Two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight, reported the Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to health and disease prevention in the United States last year. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate more than 20 percent. In 2009, 49 states and Washington, D.C., had obesity rates of more than 20 percent, and adult obesity rates exceeded 25 percent in 31 states, the organization stated in its “F as in Fat 2009” report.

The epidemic also affects the younger generation as 16 percent of children in the United States are obese, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, reports. Since 1980, obesity rates for children have tripled. In addition to the rising childhood obesity epidemic, Trust for America’s Health found that the baby boomer generation has a higher rate of obesity compared with previous generations.

Awareness of the obesity issue has increased, the CDC reports from 2000 to 2007, media coverage on obesity in national print and on newswires increased from about 8,000 articles to more than 28,000. Across the country, local and national programs and policies are hoping to turn the trend around, including First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. The campaign was designed to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. Let’s Move aims to support parents, provide healthier food in schools, help children be more active, and make healthy and affordable food available across the country.

In light of the attention, consumers have become more realistic with their desires for products with weight loss or control claims, says Paul Dijkstra, chief executive officer of InterHealth Nutraceuticals, Benicia, Calif.

“There is interest in diet products outside low-fat, low-calorie and no sugar benefits,” Dijkstra says. “Consumers want efficacious and safe weight management beverages — and they also want instant results. Satiety claims, such as ‘reduces appetite’ and ‘inhibits hunger,’ are not only relevant to the consumer, but believable and credible.”

Satiety ups the stakes
Ingredient manufacturers are offering solutions for consumers who are interested in weight management that include protein, fiber and custom mixes for satiety benefits.

“The strategies for managing obesity are to either decrease energy intake or increase energy expenditure,” says Mark Robinson, beverages marketing manager for Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand. “Food and beverage companies need to focus on the first strategy. The six ways to do this include diet programs, portion control, reduced energy products, low-fat, increased fiber or increased protein. The first four options require a consumer to make a sacrifice or use will power. The last two options control the appetite, so therefore do not require any sacrifice. It is for this reason that protein and fiber are considered to be the future directions of weight management.”

Fonterra developed Whole, a flavored water enriched with protein and fiber that is available in New Zealand and Australia. The product is marketed to “bridge the hunger gap” and is fortified with 5 grams of protein and 1.5 grams of fiber per 500 ml. serving. The beverage incorporates Fonterra’s ClearProtein range of whey protein isolates specifically formulated for incorporation into clear and water-based beverages.

Fonterra, which has a U.S. office in Rosemont, Ill., recently conducted a consumer research study with 1,000 American consumers regarding satiety. The survey indicated 76 percent of U.S. consumers found satiety water products appealing, which rose to 80 percent for weight-conscious consumers. In addition, 86 percent of consumers indicated they would purchase the satiety water product, Fonterra reported.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of protein, and more specifically whey protein, as a valid and effective ingredient for satiety,” Robinson says. “Fonterra research shows that U.S. consumers want more protein in their everyday lives, but they believe existing protein products have poor taste, have heavy, milky formulations or are simply not enjoyable to consume.”

Fonterra’s ClearProtein 8855 can be incorporated into satiety water products as well as protein-enhanced sports waters, sports recovery beverages and high-protein sports drinks, the company says. In addition, Fonterra also offers a range of functional milk protein concentrates, whey protein isolates and whey protein concentrates for formulation into beverages, such as weight management shakes, protein shots and protein-enriched juices and smoothies, Robinson says.

“The demand for products with ingredients to help control appetite and manage weight will continue to increase as long as the products taste great, are widely available and come in convenient and appealing pack formats,” he says. “Consumers are not willing to sacrifice taste in favor of health, but they are willing to pay a premium for products which deliver health benefits and an enjoyable consumption experience.”

Several starches and fibers also have shown to provide satiety. Hi-maize resistant starch from National Starch has been shown to reduce the caloric density of foods, increase satiety, burn fat, increase insulin sensitivity and increase energy expenditure in a variety of studies. Hi-maize is an insoluble prebiotic fiber made from corn that resists digestion in the small intestine, National Starch says. More common in non-beverage applications, the ingredient has been implemented in smoothie mixes.

Tate & Lyle, Decatur, Ill., offers Promitor soluble fiber, which can be incorporated in beverages and can help make fiber-related claims, such as weight management and satiety benefits, the company says. Promitor is made from corn and handles similarly to corn syrup in liquid form and also is available in powdered form, Tate & Lyle says. The ingredient can be incorporated into all types of beverages and mixes, the company says.

Another type of fiber, inulin, may help maintain a feeling of fullness after eating, says Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, maker of Oliggo-Fiber inulin. The ingredient is a dietary fiber that is water-soluble, Cargill says. Oliggo-Fiber inulin has the potential to reduce the caloric content, the company says.

