During the past two decades, the obesity rate in the United States has dramatically increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, in 2007, only one state (Colorado) had a frequency of obesity less than 20 percent.
Along with the rising obesity rates come escalating health care costs in dealing with diseases and health problems that can develop from being overweight. With consumers’ quest to lose weight, beverage-makers have been formulating weight management products and consider beverages a desirable format to deliver these ingredients.
“Beverages are an excellent fit for delivering weight management products since they naturally fit within consumers’ normal lifestyles,” says Rob Worsena, director of food and beverage sales at InterHealth USA, Benicia, Calif. “It is a significant advantage if consumers can consume products with functional ingredients without having to make changes in their daily activities or remember taking supplements.”
Increased interest in diet products outside of low-fat, low-calorie and no-sugar also has developed. “Consumers want efficacious and safe weight management beverages, and they also want instant results,” Worsena says. “Satiety claims such as ‘reduces appetite’ or ‘inhibits hunger’ are not only relevant to the consumer, but believable and credible. Being able to control hunger is a powerful thing. It not only affects weight management, but daily life as well.”
Many of today’s most popular weight management products contain either satiety-inducing or appetite-suppressing ingredients, says Martha Haas, manager of marketing and creative services at Nutragenesis, Brattleboro, Vt.
“The formulations for these products that provide a feeling of fullness tend to rely on ingredients that add substantial bulk, such as protein and fiber,” she says. “The volume of these ingredients create a challenge for delivery vehicles such as capsules or tablet, whereas delivery vehicles such as ready-to-drink beverages, powdered drink mixes and stick packs are all more appropriate and convenient mediums for satiety-inducing weight management products.”
Consumers also are looking for more natural, healthy and effective approaches to weight management. “There is a movement toward less stimulating ingredients, and away from the unwanted side effects of many of the products containing stimulants,” Haas says. “Consumers and marketers are increasingly aware of the safety factor of non-stimulant weight-loss formulations.”
While some beverage categories generally are perceived as good for a healthful diet, that doesn’t mean consumers don’t expect more from their products.
“Today’s sophisticated beverage consumers expect more than just a drink,” says Arne Ptock, a global product line manager at Cognis Nutrition & Health. “As well as tasting great and being thirst quenching, they demand real beauty or health benefits from their functional beverages.”
Beverage ingredient suppliers are offering several ingredients that address the management of weight.
Icon Group LLC, a Nutragenesis sister company, recently introduced WellTrim, a multifunctional, stimulant-free weight-loss nutraceutical that is formulated from a proprietary blend of standardized botanical extracts. WellTrim is said to: increase satiety by altering cholescystokinin levels, help support glycemic response, block fat absorption, boost metabolism and stimulate thermogenesis.
Nutragenesis also markets Essentra Trim, a GRAS-affirmed, functional ingredient that targets the connection between stress and weight. Essentra Trim is a natural, non-stimulative ingredient that is designed to help modulate the effects of stress-related cortisol secretion, the company says. WellTrim and Essentra Trim are both completely water soluble and well suited to all types of beverages, Haas says. They both do require a bitterness masker, and can be purchased pre-blended with a masking ingredient from Icon Group and Nutragenesis.
Cognis’ key product for weight management is Tonalin, a food ingredient it introduced in the U.S. market after it received GRAS status in 2008. Tonalin is a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that the company says can reduce 9 to 20 percent of body fat, depending on whether physical activity is involved, while maintaining or even increasing lean muscle.
Tonalin is GRAS approved for applications in dairy, flavored milks, yogurt products, fruit juices, soy milks and meal replacement beverages.
In March 2009, Cognis exclusively licensed a potential new anti-obesity product from its strategic partner InterMed Discovery (IMD). Through the companies’ collaboration, Cognis and IMD have developed a platform to identify new ingredients for specific food applications, Ptock says.
InterHealth also has focused its attention on products designed to help people struggling with weight problems, and has crossed into mass market beverages with its Super CitriMax and ChromeMate ingredients.
Super CitriMax is an all-natural ingredient containing hydroxycitric acid, an extract from the South Asian fruit Garcinia cambogia that is bound to calcium and potassium. Super CitriMax is thought to maintain healthy weight by suppressing appetite and increasing satiety, while inhibiting fat production, the company says. I
nterHealth also offers ChromeMate, a bioavailable form of chromium, that is designed to support normal insulin function. “Normal insulin function is critical since it supports balanced blood sugar levels, which in turn, help with appetite control and reduced food cravings, especially for sweets and fatty foods,” Worsena says.
Both ingredients from InterHealth are suitable to be used in water-based and juice-based beverages, dairy products, meal replacement shakes and stick packs, sachets, shots or gels. Super CitriMax and ChromeMate are highly soluble and virtually tasteless, odorless and colorless, the company says.
Protein and fiber
In May, Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., played up protein’s importance in controlling weight with the addition of Kellogg’s Special K Protein Shakes to its line of weight-management products. The brand’s first weight-management protein shake, the beverage features protein and fiber with the goal “to take the edge off hunger and help women stay on track with their weight-management goals,” the company said when the product launched.
Fiber also can aid in weight-loss solutions. AHD International, Atlanta, offers LuraLean, a condensed, dietary fiber ingredient designed to help support weight loss. LuraLean Phoenix is engineered specifically for use in beverage applications, is soluble and flavorless, and has GRAS designation. Every 100 grams of LuraLean contains 97 grams of fiber. The fiber is available in several grades for use in high and low-viscosity beverage applications.
Belgian-company Beneo-Orafti, supplier of Orafti Inulin and Orafti Oligofructose, recently released the results of an independent study published in June that examined oligofructose (Orafti P95) supplementation and its effects on body weight and energy intake in overweight and obese adults.
“This research is another important milestone in the fight again obesity,” says Anke Sentko, Beneo-Group’s vice president of regulatory affairs and nutrition communication. “It proves that we have more resources than just counting calories, that the dietary fibers inulin and oligofructose have to be looked at as additional tools.”
Obesity and being overweight are major challenges in the developed world where gradual weight gain is the norm for most people, and beverage formulators will have to continue to address the issues moving forward.
“Many consumers have become disenchanted by diets focused on what they can’t eat, and there is now a clear trend toward the achievement of weight management as part of an overall healthy lifestyle,” says Bernhard Müller, Cognis’ director of global R&D/technology nutrition and health. “For that reason, Cognis believes that active ingredients promoting weight management through functional food and beverages have a unique selling potential in the consumer market.” BI