In the past decades, overweight, obesity and diabetes have been considered a latent threat in the health sector, since according to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year this global epidemic claims the lives of 2.8 million people around the world. Today the prevention and control of these diseases is a priority. One of the most important aspects of prevention is the food, due this the creation of healthy foods to help the population at risk it’s a very important development and activity. The aim of the present work was to develop a food adapted to the nutritional needs of people with chronic diseases, in particular diabetes. In the present investigation a jelly based on prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) was elaborated. Prickly pear was selected because medicinal plants including the prickly pear cactus have been reported to modulate blood sugar levels and the extracts of prickly pear cactus have been used in various parts of the world to manage diabetes mellitus. Two varieties of prickly pear were evaluated, (green and red). In the proximal analysis the red variety had the high sugar content (15.5 %). For the formulation of prickly pear jellies 2 different sweeteners where used, sugar and stevia. Un-trained panel performed sensory test and principal components of four jellies of prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) was carry out. The evaluated parameters according to consumer preference were palate consistency, cactus taste, sweet taste, pleasant taste and general taste. The products had a positive acceptance in the sensory tests. The red prickly pear fruit with sugar was the preferred by the judges (p = 0.05).
Key words: diabetes, functional food, prickly pear fruit, sensory analysis, sweet taste.