Linda Ohr

Linda Milo Ohr

Weight-management supplements and functional foods have grown in sophistication. For example, Natrol Inc., Chatsworth, Calif. (phone 818-739-6000,,, offers Slenderite, a dietary supplement that combines fi ve ingredients to promote weight loss: a starch neutralizer to delay digestion and absorption of carbohydrates; epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) to promote fat oxidation; caffeine; chromium picolinate to help metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and protein; and 5-hydroxy-tryptophan to improve mood while dieting.

Yogurt fortifi ed with a patented combination of oat and palm oils improves weight maintenance in overweight women.GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Philadelphia, Pa. (phone 888-825-5249,,, offers the supplement alli, which contains 60 mg of orlistat, a lipase inhibitor that blocks absorption of some fat in foods. Lightfull Satiety Smoothie from Lightfull Foods, San Francisco, Calif. (phone 888-367-2825,, contains 5–6 g of fi ber and 6 g of protein to help people feel full and satisfi ed for 2–3 hr on average.

As these products show, weight-management ingredients increase satiety, enhance metabolism, promote fat oxidation, and increase lean body mass. Here is a closer look at some of the ingredients used in these products.

Whole Grains and Fiber
Whole grains and fi ber benefi t weight management by affecting satiety, body mass index, and metabolism. van de Vijver et al. (2007) showed that whole-grain consumption may protect against becoming overweight or obese. They found an inverse association between whole-grain consumption and body mass index (BMI) and risk of overweight and obesity in an analysis of 2,078 men and 2,159 women, age 55–69 years.

Fiber, such as polydextrose, inulin, and resistant starch also affect weight. For example, King et al. (2005) showed that the polydextrose Litesse®, from Danisco, Elmsford, N.Y. (phone 913-764-8100,, can promote satiety. They gave eight female and seven male subjects various yogurt formulations that contained either polydextrose, xylitol, or both for 10 days. They concluded that the usefulness of xylitol and polydextrose for appetite control is a result of the ingredients’ lower energy content and suppression of appetite.

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Abrams et al. (2007) showed the long-term benefits of an oligofructose-enriched inulin, Beneo Synergy1, from Orafti Active Food Ingredients, Malvern, Pa. (phone 610-889-9828,, on modulating BMI and body composition changes during pubertal growth. They gave 100 healthy, non-obese adolescents age 9–13 years a daily supplements of either 8 g of Beneo Synergy1 or a maltodextrin placebo (both via orange juice or milk) together with their breakfast for one year. The subjects were then kept under study for another year without the supplementation. The increment in BMI over the intervention year was much lower for the experimental group. Body weight and body fat mass were also signifi cantly lower in this group compared to the control group. During the followup period, the difference in BMI between the two groups was maintained and even increased after stopping the supplement for an entire year.

Research presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of NAASO, The Obesity Society showed that fermentation of natural resistant starch derived from corn is an important and previously underestimated mechanism in weight management (National Starch, 2006) Previously, it had been assumed that energy dilution and bulking were the dominant mechanisms responsible for dietary fi ber’s benefi ts. Additional research by the same team of researchers showed that the dietary consumption of Hi-maize® resistant starch from National Starch Food Innovation, Bridgewater, N.J. (phone 800-743-6343,, signifi cantly increased important satiety hormones and reduced abdominal fat in animal models.

Fat-Based Ingredients
Lipid-based ingredients affect weight by promoting satiety and increasing lean body mass. A patent-protected combination of oat and palm oils that is formulated in a novel emulsion, Fabuless, from DSM Food Specialties, Parsippany, N.Y. phone 610-650-8480,,, is said to promote satiety. Its microstructure prevents the digestion of palm oil droplets until relatively deep in the small intestine. Undigested fat arriving in the latter part of the small intestine triggers an “appetite satisfi ed” signal to the brain.

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Diepvens et al. (2007) showed that consumption of yogurt containing Fabuless improved weight maintenance in 50 overweight women age 18–58 years. The researchers assigned them to an initial 6-week weight-loss period followed by randomization to receive either a daily dose of yogurt containing Fabuless or a placebo for 18 weeks. After the initial weight loss stage, the control group regained an average of 3 kg while the experimental group did not experience a signifi cant increase in body weight. The experimental group was less hungry 4 hr after yogurt consumption at the end of the study.

