LaLa Curb yogurt smoothies
The consumption of dairy products enhances satiety and may aid in consumer weight loss efforts.

The dairy industry long has believed in the satiating function of its offerings, attributing the increased feeling of fullness after consumption to protein, milkfat and creamy mouthfeel. Increasingly there’s a body of science confirming the belief.

The February 2016 issue of Clinical Nutrition included a meta-analysis of published clinical trials that assess the effects of dairy products consumption on satiety and its components, such as appetite, hunger, prospective food consumption, fullness, desire to eat and second meal food intake. The analysis concluded that consumption of more than 500 milliliters, or about two cups, of dairy products significantly increases satiety.

Primary analyses indicated dairy consumption decreased energy intake in a second meal and significantly increased satiety. Further, although not statistically significant, dairy consumption also was associated with decreased appetite and decreased desire to eat.

Dairy consumption may help control body weight, said G. Harvey Anderson of the University of Toronto, a longtime researcher of the association between the impact of eating dairy products on weight management. He has stated that epidemiologically, it’s shown consistently that people who consume more dairy products have better control of body weight. Dairy products also appear to affect postprandial glucose levels, which are the glucose levels after a meal. This affects that feeling of fullness and decreases the desire to eat for energy.

Dr. Anderson and his colleagues previously studied the effects of the components of whole milk — proteins, fat and lactose — on satiety, and found milk proteins had the greatest effect on increasing postprandial glucose and satiety. Interestingly, the effect was greater with whole milk than the sum of its components, suggesting the macronutrients, and likely, milk’s micronutrients, work together synergistically. Additional research is needed to determine how different dairy products and their unique nutrient composition influence satiety.

In the meantime, marketers are wise to promote the protein content of dairy products, as research suggests that consumers associate protein with feeling full. Fiber is also well recognized as a satiating nutrient. Though not inherent to milk, like protein and fat, milk and products made from milk are welcoming to fiber ingredients, with many added invisibly. The three nutrients help consumers feel full and satisfied, which in turn helps them eat less and ultimately lose weight, and then maintain weight.

Understanding satiety

Satiety is influenced by a food when it is first viewed then consumed and continues as the food enters the gastrointestinal system and is digested and absorbed. There are visual cues that suggest a food may be satiating. For example, both a creamy and a clear beverage might possess the same caloric content and a similar nutrient profile, yet the creamy beverage may be perceived as being more filling. The visual suggestion of satiety was reported in the February 2015 issue of Trends in Food Science & Technology, where researchers suggested that a food’s satiating power is dependent not only on its nutrient composition but also the consumer’s sensory and cognitive appraisal. The review concluded that numerous features of a food product may be manipulated to enhance the consumer’s experience of satiety, with the combination of the features ultimately determining the effect on appetite control.

Biochemically speaking, satiety is all about signals that feed into specific areas of the brain in response to the expansion of the stomach. Hormonal signals also are released in response to the digestion and absorption of certain nutrients. The trio of satiating ingredients — fat, fiber and protein — participate in either or both of the biochemical reactions, with the unknown being how they synergistically work together when delivering on satiety mechanisms.

While scientists explore the relationships and their impact on satiety, dairy foods marketers are promoting the nutrient content of recent innovations, with hopes that consumers correlate protein, fat and fiber concentrations with inducing satiety, and ultimately assisting with weight loss and weight management. Currently, satiety claims must be approached with caution on foods, as such claims walk a fine line between food and drug in the eyes of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dallas-based LaLa U.S. is likely the dairy manufacturer that comes closest to addressing weight management with its new Healthies Curb smoothie line, the first of the brand’s new Healthies line, which will focus on better-for-you offerings. Healthies Curb combines grains — a source of fiber — and proteins for a nutritious beverage that fights hunger while on the go. That is the message the company communicates on product labels and its web site. Specifically, labels state: “Fights hunger with 10 grams of protein and 8 grams of whole grains.” Healthies Curb comes in three flavors — orange pineapple, toasted pecan and wild strawberry — and is sold in four-packs of 6.7-oz bottles.

