In the past, the Dietary Guidelines provided advice for healthy Americans and their eating habits. In the face of the ongoing obesity crisis, however, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines targeted the nation’s unhealthy habits. For the second part of our online series on producing new products for satiety and weight management,Baking & Snackinterviewed Ody Maningat, PhD, vice-president of applications technology and technical services, MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS.

Baking & Snack: How is fiber or resistant starch related to weight management?

Ody Maningat:Evidence exists based on food consumption data and clinical studies regarding the inverse relationship between fiber and obesity. Among 4,000 Dutch subjects, those who ingested the most dietary fiber had lower mean energy intakes and lower Body Mass Index (BMI) values. A recent epidemiological study among US college students concluded that those ingesting the least fiber tended to be the most obese. In a French cohort of more than 6,000 men and women, those with the highest insoluble dietary fiber intakes were less likely to be overweight and to have elevated waist-to-hip ratios.

Body weight is a reflection of the balance between two variables: the calories a body takes in and the calories it burns off. It is proposed that fiber acts as a physiological obstacle to energy intake by at least several mechanisms, which helps explain the role of fiber in weight management: (1) Diets with adequate fiber are generally less energy dense (low caloric count). (2) Diets with sufficient fiber occupy greater food volumes (or bulk), which may curb intake of other foods. When ingested, the large food volume stays in the stomach longer, resulting in increase feelings of fullness. (3) Fiber, especially resistant starch, reduces glycemic response and promotes satiety, (4) Fiber is linked with reduced incidence of biomarkers of obesity, for example the hormone leptin. It is commonly understood that food cravings are triggered by the hunger hormone called ghrelin whereas the appetite-suppressing effect is mediated by several satiety hormones like cholecystokinin, GLP-1, PYY, and leptin.

Fiber or resistant starch can slow gastric emptying rate, reduce glycemic index (decrease glucose/insulin responses), and modify the release of hormones that control digestion and nutrient absorption, all of which can contribute to an increased feeling of satiety. Fibersym RW, a RS4-type resistant wheat starch produced by MGP Ingredients, Inc., has been shown in humans to attenuate blood glucose when consumed as a drink and to blunt blood glucose and insulin responses when consumed as a nutritional bar. The calculated caloric contribution is about one-third lower for Fibersym RW than for unmodified starch. The ability of resistant starch to treat or prevent obesity is linked to a number of studies, showing increased satiety after resistant starch consumption. For example, an evening meal high in resistant starch from barley increased the satiety scores measured after breakfast compared with an evening meal low in resistant starch.

Furthermore, muffins formulated with resistant starch displayed greater satiety scores more than 3 hours after consumption compared to control muffins.

It is now becoming clearer to some scientists about the possible relationship between the types of microorganisms in the lower gut (large intestine) and the regulation of body weight. Previous studies raised the possibility that human gut bacteria serve as another factor that contributes to differences in body weight among individuals. Researchers found out that in obese individuals, the proportion of the bacterial groupFirmicuteswas higher than the proportion in lean individuals.

When the obese individuals lost weight over a year, the proportion ofFirmicutesbecame more like that of lean individuals. Using mice in the experiment, they found that theFirmicutesbacteria in obese mice seemed to assist in extracting extra calories from ingested food that resulted in modest fat gain. Both human and mice data suggest that differences in the efficiency of caloric extraction from food may be determined by the composition of gut microbiota, which, in turn, may contribute to differential body weights. In a human feeding study, Fibersym RW induced compositional alterations in the fecal microbial populations. It increased the phylum-level population ofActinobacteriaandBacteroideteswhile decreasingFirmicutes. At the species level, Fibersym RW increased the cell counts ofBifidobacterium adolescentisandParabacteroides distasonis.

Would you provide some additional information that defines obesity?

Obesity is medically defined as a body mass index exceeding 30. Body mass index, or BMI, is a rough estimate of a healthy body weight based on the height of an adult individual. It is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of his or her height in meters. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered normal weight, a range of 25-29.9 is considered overweight, and less than 18.5 is underweight. It is estimated that an average American male has gained 17.1 lb since 1998 while the average female has added on 15.4 lb.

The statistics on obesity are sobering. Two-thirds of adult Americans are either obese or overweight. Among children, the percentage of obese or overweight is around 30%. In a recent CNN report, overweight kids have been labeled “coronary time bombs” as they are likely to develop heart disease when they grow into adulthood.

In 2008, obese persons in the US who are 30 or more lb over a healthy weight cost the country $147 billion in weight-related bills. A new study released in January 2011 by Society of Actuaries, put the healthcare costs from obesity epidemic at a stunning $300 billion in the US and Canada. In 2018, more than 40% of adults in the US will be obese and spending for this weight problem is estimated at $344 billion according to a new study at Emory University (Atlanta, GA).

The high price tag is simply because obesity is not a singular medical condition. Being overweight or obese is also associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, osteoarthritis, stroke, sleep apnea, asthma, cancer, and kidney and gall bladder disease. Obesity is responsible for about 100,000 cancer cases each year. Such alarming information about obesity and its toll on the human body has led to myriads of studies to deter its occurrence.

According to a report from Leatherhead Food Research, the weight management sector has grown to $7.3 billion, propelled by the global obesity epidemic. Ingredients being utilized in this sector include satiety products, appetite suppressants, fat and carbohydrate blockers, and metabolism boosters and regulators.

A primary care physician at Saint Luke’s Hospital (Kansas City, MO) stated that it is erroneous to call overweight conditions an obesity problem. He argued that it should correctly be called a lifestyle problem. Lifestyle is the cause and obesity is the effect.

Until and unless people begin to eat a healthy, fiber-fortified diet, practice portion control, and maintain a physically-active lifestyle, obesity and overweight conditions.

Editor’s Note: Check out next week’s Operations Update for another installment on Ingredients for weight management. Subscribe today.

Read More on the Subject:
Ingredients for weight management, part 1 with Dave Pfefer, product manager, enrichment/fortification blends, Caravan Ingredients
Ingredients for weight management, part 3 with Rhonda Witwer, senior business development manager, nutrition, National Starch Food Innovation
Ingredients for weight management, part 4 with Joseph O’Neill, executive vice-president of sales and marketing, BENEO Inc.
Satisfaction that Lasts
Into the future of weight management