A beverage containing alginate-pectin and calcium forms a stable gel in the stomach and boosts the feeling of fullness, report researchers from the University of Buffalo in collaboration with McNeil Nutritionals.
The novel formulation produced an immediate effect in the 29 overweight and obese women taking part in the study, with a 10 per cent reduction in energy intake between lunch and dinner reported as a result of consuming the beverage.
Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Christine Pelkman and co-workers report the potential of the two-part beverage to produce a stable, high-fibre gel in the stomach, thereby removing concerns about the palatability of the highly viscous fibres.
"The delayed-activation beverage system tested in this study represents an alternative approach for the delivery of gels into the gastrointestinal tract that circumvents the aversive effects of orally ingesting a gelled substance," wrote Pelkman.
The research taps into the burgeoning weight loss and management market, estimated to already be worth $7bn (€5.2bn) globally. It also has implications for diabetes.
With 50 per cent of Europeans and 62 per cent of Americans classed as overweight, the food industry is waking up to the potential of products for weight loss and management.
The slimming ingredients market can be divided into five groups based on the mechanisms of action - boosting fat burning/ thermogenesis, inhibiting protein breakdown, suppressing appetite/ boosting satiety (feeling of fullness), blocking fat absorption, and regulating mood (linked to food consumption).
The beverage was packaged into two parts, with one containing a 1.0 or 2.8 gram blend of alginate (1:1 Manugel LBA and GHB, ISP) and pectin (USPL220, CP Kelco). The second part provided about 500 mg of elemental calcium at the lactate salt. A control beverage with no alginate-pectin was also formulated. The drinks provided 40 kcal of energy.
Twenty-nine women with an average age of 33.4 and an average BMI of 30.6 kg per sq. m completed the trial, which involved ingesting the two-part beverage before breakfast and mid-afternoon. The three alginate-pectin formulations (zero (control), 1.0 g, and 2.8 g fibre) were consumed for seven days, with a seven day washout period between tests.
Pelkman and co-workers report a significant reduction in energy intake for both the 1.0 and 2.8 gram alginate-pectin formulations, compared to the control formulation. They add that two-thirds of this reduction was from consuming fewer carbohydrates.
Moreover, the effects of the gel beverage were only notable in women with poor dietary restraint status, with women with low restraint consuming 12 per cent less energy during the day after the 2.8 gram beverage, compared to control.
"The effects of foods designed to enhance satiety are likely to be modulated by dietary restraint and more successful for persons with low rigid restraint," wrote Pelkman. "It is unknown whether therapeutic approaches can be used to change a person's dietary restraint style from rigid to flexible.
"Combining such efforts with satiety-enhancing foods or beverages is worthy of further investigation and may lead to substantial improvements to current treatment approaches for controlling body weight."
The researchers added that the effects of the calcium-gelled, alginate-pectin appeared to be immediate, possibly due to the gel lumps delaying the absorption of nutrients. This would subsequently stimulate the incretin response, they said.
Incretins are gastrointestinal hormones, like glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), which delay the emptying of the stomach (gastric emptying) and thereby promoting the feeling of fullness.
Future research to determine the effects of longer-term consumption or increased consumption frequency on energy intake, concluded the Pelkman and co-workers.
The study was funded by McNeil Nutritionals.
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
December 2007, Volume 86, Number 6, Pages 1595-1602
"Novel calcium-gelled, alginate-pectin beverage reduced energy intake in nondieting overweight and obese women: interactions with dietary restraint status"
Authors: C.L. Pelkman, J.L. Navia, A.E. Miller and R.J. Pohle