It is widely recognized that the biological effects of phytochemicals cannot be attributed to the native compounds present in foods but rather to their metabolites endogenously released after intake. Bioavailability depends on bioaccessibility, which is the amount of the food constituent that is released from the matrix in the gastrointestinal tract. The use of chemical extraction to evaluate the content and profile of phytochemicals does not mirror the physiological situation in vivo, and their bioaccessibility should be considered while assessing their nutritional significance in human health. The current study was designed to compare the (poly)phenolic profile and content and antioxidant capacity of whole-grain (WG) cookies using chemical extraction and a more physiological approach based on simulated digestion. Three types of organic WG cookies (made with durum, Italian khorasan, or KAMUT® khorasan wheat) were considered, either fermented by Saccharomyces Cerevisiae or sourdough. Although the flour type and the fermentation process influenced the release of phytochemicals from the cookie matrix, in almost all samples, the simulated digestion appeared the most efficient procedure. Our results indicate that the use of chemical extraction for evaluation of the phytochemicals content and antioxidant capacity of food could lead to underestimation and underline the need for more physiological extraction methods.
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