The constant battle of controlling one’s weight is not an easy fight. Ingredient suppliers and manufacturers are doing their part to make the process simpler for consumers.
Being able to manage one’s weight has been an area of concern for decades, as supported by various statistics.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide obesity has almost tripled since 1975. In the year 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults (18 years and older) were overweight, with more than 650 million of that total being considered obese.
WHO determines what is considered overweight versus obese via the body mass index (BMI). A BMI greater than or equal to 25 would be considered overweight, while any amount greater than or equal to 30 would be considered obese.
To help consumers effectively manage their weight, ingredient suppliers and manufacturers have introduced products into the marketplace that have gained traction, and whose effectiveness is further supported by scientific evidence.
When it comes to weight management in the field of natural ingredients, it can seem intimidating as a result of all that it can encompass.
Similarly, Dr. Barbara Davis, PhD, RD, vice president of medical & scientific affairs at PLT Health Solutions, Inc. in New Jersey, said she finds it to be a combination of broad, promising and even confusing at times, due to the plethora of factors that surround the energy management portion of weight management. They consist of:
• Control of energy intake (appetite modification & satiety)
• Control of the availability of substrates (such as blocking the absorption of dietary fats)
• Control of fat reserves (modulation of lipolysis and lipogenesis)
• Control of energy expenditure (increasing thermogenesis)
Davis added that, “Today, PLT Health Solutions participates in the weight- management space with ingredients that operate in three out of these four different approaches to weight control—appetite modification (satiety), control of fat reserves and the increase of thermogenesis. Whether as standalones or as ingredients in combination with other weight management approaches, these are all safe, effective, science-supported ingredients that can be used to help companies in both the natural products and food and beverage markets develop effective products that consumers can trust.” In the weight management region, the company offers Satiereal, SLENDACOR and Xanthigen.
Separately, ingredients derived from botanicals have existed for years, and cannot only help tackle weight-management-related issues, but energy and mental focus as well. These botanical-based ingredients can even be found in other products too.
“Botanical ingredients, often from exotic plants from around the world, have been found in weight-management products for quite some time,” said Alison Raban, certified food scientist, BI (California). “They can be used for a number of different reasons, some to help support overall energy and mental focus, particularly with botanicals that have naturally occurring caffeine, others for their help maintaining satiety or boosting metabolism. Also, botanicals that are popular in other products, like adaptogens for example, are often included in weight-management product to support overall health.”
This ingredient can help properly manage one’s blood sugar, which as a result, can directly help with the aforementioned satiety and appetite control.
According to James Komorowski, MS, CNS, chief science officer with New York-based Nutrition 21, LLC, “Chromium is commonly regarded as an effective ingredient for helping to control blood sugar and carbohydrate cravings, as well as in fighting body fat and assisting in weight management. The ingredient is an essential trace mineral that has shown to have a positive effect on the actions of insulin within the blood, which contributes to the body’s ability to adequately manage blood sugar levels. If the body is successfully able to keep blood sugar levels in check, insulin levels can then be kept in check, thereby making weight and appetite control a bit more manageable.
“Nutrition 21’s patented chromium picolinate, known as Chromax, is supported by over 50 human clinical studies that have shown that the ingredient is safe and effective in supporting daily nutritional needs as they relate to heart and lipid health, appetite control and weight management, as well as glucose metabolism and insulin resistance.”
Trends & Innovations
As society advances, consumers are becoming more cognizant of the internal issues that can arise from struggling to manage one’s weight.
“The new and major trend of this growing market is that weight management is now even more aligned with global ‘health’ management,” observed Julie Imperato, marketing manager with Nexira in France. “People now take into consideration the fact that being overweight is not only a problem of physical appearance/external beauty, but is also generally linked to serious health problems (among others: cardiovascular, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.). Ingredients should therefore not only target weight loss, but also offer holistic health features. Nexira has developed three ingredients that answer each specific demand: lose weight, sculpt the body or reduce calorie intake.”
Precisely, these ingredients that Imperato alluded to include NeOpuntia, Cacti-Nea and ID-alG, which are able to reduce fat absorption, help sculpt the body and limit fat and sugar assimilation by the inhibition of specific enzymes respectively.
HORN, an ingredient distributor based in California, offers two ingredients—CeyLean and ChalCurb—that help target weight control through limiting carbohydrate absorption and lessening visceral fat.
“HORN Nutraceuticals has always researched ingredients that can address the fundamental issues of weight control,” stated Sandy Chien, PhD, vice president of innovative products at HORN (California). “Proper blood sugar management is key to the success of long-term weight control. Our innovative ingredient, CeyLean is a carbohydrate blocker that is derived from Ceylon cinnamon. Not only can it reduce the absorption of carbohydrates by inhibiting alpha amylase, but it also works with beta cells for insulin production. HORN has just completed two 60-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on ChalCurb that is proven to reduce the visceral fat, and therefore lowers the risks for developing metabolic syndrome. Weight loss is not only about the absolute loss of body weight, but overall health improvement.”