Steck et al. (2007) showed that a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), Tonalin® from Cognis Nutrition and Health, LaGrange, Ill. (phone 708-579-6150,, increased lean body mass in obese humans. Daily supplementation with 6.4 g of CLA for 12 weeks had no signifi cant effect on body fat mass, weight, BMI, resting energy expenditure, or respiratory quotient. In addition, Close et al. (2007) showed that 23 overweight adults experienced increased fat oxidation and energy expenditure (fat burning) during sleep, suggesting that the mechanism for the effi cacy of CLA supplementation for fat loss is at least partially due to increased fat oxidation during sleep.

In August, Lipid Nutrition, Channahon, Ill. (phone 815-730-5200,, announced that its CLA, Clarinol, would be included in Jamba Juice’s Weight Burner Super Boost and Fit ’n Fruitful Smoothie. Lipid Nutrition also offers PinnoThin, a Korean pine nut oil–derived ingredient that suppresses the desire to eat. The ingredient stimulates the release of the hunger-suppressing hormone cholecystokinin and a glucagon-like peptide, which not only helps the body digest fats better but also sends a “full” feeling to the brain.

Neobee ® medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) from Stepan Company, Northfi eld, Ill. (phone 847-446-7500,, is a readily absorbed, low-calorie fat source that travels directly to the liver and is metabolized in one-eighth as long as long-chain triglycerides. As a result, MCTs are preferentially burned for energy and do not accumulate in the body as fat, making them ideal ingredients for products targeting weight-challenged consumers.

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High-protein diets are benefi cial in weight maintenance because of their satiating and thermogenic effects. Classens et al. (2007) investigated the effect of soy protein hydrolysate (SPH) with and without a carbohydrate pre- and afterload on energy metabolism and hormonal secretion in eight healthy, non-obese subjects. The results showed that the larger diet-induced thermo-genesis (DIT) that occurred after consuming protein rather than after consuming CHO may be related to the glucagon response that is induced by protein but not by CHO.

A University of Illinois study compared the effects of SPH and soy peptides with those of leptin, hypothesizing that soy might behave in the body in a similar way (Illinois, 2007). Leptin is a hormone produced in adipose tissue that interacts with receptors in the brain and signals a sense of fullness. The researchers found that soy affected these mechanisms and hormones by boosting metabolism, not by reducing food intake.

Consuming whey protein in combination with performing resistance exercise can boost the rate at which the body makes lean muscle mass. Wilkinson et al. (2007) examined the effect of consuming a milk or soy beverage on rates of whole-body protein synthesis, breakdown, and oxidation, as well as muscle protein synthesis and net muscle protein balance following resistance training in eight men who regularly participated in weightlifting activities. They showed that milk consumption after exercise resulted in a greater net muscle protein balance and 34% more muscle protein synthesis compared to soy consumption. They concluded that chronic consumption of milk proteins after resistance exercise likely supports a more rapid lean mass accrual.

Berkem Inc., New York, N.Y. (phone 646-274-1292,,, offers Svetol®, a natural plant extract of decaffeinated green coffee. It is rich in chlorogenic acids and caffeic acid, which limits the oxidation of lipids in the liver. A recent study conducted at Bordeaux University showed that the extract inhibited glucose-6-phosphatase, a hepatic enzyme involved in glucose release from the liver into the bloodstream (Berkem, 2007).

In December 2006, Pharmachem Laboratories Inc., Kearny, N.J. (phone 800-526-0609,, announced that the Food and Drug Administration did not object to weight control and starch reduction claims for the company’s Phase 2 Starch Neutralizer® dietary ingredient and fi nished dietary supplement products containing the ingredient. The structure/function claims for the proprietary extract of the white kidney bean are “May assist in weight control when used in conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise program” and “May reduce the enzymatic digestion of dietary starches.”

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Both Phase 2 and StarchLite (food version of Phase 2) have been affi rmed GRAS for dietary supplements and food products, respectively. The white kidney bean extract “neutralizes” the digestive enzyme alpha-amylase before it can convert starch into glucose and then fat. Celleno et al. (2007) examined a dietary supplement containing 445 mg of the extract on body composition of overweight human subjects. After 30 days, subjects receiving the extract had signifi cantly greater reduction of body weight, BMI, fat mass, adipose tissue thickness, and waist/hip/thigh circumferences while maintaining lean body mass.

