Whether trying to lose or maintain weight, today’s consumers are doing so by choosing their calories carefully. They don’t want to sacrifice taste or texture or have constant cravings. What they want is satisfaction in terms of energy, nutrition and sensory qualities because such satisfaction assists with their weight management efforts.

Delicious foods in moderation are often part of the equation. “We are seeing a general weight management consumer shift away from ‘dieting’ to ‘maintaining a healthy lifestyle,’ ” said Megan Keepes, marketing specialist, DuPont Nutrition & Health, New Century, KS.

This marks a different approach to dieting than in previous times. Caroline Brons, senior marketing manager, DSM Nutritional Products, Parsippany, NJ, explained, “There seems to be a shift away from dieting alone, in favor of a combination of diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle approach to weight management. Further, there is a greater awareness of satiety and the problem of feeling hungry.”

Satiety and managing hunger

According to the 2011 Gallup Study on Satiety, 74% of US consumers think they could successfully lose weight “if only I could manage my hunger.” This represented a 4% increase over the 2009 satiety survey. In the same survey, 45% of consumers reported that they were aware of food and beverages that help with satiety and feeling full longer.

“There is clear indication from American consumers that satiety and hunger management are a key component of their weight management efforts,” said Patrick O’Brien, marketing manager-bakery, Ingredion Inc., Westchester, IL.

It’s a matter of “making their calories count,” according to Anna Turner, sales manager-dehydrated edible bean, ADM, Decatur, IL. “Consumers understand that this not only helps them stay full but also provides nutrients for a healthy body.”

Low- or reduced-calorie baked goods and snacks can be a delicious, wholesome and familiar way for consumers to fill up. There are a growing number of ingredients that can reduce calories and provide satiety, making baked goods and snacks ideal weight-management foods.

When dieters are asked what food components they would like to limit in order to lose weight, sugar and fat are top of mind, according to Ms. Brons. As a result, sugar substitutes have become increasingly popular and so has the reduction of fat.          

“On the positive nutrition side, dieters indicate that fiber and whole grains, along with proteins, vitamins and minerals, are considered important to consume in sufficient quantities to lose weight,” Ms. Brons said. “Baked goods and snacks lend themselves perfectly to the ‘taking out the negatives and adding the positives’ trend.”

According to Mr. O’Brien, the challenge with replacing ingredients such as fat and sugar is the overall impact on taste, texture, sweetness and product quality. “Consumers are looking for better-for-you products but want the taste, texture and product quality equivalent to their full-fat, full-sugar counterparts,” he said.

Better-for-you carbs

Simple sugars, which are calorically dense and nutrient-void ­carbohydrates, seem to be what most consumers are aggressively trying to reduce in their diet. With baked goods, which by design are carbohydrate laden, bakers are learning how to formulate with better-for-you carbs. 

“Considering the frightening increase of obesity and diabetes prevalent in the US, it is time the food industry adapts new formulation approaches and makes smart carbohydrate ingredient choices to produce foods that address these epidemics,” said Joseph O’Neill, president and general manager, Beneo Inc., Morris Plains, NJ. “The key to a sustainable and healthy weight is to keep the balance between calorie intake and energy output. Smart carbohydrate ingredients can assist.”

Specialty carbohydrates and prebiotic fibers can help ­bakers address weight management from a smart energy management perspective. Beneo’s prebiotic fibers — inulin and oligofructose, both derived from chicory root — as well as its isomalt, which is a polyol derived from sugar beets, are technical solutions for fiber-enhanced and sugar-reduced grain-based baked goods.

“The benefit is that these ingredients offer the same taste and mouthfeel as the traditional sugar-based ­recipes,” Mr. O’Neill explained. “For example, isomalt has a sugar-like taste but at the same time is tooth-friendly, low glycemic and provides only half the calories of sugar. It replaces sugar in a 1:1 ratio in baked goods, enabling the production of sugar-free and sugar-reduced sweet treats.”

Chicory root fiber, according to Scott Turowski, technical sales manager, Sensus America Inc., Lawrenceville, NJ, offers some unique properties, further supporting its use in weight-management baked goods. “Chicory root fiber provides sweetness and humectancy,” he said. “And emerging clinical research suggests that chicory root ­fiber may lead to an overall reduction in calorie intake. It can help you eat less.”

The company offers partially enzymatically hydrolyzed inulin syrup with 65% the sweetness of sucrose. “Functionally, it performs similar to high-fructose corn syrup and can replace the majority of sugars and some of the fats in many baked goods,” Mr. Turowski said. “This sweet liquid fiber ingredient is 75% fiber and 25% sugar and contains about 2 Cal per g. It allows reduction in calories, sugar and fat, while at the same time it boosts fiber content.”

Soluble fiber and appetite

Complex carbohydrates fit well with the formulating needs of baked goods. Mr. O’Brien described an all-natural resistant starch obtained from Ingredion’s proprietary high-amylose corn. “It has been shown in clinical studies to increase satiety and reduce food intake, primarily as a result of its fermentation in the colon, which in turn triggers satiety and appetite-related hormones,” he reported. “It also impacts insulin sensitivity, a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

“It is a white fiber that seamlessly replaces up to 20% of flour in breads, baked goods and snack formulations,” he continued. “In gluten-free baked goods, it enhances product nutrition and improves texture.” The ingredient is labeled resistant starch, resistant corn starch or corn starch.

“We also offer a corn-based whole grain produced from the same ­proprietary high-amylose corn,” Mr. O’Brien added. “Clinical studies have shown a significant reduction in food and caloric intake among study subjects, as well as a satiety impact.”