As an alternative, plant-based proteins have also continued to skyrocket in popularity. In fact, this can be attributed to the consumer effort in seeking more plant-based food choices. Further, fiber is also commonly found in products aimed at weight management.
“One of the biggest recent trends in the food industry as a whole, can also been seen in [the] weight-management segment with the proliferation of plant-based proteins,” Raban noted. “Protein has always been a part of most weight-management products, but with the consumer interest in plant-based eating, new and reformulated products are turning to more plant-based options outside of rice and soy, like beans, lentils and seeds. This is to cater to consumers who are vegan or vegetarian, but mostly to those that are just looking to limit the amount of animal based products they consume. Another trend is fiber, especially natural fruit and vegetable ingredients that add fiber. Similar to protein, high-fiber ingredients have often been used in weight-management products, and now the focus is on natural fiber from fruit and vegetable ingredients. A great example is BI’s Sweet Potato Powder—it’s high in fiber and adds a nice flavor, all while using a trendy and label-friendly ingredient.” In fact, the company said (via its website) that with up to 35 percent dietary fiber, this powder can reach quadruple the fiber available in conventional sweet potato powders.
Technologically speaking, manufacturers such as Sabinsa (New Jersey) have had success with “bi-layer technology,” a form of technology whose tablets are “gaining more acceptance among brand and generic products due to a confluence of factors including advanced delivery strategies, patient compliance and combination therapy” (sciencedirect.com). Sabinsa has even utilized this technology via two of their tablets.
“Just like any other category, innovation and newer technologies have greatly influenced the weight management segment as well,” said Shaheen Majeed, the company’s president worldwide. “As the category witnesses healthy growth, the entry of new and exciting weight-loss ingredients continues, thanks to the ongoing efforts on the research front by the industry. ‘Bi-layer technology’ is a great addition to dietary supplement industry when it comes to innovation and new technology. This bi-layer technology, brought from [the] pharmaceutical industry, has provided an advantage to supplement formulators because of the flexibility it offers. Sabinsa has adapted bi-layer technology named ‘Integrated Nutritional Composites (INC).’ The company has formulated several bi-layer INC tablets, including ForsLean and LeanGard.
“Having this technology, formulators can prepare bi-layer tablets to address issues related to chemical incompatibilities when a formulation demands several ingredients. Bi-layer technology not just helps physically separate incompatible actives and additives, but may also support different release profiles. For example, combination of different release profiles like immediate release (IR) and sustained release (SR) profile can be achieved in a single tablet.”
Capsules are climbing the list of common ways to consume supplements, as numbers indicate their increasing popularity over the past couple of years. This can be attributed to their transparency and simplicity. “Weight-management products can be delivered through lozenges, tablets, powders (for shakes), liquids (ready-to-drink beverages) and other methods (snack bars and gum),” according to Barri Sigvertsen, marketing manager with Switzerland-based Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition (formerly Capsugel). “Capsules, however, are making a real impression with manufacturers and consumers. According to Mintel, of the 731 new weight-management supplements launched globally since 2016, capsules as a delivery form ranked first at 38 percent for 280 product launches.
“Some of the advantages of capsules are very clear. The consumer mega-trends of transparency and authenticity are influencing buying in this category. Claims on some of the major new products speak to naturally nutrient-rich ingredients, non-GMO [genetically modified organism] verification and minimal processing. Brand companies are relying on capsules as their delivery form for their clean-label approach and because they are simple and convenient for consumers to use and consume. There are no messy packages. Capsules can slide right into purses, bags and pockets. They can be swallowed with just a swig of water, no mixing necessary.”
For instance, in relation to capsules and weight management, Justin Southern, a formulation scientist who also works with Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition, referenced Super CitriMax 60 percent HCA double salt Garcinia cambogia, which is “bound to the essential minerals calcium and potassium for maximum stability, solubility, bioavailability and efficacy. This dietary ingredient has been shown to reduce weight, curb appetite and break down fat. The dose of this material is 1,500 mg per day. Because of this large quantity—and because the material is colorless, odorless and tasteless—it is a great fit for Coni-Snap ‘sprinkle’ capsule. Upon opening the capsule, the contents can be added to water or a drink mix or consumed directly on the go. Sprinkle capsules are easy to transport and are a clean alternative to a plastic or foil sachet.”
Manufacturers are continuously accessing innovation and leaning toward more modern mediums, including those catered to bars and gummies, due to customer demand.
“While capsule, tablets and powders remain popular delivery forms,” mentioned Brian Appell, marketing manager, OmniActive Health Technologies (New Jersey), “increased consumer demand for functional foods and beverages are tasking manufacturers to develop products for bars, gummies, beverages and food. That means developing ingredients with neutral tastes and textures is paramount to making a successful formulation.” OmniActive manufactures products such as Capsimax via the company’s unique delivery system, while items such as OmniLean were designed under its PlantActive Verification program, which uses a combination of DNA barcoding and HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) analysis. These are compliant with proposed NDI (new dietary ingredients) regulations, as noted by the company.
