Fiber and protein remain primary ingredients in formulating weight management products. Recently launched ingredients of protein and fiber are on the market, and research continues to focus on their satiety effects.

The market for such products was examined in a 2013 publication, the second edition of “Weight management trends,” from Packaged Facts. Almost 39% of all U.S. adults, or 87.8 million, were watching their diet to either lose or maintain their weight, according to the report. Also, between 1988 and 2008, the prevalence of obesity increased by 48% among adults and by more than 72% among youths.

A protein ingredient from Arla Foods Ingredients, Viby, Denmark, addresses the weight management issue. The company launched Lacprodan DI-7017 into the lifestyle nutrition market for the first time this year. It is high in branched chain amino acids, which optimize the body’s muscle-building and satiety response mechanism, said Peter Schouw Andersen, business development manager for health and performance at Arla Foods Ingredients. A whey protein concentrate, it has been shown to work in a variety of applications, including milk and water-based beverage products and soups.

“Its main advantage is that it can be used to create 100% whey UHT-stable ready-to-drink beverages at neutral pH,” Mr. Andersen said. “Normally it’s difficult to use whey protein in UHT beverage applications because the protein is sensitive to high heat treatments and often turns into a thick gel, which is obviously not appropriate for products designed to be drunk. This has been a source of frustration for manufacturers of weight management products for two reasons.”

First, Mr. Andersen said, whey protein is the most efficacious source of protein. Second, consumers looking to manage their weight generally are looking for UHT beverages.

“As such, the inability to use whey protein in weight management beverages has been a constant thorn in the weight management industry’s side,” he said.

Research shows that eggs, and their protein content, promote satiety, according to the American Egg Board, Park Ridge, Ill. Published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, a study found an egg breakfast, when compared to a bagel breakfast, induced greater satiety and reduced food intake the rest of the day. The egg breakfast had 5 grams more protein than the bagel breakfast.

Significant amounts of protein and fiber are found in some ingredients. For example, dry peas have 26 grams of fiber and 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. Lentils (31 grams of fiber and 26 grams of protein per 100 grams) and chickpeas (17 grams of fiber and 19 grams of protein) are other options, according to the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, Moscow, Idaho.

Inulin and weight management

Fiber, like protein, may promote satiety and thus aid in weight management. In many food products promoted for fiber content, inulin or resistant starch may be found on the ingredient list.

Inulin is not digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract and is fermented in the colon, said Kristen Dammann, regulatory senior scientist for Cargill, Minneapolis. It has a lower caloric value than fully digestible carbohydrates. Its functional properties as a fat mimetic and bulking agent may enable caloric reduction by replacement for fat and/or sugar in food formulations while maintaining palatability of these products, she said.

Most of the work in regulation of appetite/satiety in humans has been done with oligofructose rather than inulin, Dr. Dammann said. The results concerning weight management have had some inconsistencies, she said.

“Therefore, the potential impact of inulin-type fructans on energy intake (and possibly on weight management) appears to be an emerging physiological benefit, and more research is needed in this area to fully elucidate the effects,” Dr. Dammann said.

Limited data suggest that long-term administration of inulin-type fructans may contribute to weight reduction, according to a study published on-line July 23, 2013, in Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. According to the researchers from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland, the mechanisms by which inulin-type fructans influence body weight are still unclear, and the next step is to determine how they operate. Generic terms used most frequently for inulin-type fructans are inulin, oligofructose and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), according to the study.

Many of the inulin ingredients on the market are derived from chicory root. Cargill offers Oliggo-Fiber inulin.

Oligofructose is derived from inulin through partial enzymatic hydrolysis, a transformation that occurs naturally in the chicory root during the late harvest period, according to Beneo. Orafti Synergy1 and oligofructose have been shown to help people eat less. They have been shown to contribute to reducing calories of a single food item and to decreasing the amount of calories that people consume per day.

Sensus America, Inc., Lawrenceville, N.J., offers Frutafit inulin and Frutalose oligofructose. Since they are colorless and have a neutral taste, the ingredients may be used to enrich many food products without affecting their appearance, texture or flavor, according to Sensus.

Resistant starch is part of another ingredient system, the Weightain satiety system, launched last year by Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill. It also involves whole grains, hydrocolloids and composite technology. Starch fermentation in the colon triggers satiety, according to Ingredion, while increased gastrointestinal viscosity prolongs absorption, reducing calorie consumption, and whole grains delay digestion.

Potential applications for the Weightain system include smoothies, shakes, granola-type bars, muffins, soups, noodles and pasta. Using the system has been shown to reduce calorie intake among consumers by about 50 to 100 calories a day, Ingredion said.

In regard to one more fiber ingredient, human clinical studies have shown that Litesse dextrose enhances satiety, thereby reducing subsequent energy intake, according to DuPont Nutrition & Health. The minimum dose of Litesse to achieve the enhancement of satiety and reduced energy intake is 6.25 grams. Litesse is recognized as a highly branched polymer of glucose, which is a soluble dietary fiber. Following ingestion, Litesse remains intact into the colon, where it is fermented partially by colonic microflora.