “Processing of tamales”) were
placed on a glass surface and scanned from 5 to 50°on the 2θ
scale with an X-ray diffractometer (DMAX-2100, Rigaku, Tokyo,
Japan), operated at 30 kV and 16 mA with a CuKa radiation of
λ=1.5405 (Figueroa and others 2013).
Tamales GI were determined in vivo according to Santiago-
Ramos and others (2015). Brieﬂy, 4 different tamales samples were
2Journal of Food Science rVol. 00, Nr. 00, 2017
Resistant starch formation on tamales . . .
Table 1–Chemical composition and glycemic index of maize ﬂour and tamales from different nixtamalization processes.a
Process Protein (%) Fat (%) Ash (%) IDFc(%) SDFc(%) TDFc(%)
To t a l
Raw maize ﬂourb8.7 ±0.23 6.0 ±0.58 1.57 ±0.04 NAeNA NA 79.1 ±0.23 1.1 ±0.19 NA
Tam a l e s
8.0 ±0.0bc 21.9 ±0.3a 6.98 ±0.28a 4.0 ±0.1b 0.9 ±0.1c 4.9 ±0.0c 50.5 ±0.1a 3.2 ±0.0b 81.9 ±2a
7.1 ±0.4d 20.6 ±0.3b 6.21 ±0.01b 5.1 ±0.2a 1.8 ±0.1a 6.9 ±0.3a 47.6 ±0.3b 4.1 ±0.1a 59.8 ±3c
Classic, 1% ash 8.7 ±0.3a 19.1 ±0.0c 5.93 ±0.07c 4.6 ±0.1a 1.0 ±0.1b 5.6 ±0.1b 50.3 ±0.1a 3.3 ±0.2ab 72.8 ±2b
Without salt 8.3 ±0.3b 19.5 ±0.3c 1.09 ±0.01c 3.8 ±0.2b 0.5 ±0.1d 4.3 ±0.2d 50.0 ±0.3a 1.8 ±0.2c 72.6 ±3b
aMeans (n=3) ±standard deviation followed by different letters are signiﬁcantly different (P<0.05). Data reported on dry basis (w/w).
bMaize ﬂour =whole corn ﬂour.
cIDF, insoluble dietary ﬁber; SDF, soluble dietary ﬁber; TDF, total dietary ﬁber.
dAnalyzed using Megazyme, total starch and resistant starch kits.
tested once by each of 10 volunteers of age range 22 to 33 y old
and BMI 22 to 25 kg/m2. Portions of tamales elaborated the same
day and containing 50 g of available carbohydrates were consumed
by each volunteer over 10 min time period with 250 mL of water.
Tamales were ingested in random order on separate occasions in
the morning after a 12 h overnight fast. Capillary ﬁnger-prick
blood samples were taken from subjects at 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90,
and 120 min after consuming the sample. Glucose solution was
used as reference which contained 50 g of pure anhydrous glucose
per 250 mL of water. Blood glucose concentrations were measured
using OneTouch Ultra-Mini meter (Johnson & Johnson, Miami,
Fla., U.S.A.). Glycemic index was deﬁned as the area under the
blood glucose response curve for each tamal treatment expressed
as a percentage of the area after taking the same amount of car-
bohydrate as glucose. The in vivo GI test used repeated measure
of analysis of variance to determine the differences between test
Results were expressed by means. Comparison of means was
performed by one-way analysis of variance followed by Duncan
test analyzed by SAS version 9.3 (SAS Inst. Inc., Cary, N.C.,
U.S. A .).
Results and Discussion
Chemical composition of tamales from different
The chemical composition and resistant starch of raw maize
and tamales are shown in Table 1. Signiﬁcant differences (P<
0.05) in protein content were found where tamales elaborated
with CN had the highest protein content (8.8%) and with EN
the lowest (7.1%; 18.6% lower than CN and raw maize). The
ranking of protein content in tamales was CN =raw maize >
without salt =TN >EN. Differences in protein content in tamales
are inﬂuenced by calcium sources added in the nixtamalization
processes. In alkaline solutions as TN, hemicellulose is hydrolyzed
allowing the loss of pericarp that induces protein solubilization.
Campechano and others (2012) reported that protein content of
the nejayote cooking liquor showed a large variability, which may
be due to the solubility effect of different salts and lime on proteins.
According to the Hofmeister (lyotropic) ser ies, anions coupled
with constant cations, for instance calcium (Ca2+), increased the
solubility of protein in the order SO42−<OH−<Cl−(Jane 1993).
According with Jane (1993) cations as K+,Na
wood ashes) had less protein solubilization capacity than Ca2+.
This solubility effect could explain the values of protein obtained in
tamales where CaCO3sample showed the highest loss of protein.