Appell added that “Capsimax is manufactured using the OmniBead Delivery System, which delivers all the benefits of concentrated, highly active capsicum in a controlled-release coating without the oral and gastric burning sensation of unprotected red hot peppers. OmniLean was developed under our own quality assurance innovation—PlantActive verification which ensures traceability, authenticity consistency, as well as reliable performance.”
With weight management being at the top of many consumers’ priority lists, numbers show that there is quite a high demand for products in this category, and expectations of growth.
“According to a 2017 report published by Research and Markets, it was found that globally, over 80 percent of consumers are actively seeking to better manage their weight—whether that means gaining, losing or maintaining,” noted Komorowski. “Additionally, in a 2017 trends report published by Grand View Research, Inc., it was projected that the weight-management market is expected to reach $442.3 billion by 2025—that’s an increase from $214.7 billion in 2016, which is a big jump. A growing preference for fast foods and processed sugars, as well as an increase in individuals leading sedentary lifestyles, has led to a growing prevalence of obesity, which in turn impacts demand and the popularity surrounding weight loss/weight management solutions.
“To date, consumers seem to be more open to incorporating natural alternatives into their routines to support their weight-management goals, as there is increasingly positive evidence around specific ingredients and their efficacy, as related to their impact on weight.”
Consumers are eager to drop the pounds, however, as manufacturers continue to strive for better products, customers must know that the road to improvement requires patience.
“Weight management,” said Chien, “will always be in strong demand within the industry, considering almost 36 percent of the U.S. adults are obese, and almost 50 percent of Americans want to lose weight. However, consumers need to know there is no magic pill that can solve their problems overnight. Suppliers need to practice due diligence and continue to develop research in substantiating products. There will be growth simply because of the demand.”
In the field, ingredient suppliers such as OmniActive are interested in studies that demonstrate a reduction in caloric intake, an improvement in metabolism and an improvement in fat reduction, among other factors.
“OmniActive has conducted eight clinical trials on Capsimax supporting its role as a non-stimulant weight-management ingredient that targets body composition, satiety, fat breakdown and boosting metabolism,” Appell explained. “The results show that Capsimax can effectively: reduce caloric intake by about 140 calories per day by curbing hunger and the urge to snack; boost metabolism to increase caloric expenditure approximately 100 calories per day; and increase fat breakdown as evidenced by an 89 percent increase in free fatty acid levels in serum two hours after supplementation. This is not to say that every person consuming Capsimax will burn an additional 240 calories per day (these numbers are extrapolations based on the data) because there’s a lot of variability from person to person. But it does demonstrate the potential of Capsimax to influence those key areas of weight management that can add up to big results.”
As for OmniLean, Appell explained that although it’s not directly a weight management ingredient, it could affect carbohydrate metabolism. Derived from the Salacia chinensis plant, it can help manage blood sugar and increase satiety among other features. As of now, OmniActive has two published clinical studies, which demonstrate this ingredient’s effectiveness toward “healthy carbohydrate metabolism, healthy glycemic response and impact on satiety and hunger.”
Majeed indicated that over the years, research has made positive strides. A combination of consumer awareness along with product popularity has pushed ingredient development research forward.
“When it comes to ingredients, a lot of advancement has been made in recent times. In the beginning, weight-loss ingredients were comprised of polysaccharides, fatty acids, alkaloids, phytosteroids and minerals,” he said. “But now, with increasing consumer awareness and high demand for dietary supplements containing scientifically evaluated natural ingredients, the segment is seeing a host of natural weight-management ingredients. Examples include Coleus forskohlii, Garcinia cambogia, green tea extract, caffeine, Brazilian berry and others.”
As for PLT Health Solutions, the company noted that it strives to be as clear as possible when it comes to its studies—results should be presented in a manner that leaves no confusion.
“The weight-management research program designed by PLT Health Solutions has focused on endpoints and trial conditions that are favored by consumer products companies, regulatory agencies and the recommender community,” Davis said. “This begins with the randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study as the ‘gold standard’ of clinical work. Beyond this, studies need to have enough subjects to be sufficiently ‘powered.’ They need primary endpoints that are relevant. Because of the way different international communities look at weight management, it is helpful to have information expressed on multiple fronts, e.g., pounds/kilos lost, inches lost, BMI (body mass index), fat/lean mass, etc. Trials shouldn’t be designed around diseases and conducted with unhealthy subjects— because these results invite drug-type claims. So, overweight participants, rather than obese, need to be included in clinical studies. PLT is doing that.”
Davis added that the aforementioned research and education should be continuous.
“The real answer is you’re never ‘done’ studying the ingredients you market,” she continued. “It’s a form of support for your customers who are looking to build their own consumer brands, and these brands need continued nurturing. We can always learn more about the impact of our ingredients in supporting good health. Things like mechanism of action, dose response (can we do the same thing with less?) and corollary benefits are examples of why we might continue to study our ingredients once they have achieved the ‘claim threshold.’” NIE
For More Information:
Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition, www.lonza.com
Nutrition 21, LLC, www.nutrition21.com
OmniActive Health Technologies, www.omniactives.com
PLT Health Solutions, Inc., www.plthealth.com