Consumer education on satiety may be called for

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Weight management was a topic on many people's lips at HIE in
Frankfurt last week, with a particular emphasis on satiety. But
while several satiety-boosting ingredients are grabbing industry
attention, are consumers ready for the concept?

Amongst the weight management on display at HIE were Lipid Nutrition's appetite-suppressant PinnoThin, new-comer Berkem's coffee-derived Svetol - which won silver and bronze in the HI Awards respectively - and DSM Food Specialities' satiety booster Fabuless (formerly known as Olibra). Orafti was also discussing satiety as a key area of research for its prebiotic fibre products.

Satiety is defined as the control of hunger between meals, which can prove a stumbling block for people who have adapted their eating habits in an effort to lose weight and cause them to eat snacks or give up entirely. However foods with enhanced satiety should not be regarded as a stand-alone magic bullet; they should be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet, to avoid deficiency of any essential nutrients.

Christine Nicolay, marketing and communication manager for Orafti, told NutraIngredients.com that, from research conducted in France this year, it was clear that consumers still need a lot of education in link between prebiotics and satiety.

"It is very important for consumers to understand the difference between 'satiety' (feeling of satisfaction after and in-between meals) and 'satiation' (immediate satisfaction during the meal,"​ she said.

"If you want to control his food consumption and energy intake, the consumer has to work on the 'long term' satiety effect."

Satiety has been an area of research interest for Orafti for the past five years. Since a recent pilot study yielded positive results of the effects of Beneo oligofructose on satiety in humans, Nicolay said Orafti has been "very excited" about the potential.

"We are concentrating our efforts on satiety,"​ she said.

David Jobse, DSM's product manager for Fabuless, said he believes that satiety has already become mainstream. It goes one step beyond the long-understood idea that weight loss occurs when calories burnt exceed calories consumed.

"We think Fabuless is different as it has a proven effect on calorie intake."

Four studies conducted at the University of Ulster have indicated that the ingredient reduces in calorie intake at subsequent meals by between 12.5 to 29 percent, with effects lasting more than eight hours. (International Journal of Obesity​ (2000) 24, 1419-1425; (2001) 25, 1487-1496; European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002) 56, 368-377).

Following its recent acquisition of Lipid Technology Providers, DSM has just launched a product called Slimthru in Boots stores in the UK - a liquid supplement containing Fabuless (formerly known as Olibra). This format relies heavily on consumer understanding, since they mix the liquid directly with food or drinks to boost satiety.

Despite this evident confidence, DSM is not blasé about education. It has a consumer-oriented website explaining how Fabuless can help people 'resist temptation', and is conducting consumer research to ascertain their understanding, the results of which will be shared with customers to help them develop the right positioning for products containing Fabuless as an ingredient, Jobse said.

Sue Baic, registered dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, told NutraIngredients.com that Slimthru could prove a useful weight loss tool.

"Anything that adds to our armoury of ways to help people lose weight is useful,"​ she said, "but people need to have the appropriate nutritional education. We live in an obesogenic society."

She does not think the concept of satiety is hard for consumers to grasp, but that possible there is not enough education out there at the moment.

Baic said that functional foods may have an impact on obesity, but the same effect would be create by eating lots of fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and low glycaemic index foods - which contain other beneficial nutrients as well.

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