The behavior of CaCO3can be understood when taking into
account the equilibrium CO2−+H2O↔+HCO3+OH-, which
could solubilize part of pericarp and leach soluble proteins (Oosten
1982), having more protein solubilization than TN. This pattern
has been reported by other authors (Campechano and others 2012;
Santiago-Ramos and others 2015). Cations, with the same anion
counterpart, increased the solubility of protein in the order: <
K+Na+<Mg2+<Ca2+(Jane 1993). This explains why CN
has less protein solubilization or the highest protein content. The
presence of those cations in ashes, lime, and CaCO3was reported
by Mariscal-Moreno and others (2015). Same authors indicated
that wood ashes have more K and Mg compared to Lime and
CaCO3used as raw material. The CaCO3did not show Mg
and K as impurities. Fat and ash showed similar trend among
themselves with the highest content in TN tamales and ranking
TN >EN >CN =without salt tamales (Table 1). The range of
fat content was 19.1% to 21.9% and ash 5.98% to 6.98% for tamales
samples representing average increases of about 3.4 times more fat
and 4 times more ash compared to the raw maize kernels. These
observations are explained by the addition of the alkaline salts in
nixtamalization and shortening in the preparation of tamales.
Differences in ashes are attributed to calcium sources used in
nixtamalization, treatment WS had the lowest ash content, because
any salts used in nixtamalization and some elements were lixiviated
in the cooking solution. The data agree with Campechano and
others (2012) who indicated that EN has relatively more ash losses
in nejayote than TN.
The total dietary ﬁber ranked EN >CN >TN >WS with
6.9%, 5.6%, 4.8%, and 4.3%, respectively (Table 1). These values
reﬂect the effect of salts on the hydrolysis of pericarp. In ecolog-
ical and classic processes salts reduce the pericarp hydrolysis and
it remains in the whole grain after nixtamalization and washing,
although in TN, the pericarp is hydrolyzed by OH−anions and
lost in cooking solution. These observations are relevant from the
nutritional point of view since dietary ﬁber increases viscosity, re-
duces glycemic response, and plasma cholesterol. Insoluble ﬁbers
are characterized by their porosity, low density and are associated
with increase fecal bulk and decrease intestinal transit (Lattimeret
and Haub 2010). In contrast in food processing operations, incor-
poration of soluble ﬁber in food products is beneﬁcial as it provides
viscosity, ability to form gels, and/or act as emulsiﬁer (Mudgil and
Insoluble dietary ﬁber and resistant starch showed similar pattern
with EN and CN not signiﬁcantly different among themselves
Vol. 00, Nr. 00, 2017 rJournal of Food Science 3
Resistant starch formation on tamales . . .
and higher than WS tamales, with range values of 3.8% to 5.1%
and 1.8% to 4.2%, for insoluble dietary ﬁber and resistant starch,
Table 2 shows that starches in tamales WS have lower endother-
mic temperatures or less annealing effect compared to data of
endotherms II, III, and IV for all nixtamalization processes. Also,
tamales WS presented higher retrogradation. Annealing reduces
the amylose leaching from sample. The reduction of amylose
leaching enhances the formation of RS specially the RS5-II. Sim-
ilar results were reported by Figueroa and others (2016). The
reduction in amylose leaching has been attributed to interactions
of amylose-amylose and amylose/amylopectin (Hoover and Vasan-
than 1994; Waduge and others 2006), decrease in granular swelling
(Tester and others 2000), and increase in V-amylose-lipid content
(Tester and others 2000; Waduge and others 2006).
RS was an average of 3.4 times higher in EN and CN tamales
compared to the raw maize and 2.1 times higher RS than the
samples without salt. Total resistant starch in tamales was a mixture
of types 3 and 5 (RS3 and RS5). RS3 is a consequence of amy-
lopectin retrogradation as will be described later (section “Ther-
mal properties”). RS5 content can be explained by the shorten-
ing added in the formulation of tamales and the nixtamalization
process combination of temperature and time (annealing) which
favored the formation of amylose–lipid complexes. Thus, com-
plexes were formed during annealing by (1) nixtamalization of
the kernels to obtain the masa and (2) steaming of tamales (at
temperature >90 °C).
Thermal properties of tamales and raw maize studied by DSC
analysis are presented in Table 2. For raw maize, the 1st endotherm
corresponding to gelatinization had initial To(I) ,peakTp
ﬁnal Tf(I) values at about 60, 68, and 81 °C, respectively (Table 2).