ADM, Decatur, Ill., and Matsutani America Inc., Itasca, Ill., collaborated to create Fibersol-2, a digestion resistant maltodextrin. A prebiotic fiber, the ingredient can be incorporated to boost fiber content and aid consumers in maintaining satiety, the company says. In studies, Fibersol-2 also has been shown to moderate blood glucose levels after a meal, the company says. The product can be incorporated in a variety of beverages, including juice, coffee, tea, protein drinks, soy beverages and powdered beverage mixes.

Developing lean muscle
In addition to satiety, whey protein also has muscle toning benefits. Prolibra, an ingredient from Glanbia Nutritionals Inc., Monroe, Wis., has been clinically proven to promote fat loss, retain lean muscle mass and lower glycemic index, says Sharon Rokosh, business development manager at the company. The ingredient includes leucine, bio-active peptides and minerals to effect changes in body composition and reduce glycemic response. Rokosh predicts that consumers are moving toward more sustainable weight loss options.

“I think it’s shifting now in that people are looking at it from a healthy weight management perspective,” Rokosh says. “They’re recognizing that we’re not just looking at weight loss from an aesthetic standpoint, but also the health implications that are associated with carrying increased fat and the value in targeting that fat with respect to their weight loss versus losing their lean muscle, and the impact that has on their basic metabolic rate, their body strength, their bone strength and their ability to maintain that weight loss.” Weight loss is a purported benefit of Super CitriMax from InterHealth Nutraceuticals. Super CitriMax is a patented all-natural ingredient containing hydroxycitric acid extracted from South Asian fruit Garcinia cambogia that is bound to calcium and potassium, Dijkstra says. The ingredient has been clinically shown to provide satiety, suppress appetite and inhibit fat production without stimulating the central nervous system, the company says.

The company also offers ChromeMate, which is a bioavailable form of chromium that supports normal insulin function and healthy body weight, Dijkstra says. ChromeMate consists of niacin-bound chromium that helps increase the effectiveness of chromium, he says. In studies, ChromeMate has been shown to increase fat loss and maintain lean body mass, the company reports.

Both Super CitriMax and ChromeMate are highly soluble and virtually tasteless, odorless and colorless. Applications for both ingredients include water, ready-to-drink beverages, fruit juices, dairy beverages, shots, gels and powdered drink mixes, the company says. The ingredients also are heat-stable and suitable for hot-fill, cold-fill, ultra high temperature and retort processing, InterHealth says. Weight management claims have the potential to be more effective in appealing to consumers, Dijkstra says.

“Foods for satiety or weight management with functional ingredients may have greater appeal to many consumers than ‘lesser evil’ products, such as low-fat foods,” he says.

Emerging segments
In addition to satiety and lean body composition, consumers also are looking for additional weight management claims. Fortitech, Schenectady, N.Y., manufactures custom nutrient premixes that are available with various weight management ingredients. Ram Chaudhari, chief scientific officer for Fortitech, calls weight management beverages the “hottest category” in the industry.

“Science is the key here — you have to have scientific evidence, and you have to apply that science into that application and make use of it in such a way that the consumer will benefit,” Chaudhari says.

The company’s premixes are formulated specifically for their target application and can include popular weight management ingredients, such as whey protein, dietary fiber, green tea extract and conjugated linoleic acid. Weight management premixes also can be formulated with energy boosters, such as B vitamins, Chaudhari says.

Calorie burning, or thermogenesis, ingredients are attracting attention in the category, Chaudhari says. Capsaicin and related chemical compounds derived from peppers were highlighted as an emerging ingredient in the category by Chaudhuri. At IFT’s Wellness 10 seminar in March, Robert Bursey of Ajinomoto Corporate Services LLC, Washington, D.C., presented research in regard to the weight management properties of capsiate, a metabolically active pepper extract dietary supplement, in natural pepper plant extracts and synthetic form. In various studies, the pepper derived chemicals were found to be useful diet supplements in programs of caloric restriction and increased energy expenditure, Bursey said.

Nutragenesis, Brattleboro, Vt., is active in research for additional up and coming categories related to stress eating as well as metabolic wellness and balance, says Bruce Abedon, director of scientific affairs for the company. The company developed EssentraTrim and LeptiCore for the respective purposes.

EssentraTrim is a patented weight management ingredient designed for stress-induced overeating and weight gain. The ingredient is a standardized extract of the herb ashwagandha. It has been shown to lower stress and cortisol levels in the body, which can contribute to healthy weight management, the company says. Nutragenesis also received licensing rights to combine EssentraTrim with a proprietary new prebiotic fiber ingredient, Abedon says. When combined, the blend provides functional benefits that include reducing stress eating along with promoting satiety and digestive health, he says.

Nutragenesis also offers LeptiCore, a patent-pending, multifunctional complex of plant-based polysaccharides, esterified fatty acids, pomegranate extract, beta-carotene and blue green algae. The ingredient was formulated to promote healthy weight management through correction of leptin resistance, resulting in increased satiety, appetite suppression, blood sugar balance and thermogenesis, Abedon says. BI