EGCG, a green tea extract, is believed to reduce body fat by enhancing metabolism and increasing fat oxidation. DSM Nutritional Products, Kaiseraugst, Switzerland (phone +41-61-688-33-33,, offers Teavigo®, a natural EGCG with a purity of a minimum of 94% on dry basis. Nagao et al. (2005) showed that EGCG promoted weight loss and fat loss in 35 healthy male subjects on a moderate diet (providing 90% of individual energy intake).

HCA and Chromium
InterHealth Nutraceuticals Inc., Benicia, Calif. (phone 707-751-2800,, offers Super CitriMax® and ChromeMate® for weight management. Super CitriMax, a patented form of hydroxycitric acid (HCA) bound to calcium and potassium, has been clinically shown to suppress appetite and inhibit fat production without stimulating the central nervous system. ChromeMate, a patented niacin-bound form of chromium, is an essential trace mineral important for normal insulin function, weight loss, and lean body mass. It is affi rmed as Generally Recognized as Safe for use in functional beverages. Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center showed that ChromeMate affects fat metabolism and muscle activity at the genetic level (InterHealth, 2007).

by Linda Milo Ohr,
Contributing Editor,
Denver, Colo.
[email protected]

About the Author

Linda Milo Ohr is a food scientist and writer based in Highlands Ranch, Colo. ([email protected]).
Linda Ohr


Abrams, S.A., Griffi n, I.J., Hawthorne, K.M., and Ellis, K.J. 2007. Eff ect of prebiotic supplementation and calcium intake on body mass index. J. Pediatrics 151: 293-298.

Berkem. 2007. New scientifi c evidence of Svetol’s unique mechanism of action. Press release, Berkem Inc., New York, N.Y., April 11.

Celleno, L., Tolaini, M.V., D’Amore, A., Perricone, N.V., Preuss, H.G. 2007. A dietary supplement containing standardized Phaseolus vulgaris extract infl uences body composition of overweight men and women. Intl. J. Med. Sci. 4: 45-52.

Claessens, M., Calame, W., Siemensma, A.D., Saris, W.H.M., and van Baak, M.A. 2007. The thermogenic and metabolic eff ects of protein hydrolysate with or without a carbohydrate load in healthy male subjects. Metabolism 56: 1051-1059.

Close, R.N., Schoeller, D.A., Watras, A.C., and Nora, E.H. 2007. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation alters the 6-mo change in fat oxidation during sleep. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 86: 797-804.

Diepvens, K., Soenen, S., Steijns, J., Arnold, M., and Westerterp-Plantenga, M. 2007. Long-term eff ects of consumption of a novel fat emulsion in relation to body-weight management. Intl. J. Obesity 31: 942-949.

Illinois. 2007. How does soy promote weight loss? University of Illinois scientist fi nds another clue. Press release, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill., May 2.

InterHealth. 2007. ChromeMate® favorably infl uences genes that promote muscle development, burning of brown fat. Press release, InterHealth Nutraceuticals Inc., Benicia, Calif., Jan. 16.

King, N.A., Craig, S.A.S., Pepper, T., and Blundell, J.E. 2005. Evaluation of the independent and combined eff ects of xylitol and polydextrose consumed as a snack on hunger and energy intake over 10 d. Brit. J. Nutr. 93: 911-915.

Nagao, T., Komine, Y., Soga, S., Meguro, S., Hase, T., Tanaka, Y., and Tokimitsu, I. 2005. Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 81: 122-129.

National Starch. 2006. New research shows natural resistant starch increases metabolic biomarkers for satiety and reduces abdominal fat. Press release, National Starch Food Innovation, Bridgewater, N.J., Oct. 24.

Steck, S.E., Chalecki, A.M., Miller, P., Conway, J., Austin, G.L., Hardin, J.W., Albright, C.D., and Thuillier, P. 2007. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for twelve weeks increases lean body mass in obese humans. J. Nutr. 137: 1188-1193.

van de Vijver, L.P.L., van den Bosch, L.M.C., van den Brandt, P.A., and Goldbohm, R.A. 2007. Whole-grain consumption, dietary fi bre intake and body mass index in the Netherlands cohort study. Euro. J. Clin. Nutr., Advance online publication, Sept. 26. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602895.

Wilkinson, S.B., Tarnopolsky, M.A., MacDonald, M.J., MacDonald, J.R., Armstrong, D., and Phillips, S.M. 2007. Consumption of fl uid skim milk promotes greater muscle protein accretion after resistance exercise than does consumption of an isonitrogenous and isoenergetic soy-protein beverage. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 85: 1031-1040.