These results are similar to those reported by Santiago-Ramos and
others (2015), Mariscal-Moreno and others (2015), and Figueroa
and others (2016). The absence of the gelatinization endotherm
in the tamales samples suggests the starch was completely gela-
tinized (Table 2). Second endotherm corresponds to amylopectin
retrogradation and tamales from WS and TN had the widest range
of Tr(RS3) (19.7 and 23.9 °C) and higher H(RS3) (about 1.25
and 1.0 J/g), suggesting more diversity of arrangements of ret-
rograded amylopectin and more quantity of retrograded amylose
present compared to the EN and CN tamales (Tr[RS3] ranges 16.4
and 17.3 °CandH[RS3] 0.7 J/g, respectively). These values shed
light on the inﬂuence of the cations of the salts used on amy-
lopectin and suggests lower retrogradation of amylopectin with
the salts in the EN and CN.
The formation of retrograded starch was inﬂuenced by condi-
tioning of the samples (cooling, grinding, drying, and storage at
4°C). Figueroa and others (2016) reported a range of amylopectin
retrogradation enthalpy of 0.30 to 0.51 J/g, whereas the range
of amylopectin retrogradation enthalpy reported in the present
study was 0.65 to 1.25 J/g, showing an increase of retrogradation
starch (resistant starch type 3) after sample conditioning. How-
ever, this procedure was the same for all samples, suggesting that
differences in RS3 are related with different nixtamalization pro-
cesses. Over the course of storage, gelatinized starch molecules
tend to re-associate, mainly attributed to amylopectin as reported
ıa-Rosas and others (2009) when they stored tortillas at
Starch retrogradation is often considered to have undesirable
effects because of its major contribution to the staling of bread
Table 2–Thermal properties of maize ﬂour and tamales from different nixtamalization processes.a
Endotherm II (amylopectin
Endotherm III (melting of
amylose–lipid complexes type I)
Endotherm IV (melting of
amylose–lipid complexes type II)
Product T0(I) Tp(I) Tf(I) H(I) T0(RS3) Tp(RS3) Tf(RS3) H(RS3) T0(RS5-I) Tp(RS5-I) Tf(RS5-I) H(RS5-I) T0(RS5-II) Tp(RS5-II) Tf(RS-II) H(RS5-II)
(°C) (°C) (°C) (J/g) (°C) (°C) (°C) (J/g) (°C) (°C) (°C) (J/g) (°C) (°C) (°C) (J/g)
Raw Maize ﬂourb59.9 68.3 80.7 7.07 95.8 103.2 110.0 0.23 – – – –
Tam a l e s
Traditional Ca(OH)2– – – – 42.7c 55.8b 66.6a 0.99ab 78.8c 93.2a 103.8a 0.18a 114.2b 121.1b 124.4c 0.27c
Ecological CaCO3– – – – 48.6a 57.7a 65.0b 0.66b 85.4b 97.6a 105.4a 0.14a 117.4a 120.9c 127.1b 0.45a
Classic 1% ash – – – – 47.1b 56.0b 64.4c 0.65b 90.0a 97.1a 105.4a 0.11a 112.7c 125.9a 129.7a 0.36b
Without salt – – – – 42.3c 52.5c 62.0d 1.25a 86.5b 95.5a 97.8a 0.21a 110.7d 116.4d 123.0d 0.06d
aMeans (n=3) followed by different letters are signiﬁcantly different (P<0.05).
bMaize ﬂour =whole corn ﬂour.
H, enthalpy; T0,Tp,andTfare initial, peak, and ﬁnal temperature, respectively.
4Journal of Food Science rVol. 00, Nr. 00, 2017
Resistant starch formation on tamales . . .
Figure 1–X-ray diffraction patterns of maize and tamales from different
nixtamalization processes: TN, Traditional 1% Ca (OH)2; CN, classic 1%
wood ash; EN, ecological with 1% CaCO3; WS, without salts.
and other starch-rich foods, which can cause reduced shelf life
and consumer acceptance and lead to signiﬁcant waste, thus posing
signiﬁcant challenges to food processors (Collar and Rosell 2013).
However, starch retrogradation is desirable in terms of nutritional
signiﬁcance, due to the slower enzymatic digestion and moderated
release of glucose into the blood stream (Copeland and others
The 3rd endotherm corresponds to amylose–lipid complex
form I (AMLC Form I) that is commonly found in native cereal
starch granules. Native lipids in cereal starch granules are mostly
free fatty acids and lysophospholipids, although the content of
lipids in cereal starch granules is positively correlated with the
amylose content of starch (Morrison and others 1984). AMLC
form I is formed after gelatinization of starch in the presence of
endogenous or added lipids (Goderis and others 2014). This en-
dotherm was reported in tamales by Figueroa and others (2016).
