Consumers Choosing Healthier Foods

Processors are providing – and wise consumers are choosing – foods that just may turn around the obesity epidemic.

By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor

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According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, the obesity epidemic in America, defined as a BMI (body mass index) greater than 30, continues unabated.

Only Colorado reports statewide obesity levels below 20 percent. In Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, obesity rates exceed 30 percent. This is particularly alarming because obesity increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, some forms of cancer, diabetes and other diseases.


Potatoes of all types top the Satiety Index, with boiled spuds in the No. 1 position. With only 110 calories, their Nutrition Facts (if they had one) would be clean and sprinkled with attractive nutrients.

While even the USDA’s newest (2005) Food Pyramid ( suggests that exercise is the real key, many Americans are trying to become fit, not fat, by making better food choices, as demonstrated by the growing functional foods category.

Liz Sloan, president of Sloan Trends and Solutions, in a recent report identified the top 10 functional food trends in the U.S., and many of them speak to this issue. She said consumers are looking to (1) create a healthy household, using (2) foods naturally rich in nutrients because they are concerned about (3) weight control and (4) specific health conditions, like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Their (5) proactive lifestyles are (6) simpler, greener, and cleaner, so they choose (7) smart treats and foods designed for those (8) sensitive to food allergies that (9) provide vitality and at the same time are (10) new and unique.

Satiety rules
Functional food products specifically designed for weight loss and long-term weight management that include satiety-inducing ingredients can play an important part in facilitating the fight against obesity.

Satiety was mentioned all over the floor at the July IFT Food Expo. InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ( SuperCitrimax is a plant extract that contains high levels of hydroxycitric acid bound to calcium and potassium. Clinical and preclinical studies indicate it can help people lose weight by both suppressing appetite and by increasing fat burning.

At the IFT show, the company was quoting clinical studies that showed people taking 500mg of SuperCitrimax voluntarily consumed less food daily, and especially ate fewer snacks. Fuze, SoBe and Nutrisoda use it in beverages.

InterHealth also claims chromium helps insulin metabolize fat, turn protein into muscle and convert sugar into energy. Chromium-activated insulin increases the amount of blood sugar available for energy production nearly twenty-fold. As a result, the company offers a product called ChromeMate.

DSM Nutrition was showing Fabuless, an oil-in-water emulsion made from naturally occurring dietary lipids -- palm oil, coated with galactolipids from oat oil. Oat oil is naturally rich in so-called polar lipids, such as galactolipids. Thanks to them, Fabuless triggers the natural appetite control mechanism.

Tate & Lyle was promoting “that feeling of fullness” as a key benefit of its Promitor dietary fibers, both corn fibers and resistant starch.

Dairy Management Inc. at the show was promoting whey protein along with fiber to promote satiety. A Korean company, Bionutrigen, is working with a number of fruit and vegetable extracts to promote satiety as well as to hasten calorie-burning.

Protein is becoming recognized as a key component in satiety. Advances in soy research have enabled manufactures to increase the protein content of a wide variety of foods. Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) NutriSoy protein crisps are available in 60, 80 and 85 percent protein versions. They “provide customers another option for incorporating even more protein into foods consumers love,” says Mark Metivier, director of sales for ADM’s Specialty Food Ingredients unit (, Decatur, Ill.

Benesoy from Devansoy (, Carroll, Iowa, is available as liquid, powder, and soy flour form, low fat and full fat versions.


These prototypes from Devansoy were created to show how a healthful drink like soy milk can be made indulgent.

Yogurt may be healthy enough, but the new yogurt from Stonyfield Farm (, Londonderry, N.H., has even more protein with the goal of increasing satiety. The product is called Oikos, or “yiaourti” in Greece. Authentic Greek yogurt is creamier than regular yogurt due to a centuries-old straining process that removes the whey (liquid) from the yogurt – the result is more protein.

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