Through a unique distribution agreement with Roquette, Geneva, IL, Ingredion markets soluble fiber based on either corn or wheat. Mr. O’Brien noted that this fiber has been demonstrated to help reduce food intake, and they are process-stable and easily incorporated into all types of baked goods and snacks. 

Soluble corn fiber is a specialty of Tate & Lyle, Hoffman Estates, IL. These ingredients help cut calories and sugars in baked goods, while at the same time they boost fiber content by as much as 85%. “The forms vary slightly in caloric content — 0.86 to 1.9 Cal per g — depending on the level of soluble fiber content,” said Rosemary Sikora, senior food scientist-applications. “Depending on the application, bakers can choose from liquid, powder and agglomerated forms for the best solubility. Liquid forms are often used to replace traditional syrups in granola/snack bars, cereal coating, chewy cookies and snack cakes. The dry version works well in cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins, sweet pastry, sweet buns, pie, icing/frosting and fillings.”

Oats were among the first cereal grains to be recognized for their fiber content. Deshanie Rai, senior scientific leader at DSM, said, “We offer oat beta-glucans that may promote fullness and support the feeling of satiety by increasing gastrointestinal (GI) viscosity. In this way, the food takes a longer time to be completely digested and therefore resides in the GI tract for a longer time. As a result, the body sends signals to the brain to suppress appetite.”

These oat beta-glucans are produced using a unique milling and sieving process that protects the three key parameters needed for oat beta-glucan’s health benefits: concentration, solubility and molecular weight, according to John Bolinger, new business development manager at DSM. “We use an all-natural soluble fiber harvested from pure Swedish oats. Bakers appreciate its neutral taste profile when used in bars, crackers, bread and other baked goods.”

Protein, lipid options

Ingredient choices that enable ­development of foods to help consumers with weight management can also be found among protein and lipid materials. DuPont offers a number of such ingredients. “Both soy protein and polydextrose have clinical research supporting their impact on satiety,” Ms. Keepes said. “In addition, with soy protein, there is research supporting the fact that as a protein source, it can help spare lean muscle mass while effectively supporting fat loss.”

The company recently developed a soy protein nugget that provides high-quality protein and both soluble and insoluble fiber in a crunchy, textured format. “The nuggets are particularly well-suited for bars intended as breakfast alternatives or for meal replacement as well as for use in other healthful snacks and baking ­applications,” said Kip Underwood, specialty business director-protein solutions at DuPont.

“Whether consumers are focused on general health, weight management or meal replacement, the widespread appeal of protein and fiber, and their ability to deliver a feeling of satiety, can be critical to the success of new, innovative baked goods,” Mr. Underwood added.

A new lipid-based ingredient provides a different pathway to satiety. DSM offers a patented and natural lipid emulsion consisting of droplets of palm oil coated with oat oil. Because of its composition, it is not digested as quickly as normal fat and, as a result, reaches the ileum (small intestine) relatively intact. Undigested fat triggers a specific site for satiety within the ileum, telling the brain through the release of a hormone (GLP-1) that the body is comfortably satisfied. This signaling mechanism, also called the ileal brake, causes satiety and a person tends to eat less.

“The fat from this ingredient is ­digested normally further on in the ileum,” Ms. Brons said. “A wide range of peer reviewed, published clinical studies, as well as mechanism-of-action and dose-response studies in normal weight, overweight and obese individuals, support its effect in appetite control and reduced-calorie intake.

“Bakers can use the ingredient for products positioned for ­satiety,” Ms. Brons added. “It’s labeled simply ‘palm oil, oat oil.’ ”

A different approach — a proprietary ingredient made using a unique emulsification process in combination with flavor and enzyme technology by Puratos, Cherry Hill, NJ — replaces and reduces fat in baked products. “The ingredient system is a gel that has a texture similar to traditional shortening but contains about 85% water,” said Joe Layton, R&D manager-patisserie mixes. “Finished goods made with this system appear and taste the same as products made with the standard recipe but with a 50% or more reduction in fat.”

Legumes are also an innovative weight-management ingredient. “We offer a full range of cooked, dehydrated legume powders and flours that can simply be identified as ‘navy beans (cooked, dehydrated)’ on the label,” Ms. Turner said of ADM’s cooked ground bean powder range. “Bean flours can be used as a flour replacement in baked items allowing more protein and fiber per serving than regular wheat flour. They also are gluten-free.”

The next big things

High-lipid algal flour from Roquette can assist bakers with reducing fat and calories in all types of baked goods. This non-GMO microalgae-based food ingredient is part of the company’s health and nutrition platform, which the company defines as “ensuring that ­calories and formulations are nutritionally and functionally balanced and optimized,” said Fernando Arias, commercial vice-president. This, of course, supports consumers’ weight management efforts.

“Microalgae are renewable resources that have the ability to improve the nutrition profile of baked goods while upholding superior sensory qualities,” Mr. Arias said. This ingredient’s composition is approximately half lipid, of which 69% is monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly oleic acid, and 12% is polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly linoleic acid. The remaining 19% is saturated fatty acids, mostly palmitic acid. About one-fifth of the ingredient is fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The rest is carbohydrate, protein, moisture and ash.

Compared with conventional blueberry muffins, 30%-lower-fat versions are possible with the addition of 1.7% high-lipid algal flour and 1.2% modified maize starch. This also reduces calories by 13%, cholesterol by 15% and saturated fatty acids by 40%. Similar reductions have been successfully made in chocolate chip cookies, with both formulations allowing fat and saturated fat reduction claims. The ingredient is declared simply as high-lipid algal flour.

With so many ingredients available to bakers, the ­industry is well poised to satisfy consumers in their ­efforts to battle the bulge.