Weight management – Keeping the kilos off (Part 3): Trends, innovation and strong opinions

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17 Nov 2017 --- Weight management is a hot topic in the nutrition industry, and NutritionInsight has solicited the views of medical professionals and industry insiders on the next steps to take. Today, in the final part of a special report, we share the trends in the industry, some new R&D and expert opinions in the space in general.

Top trends for staying slim
There are numerous nutrition-related trends currently driving innovation across the weight management category, notes Daniel Eder, Product Development & Application, WILD Flavors & Specialty Ingredients, ADM: “Whether it’s growing demand for high protein, high fiber, reduced sugar or low fat products, or the trend towards more natural, clean label, vegetarian and vegan options, manufacturers must develop products that meet multiple consumer requirements.”

Trust and transparency are key trends in the world of weight management products, according to Karin Nielsen, Vice President of ID Nutra SL: “This means that consumers look for clean label, natural, and thoroughly documented products.” Megan De Stefano, Global Probiotics Marketing Leader, DuPont Nutrition & Health, also notes: “For all categories, natural and clean label continue to be driving trends.”

“The microbiome is a hot topic, but no breakthrough yet,” says Dr. Steven Heymsfield of Pennington Biomedical Research Center, a leading expert in weight management, metabolism and body composition. Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication at Beneo, also offers her view on the subject: “Scientists are looking into the effects of how intestinal bacteria can influence what happens in the brain.”

“Several research groups have provided new insights into the mechanism link, revealing the beneficial effects of chicory root fibers on food intake, resulting from their specific prebiotic fermentation properties and the cross-communication with the brain via the gut-brain axis,” Sentko adds. “Short-chain fatty acids formed during fermentation positively influence satiety regulation in the brain, reducing appetite and subsequent food intake.”

Alternate day fasting is in the press, but in the end, you still need to practice healthy diet and activity skills,” suggests Dr. Heymsfield of other dietary options. “It might work for some people.”

Grand scale for ingredients and R&D
Innovation continues in the popular weight management space. “We’re just launching SatiPlus, which we’re encasing in conceptual solutions with complimentary ingredients and into convenience formulations,” says ID Nutra’s Nielsen. “This work will be ongoing for the coming years as there are three dimensions to work on: formulation, combination and packaging formats.”

Elsewhere, DuPont has recently launched a probiotic for weight management. “For brands looking to support consumers’ desires to manage their weight naturally, HOWARU Shape is a unique combination of probiotic (B420) and prebiotic (Litesse Ultra) (or solo probiotic) clinically proven to keep your waist trim,” De Stefano of DuPont explains. She adds that double-blind, placebo-controlled results of the combination product compared to placebo after six months indicate 4.5 percent less total body fat mass, 6.7 percent less trunk fat and 2.6cm smaller waist circumference.

“The unique results are obtained with no changes to your diet or exercise habits and there are no stimulants so consumers will feel like themselves while controlling body fat mass and improving body composition. It is a natural boost to weight management efforts,” says De Stefano. “We will continue to work in this category for probiotics, prebiotics, and other ingredients in our DuPont Nutrition & Health portfolio.”

“ADM’s ever-expanding range of on-trend and purposeful ingredient solutions can help developers to address specific market challenges, while achieving the desired taste, nutrition, labeling and cost,” reports Eder. “For example, Fibersol – a premier line of plant-based soluble dietary fiber ingredients – can increase fiber content without the usual drawbacks of fiber, alongside additional benefits. Fibersol can also be paired with ADM’s Textura soy protein crisps to impart great texture and taste, while reducing the simple carbohydrate ratio, in applications such as protein bars.”

“ADM also offers a comprehensive portfolio of plant-based proteins that deliver at least 90 percent protein and include some of the most neutral tasting isolated soy proteins on the market,” Eder adds. “The product lines Pro-Fam and Clarisoy can be used to increase protein content in a variety of weight management applications, including beverages, bars and dairy alternatives.”

Following ADM’s acquisition of Chamtor, the company’s product portfolio now includes Nutriance, a range of wheat protein concentrates that are “ideal for inclusion in beverages, nutritional bars and meal replacements.”

“ADM is also able to offer an extended range of sweetening solutions,” Eder says. “In combination with our already vast portfolio, the addition of these new ingredient ranges means that we can provide developers with a toolbox of ingredient solutions to cater to their needs.”

Strong opinions on heavy question of future action
“Healthy weight management is key to losing weight, in the case of obesity, as well as avoiding weight gain when you wish to ‘stay as you are,’ but also to support healthy growth and development in children,” says Sentko of Beneo. “Accordingly the ‘weight balance’ needs to be driven by the food we eat and Beneo’s ingredients help in this respect. Following a healthy diet that considers your metabolism in combination with exercise should therefore be a decisive factor for consumers.”

“I think it’s time to discuss the associated issues, such as diabetes, heart diseases, social status etc. and wish the European commission responsible for the food sector would support a more practical angle to development bilateral projects amongst industry and experts, which should include more consumer insights and product development and less science,” says Nielsen of ID Nutra.

“The factual part of the overweight in our society is clear and I do not believe science will find the silver bullet to fix it,” Nielsen continues. “The solutions must come from industry, but the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to invest in such innovations, and this will leave us with the same megabrands which have caused this crisis.”

From a medical professional’s perspective, Dr. Heymsfield insists: “A healthy diet and appropriate activity level are steps 1 and 2. No non-prescription ingredients have yet to prove effective and safe. Avoid fad diets and specious products.”

“Supporting weight management can be achieved through reformulating products and reducing the portion size to reduce overall excess calorie intake,” Jenny Rosborough, Nutritionist and Campaign Manager at Action on Sugar, adds. “However, food choice must also be considered and food and drink companies have a long way to go in promoting the healthier choice – which would involve restrictions on marketing and adding price promotions to foods and drinks high in saturated fat, salt and sugar.”

The industry and medical professionals seem to be united in the belief that action needs to be taken to address the health issues that come with weight management. Although the levels of optimism about the industry’s ability to tackle these problems vary, it certainly appears that weight management will be unavoidable as an ongoing concern for consumers in the future.

By Paul Creasy

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