Similar values of AMLC form I (average H[RS5-I] 0.16 J/g) sug-
gests that the amount of this amylose complex in all treatments
was similar and differed only in the variety of species as revealed
by a different range of temperature (Table 2). The 4th endotherm
corresponds to AMLC form II and was observed at higher temper-
atures (110 to 130 °C) compared to the AMLC form I (Goderis
and others 2014). According with Tufvesson and others (2000),
if type I complexes are annealed at high temperature (>90 °C),
they are transformed into type II complexes. In tamales processing
the temperature is higher than 90 °C, as it occurs during steam
The X-ray diffractograms of tamales and raw maize samples are
presented in Figure 1. The x-ray diffractogram of maize showed a
typical A-type diffraction pattern showing peaks at d-spacings of
5.80, 5.13, 4.89, 4.45, and 3.84 ˚
A. These values as reported by
Zobel (1988) are characteristic of A-type starch crystal common
in most cereal starches.
The 4 tamal samples formed the inclusion complexes with
fatty acids, as conﬁrmed by V-type patterns displayed in diffrac-
tograms (Figure 1). The V-pattern was inferred from 3 main peaks
corresponding to the Bragg angles 2θat approximately 13°and
20°(Zabar and others 2010; Chang and others 2013). This V-
pattern agrees with the results from Figueroa and others (2016) and
(2013) who indicated that combined treatments involving starch
Figure 2–Blood glucose curves of volunteers after drinking glucose solution
(50 g in 250 mL water) at time 0 or after ingestion of the same amount
of carbohydrate as glucose from total starch (dry basis) in tamales. TN,
Traditional with Ca(OH)2; CN, classic 1% wood ash; EN, ecological with
1% CaCO3; WS, without salt; GLC, glucose solution.
annealing during nixtamalization and heat treatment of the wet
nixtamal are determinant for forming ther mally-resistant starches
of amylose–lipid complexes. The direct effect is an increase in the
gelatinization temperatures with an improved starch granule sta-
bility against collapse at water boiling temperatures in the pozole
(Figueroa and others 2013), quite similar to the behaviors of the
thermal and X-rays properties found in tamales (Figueroa and oth-
ers 2016). In addition, Chang and others (2013) reported that the
relative crystallinity and resolution of the peaks in diffractograms
of the starch–lipid complexes were mainly inﬂuenced by amy-
lose content, fatty acid chain length, and the type of the thermal
GI is used for comparison of the impact of food products with
high amount of carbohydrates on blood glucose after their con-
sumption. The GI of a food cannot easily be predicted from the
basic food components and must be measured as an in vivo re-
sponse relative to a standard (Aston 2006). Figure 2 displays the
behavior of tamales elaborated with different nixtamalization pro-
cess compared to glucose solution as reference. Tamales elaborated
with EN showed lower digestion rate compared to the other nix-
tamalization processes. These observations are in agreement with
the samples showing highest level of TDF and RS for mation
(Table 1). Highest digestibility was found in tamales elaborated
with TN (Figure 2). According to Aston (2006), a low-GI food
is deﬁned as having a GI of ࣘ55, and a high-GI food has a GI
of ࣙ70. Thus, EN can be categorized as medium GI and TN as
high GI. A reduction in GI induced by nixtamalization process is
a desirable outcome in tamales and would contribute to a better
understanding of the properties of different ethnic foods. Possible
beneﬁcial effects on health of ethnic food with low GI and their
inﬂuence in metabolic syndrome and obesity need to be further
Calcium sources used on nixtamalization processes affect the
structure and functionality of starch in tamales. Tamales prepara-
tion processes (masa mixed, steaming, cooling, and stored) induce
RS formation type 3 and 5 (form I and II). The EN and CN pro-
duced tamales with higher resistant starch formation than native
maize or maize boiled without salts. In addition, salts added in
Vol. 00, Nr. 00, 2017 rJournal of Food Science 5
Resistant starch formation on tamales . . .
nixtamalization, decrease amylopectin retrogradation, and incre-
ment amylose–lipid complex type II.
Higher TDF and lower glycemic index in EN, CN than TN
processes, suggest that RS and TDF content have an effect on
glycemic index. The results of this study support the hypothesis
that nixtamalization process is a helpful tool for the improvement
of glycemic index and potential health beneﬁts of tamales espe-
cially those elaborated using EN.
ıa Mariscal-Moreno and David Santiago-Ramos
thank the CONACYT for the Ph.D. scholarships. We thank
ın Adelaido Hern´
Casamayor, Ger ´
ambula-Villa, and Sergio Jim´
Sandoval from Cinvestav-Quer´
etaro for their technical support.
R.M. Mariscal-Moreno execution of experimental work, in-
terpretation results, and draft writing. J.D.C. Figueroa C´
designed and planned the study. D. Santiago Ramos and J.J. V´
Medina performed some analysis. Rayas-Duarte and Mart´
Flores writing of manuscript.
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