New Breed of Weight-Loss Foods

America's obsession with its waistline has made the food industry pay closer attention to a new breed of diet- and weight-friendly foods.

By Kantha Shelke, Ph.D.

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Science-based product development and consumer education will hopefully account for successful weight loss and management for the weight-challenged consumer.

Susan T. Borra, RD, president, IFIC Foundation (www.ific.org), Washington, DC, says "Potentially hindering consumers' success in improving their health is a lack of understanding of calories and current weight status, as well as purchase priorities and perceptions that health information is inconsistent."

Nine out of ten consumers in a recent IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey were unable to provide an accurate estimate of their recommended daily caloric intake, nearly half would not even guess, and only one in three understands that a "calorie is a calorie."

Borra believes that a key knowledge consumers need to have is that larger portions have more calories. She agrees that the approach is simplistic and not particularly helpful to send the message that weight loss is just a matter of taking in fewer calories than you expend especially in light of emerging research on how the pedigree of calories matters in weight and girth management.

While exercise and lifestyle modifications can help manage or reduce body fat stores and health risks, thermogenic compounds work by directly stimulating energy expenditure. Energy expenditure is a good strategy to improve body weight loss and prevent (re)gain. Llipid mobilization inhibits energy (fat) storage and decreases fat uptake.

Janice Haley, vice president, Elite FX InC. (www.elitefxbev.com), Memphis, Tenn., developed Celsius, a carbonated beverage designed specifically to "naturally raise your metabolism by 12 percent over a three- to four-hour period." Launched in 2005, the soda won the Beverage Industry's Best New Product award for energy drink - drinking Celsius burns more calories than the drink itself contains.

Celsius contains a thermogenic blend of taurine, guarana extract, green tea leaf extract, caffeine, glucuronolactone and ginger extract - scientifically proven to stimulate the natural resting metabolic rate (RMR) that raises body temperature - which in turn causes the body to burn additional calories. Because the long-term effect of RMR stimulators on the body is debatable, Elite FX warns consumers: Celsius ought not to be consumed by children under 12 and the elderly and limits adult consumption to three bottles a day.

Another appetite suppressant ingredient currently in clinical trials with backing from major brands (Pfizer (www.pfizer.com), Groton, CT, Phytopharm (www.phytopharm.com), Cambridgeshire, UK, and now, Unilever (www.unilever.com), NJ) is Hoodia gordonii. The bioactive component of Hoodia is P57, a molecule Craig Payton, managing director at Stella Labs (www.stellalabs.com), Paramus, NJ, says can mimic hunger suppressing effect of glucose, but even more convincingly.

Phytobase Nutritionals Inc. (www.phytobase.com), Orem, Utah packs 950 mg of Hoodia in Bon-Java LeanCaffe to help suppress appetite and Rhodia rosea to increase fat-burning mechanisms in the body. Phytobase President Sam Gur says "Hoodia in LeanCaffe tricks the brain into shutting down the hunger mechanism and triggering the body into a state of satiety.

The emerging need for hunger suppression makes LeanCaffe an excellent hunger management and weight loss tool for the demographic that drinks coffee routinely."

At Unilever's Food Research Centre in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, scientists are addressing health issues of developed and developing world and identifying optimal compositions and 'functional' agents supported with evidence from clinical trials to advance Unilever's leadership in weight "friendly" (control and prevention) foods.

The SlimFast maker is expected to launch a wide range of weight loss bars and beverages after it gets the necessary regulatory clearances for food and beverage applications.

Look to the Following Sources for More Info

ADM Kao LLC, Decatur, Ill. (www.admworld.com)
Bio Serae, Bram, France (www.bioserae.com)
Cargill Inc., Minneapolis (www.cargill.com)
Cevena Bioproducts Inc, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (www.cevena.com)
ConAgra Foods Inc., Minneapolis (www.conagra.com)
Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, Ill. (www.dairyinfo.com)
DSM Nutritional Products Inc., Parsippany, N.J. (www.dsm.com)
Interhealth, Benicia, Calif. (www.interhealth.com)
Glanbia Nutritionals, Monroe, Wisc. (www.glanbia.com)
Lipid Nutrition, Channahon, Ill. (www.lipidnutrition.com)
National Dairy Council (www.nationaldairycouncil.org), Rosemont, Ill.
Next Proteins, Carlsbad, Calif. (www.nextproteins.com)
Orafti Active Food Ingredients, Malvern, Pa. (www.orafti.com)

 

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