The company also is addressing weight management with new LaLa 100 Calorie, a portion-controlled yogurt smoothie. While 100-calorie spoonable yogurts have been on the market and performing well for some time, consumers have not had the luxury of a portion controlled, on-the-go drinkable yogurt. The smoothies come in cherry vanilla, mountain blueberry and wild strawberry flavors in four-packs of 7-oz bottles.

B’More Organic, Baltimore, continues to revolutionize the functional beverage industry by packing in a powerful punch of real, clean, sustainable dairy protein in its Organic Skyr Smoothie line. With no added sugar and up to 40 grams of protein per bottle, the low-lactose, probiotic cultured dairy beverage is made with milk from grass-fed cows. The company’s most recent introduction is coconut, which joins banana, caffe latte, mango banana, plain, strawberry and vanilla. The new flavor is the first smoothie in the product line formulated with healthful plant-based fat.

“We love developing products that have the power to change lives, providing the delectable nutrient boost needed to inspire and enable people to fuel their fitness and B’More,” said Andrew Buerger, co-founder of B’More Organic. “We are thrilled to share the launch of B’More Coconut as it continues to demonstrate our commitment to creating innovative, clean protein smoothies that are delicious, clean, organic, ethically sourced and completely free of the junk ingredients so typical of the category. Our goal is to make it easy to enjoy great health.”

Every 15-oz bottle of B’More Coconut contains 16 grams of plant-based fats. To date, there are more than 1,500 studies proving coconut oil and coconut to be a healthy food. Coconut cream differs from coconut milk as it contains less water and more coconut. An excellent source of minerals, namely manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium and zinc coconut cream also contains B-vitamins, including folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Coconut cream is a great source of medium chain triglycerides, which turn to fuel in the liver and forgo stomach storage. Coconut cream has a unique combination of fats that has been found to be highly nutritious, said Mr. Buerger.

In September, Glendale, Calif.-based Nestle USA rolled out Nesquik Protein Plus, a new product line for adults who love the taste of chocolate milk, but want more protein in their daily diets. Perfect for the casual athlete as well as the aging baby boomer, a 14-oz single-serve bottle of Nesquik Protein Plus, which comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors, is packed with 23 grams of protein, while also having 28% less sugar than the leading protein-enhanced flavored milk.

Orgain Inc., Irvine, Calif., now offers a range of dairy-protein-based nutritional beverages to appeal to a range of consumers. The company most recently introduced a Grass Fed Protein nutritional protein shake. Each 11-oz shelf-stable drink box contains 20 grams of protein from 100% New Zealand-sourced grass-fed milk protein concentrate. The company said that grass-fed milk is 62% higher in omega-3 fatty acids, as compared to grain-fed milk, and contains up to five-times more conjugated linoleic acid. The new drink comes in two varieties: creamy chocolate fudge and vanilla bean. Each single-serve container provides 140 calories and 3 grams of fiber from added cellulose and gums.

Another new product is Orgain Organic Cold Brew Coffee + Protein. Available in iced coffee and iced mocha varieties, the beverages contain protein from grass-fed milk protein concentrate, cream and rice bran extract. Each 11.5-oz bottle contains 5 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein.

The Liberte brand of General Mills, Minneapolis, now offers eight varieties of whole milk yogurt. The one unflavored variety — sweet cream – starts with organic whole milk. A 5.5-oz cup contains 190 calories, 13 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein. The seven offerings come in an array of flavors, including pomegranate strawberry, mango, lavender, lemon, coconut and black cherry. Each single-serve container, which is in clear plastic to showcase the layered ingredients, contains 210 to 220 calories, 11 to 13 grams of fat and 4 to 5 grams of protein.

Dairy foods are well poised to assist consumers with their weight management efforts. They inherently deliver protein and fat, and are an ideal carrier for many fiber ingredients. The three macronutrients are a weight management powerhouse.