Now's the time for a gut check

Besides acknowledging that exercising more and eating less must form the foundation of any long-term weight-control strategy, honest formulators can take a number of different approaches to the problem of how to help consumers achieve their weight loss goals.

Hank Schultz, Senior Editor

August 19, 2010

8 Min Read
Now's the time for a gut check

Of all the health conditions that motivate consumers, perhaps none delivers a more powerful message than what they read on the bathroom scale. As waistlines across the world bulge, the objects of popular admiration go in the other direction; witness the cases of certain actresses who seem bent on starving themselves to death and setting an unhealthy and unattainable standard of beauty in the process.

But body-image issues aside, people really are getting fatter — dangerously so, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which estimated that, globally in 2005, 1.6 billion adults were overweight and at least 400 million adults were obese. WHO also projected that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and obesity will affect more than 700 million people worldwide. And lurking in the shadows is the prospect of epidemic levels of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

A similar cloud hangs over this sector as in the erectile-dysfunction category; shady operators have been flooding the market with products purporting to be supplements that are, in fact, laced with counterfeit sibutramine, an appetite-suppressant drug. FDA has been identifying adulterated products and issuing warnings but lately seems to be playing a version of whack-a-mole as new offenders pop up overnight like mushrooms after rain. Combine this with the smarmy late-night TV sellers playing on consumers' desperation with ridiculous belly- and thigh-fat reduction claims (and sometimes simply stealing their money), and you've got a public-relations nightmare.

Besides acknowledging that exercising more and eating less must form the foundation of any long-term weight-control strategy, honest formulators can take a number of different approaches to the problem of how to help consumers achieve their goals.

Sharpen the calorie-cutting saw
Caloric reduction is a long-established strategy. "Low-cal" is as old as the first artificial sweeteners, saccharin and sodium cyclamate. More recently, sucralose, which briefly flew in the natural stratosphere, and all-natural alternatives such as stevia (aka, Reb-A) have taken their place. It's a powerful marketing strategy, and alternatives to sugar enjoy a bright future, especially in beverage formulations. Stevia in particular is burning bright, and formulators seem to be getting their arms around its aftertaste challenges. From an epidemiological standpoint, though, it's a questionable strategy, as consumers' waistlines have ballooned seemingly in lockstep with the number of lower-calorie choices.

Burning more calories — i.e. thermogenisis — is another choice. "Thermogenesis speeds up the metabolism, so you burn more calories. It is the only scientifically proven method of losing weight and toning muscle," said Bob Green, president ofNutratech Inc, which offers Advantra Z, a proprietary bitter-orange ingredient. "You really can't be in the weight-management business without a thermogenic component." Green said the ingredient has enjoyed annual double-digit growth since it was introduced 15 years ago.

Full-court press on absorption
Blocking calories once you've swallowed them is trickier. A longtime player in the field is New Jersey-based Pharmachem Laboratories, which offers a trio of ingredients, labeled Phase 1, 2 and 3, with the latter two working to block calorie uptake. "Phase 2 is the jewel in the crown jewel of specialty ingredients," said Mitch Skop, senior director of product development. "We developed it from scratch and it has become a very important part of what we do."

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Other Suppliers

Bioenergy Ribose
For those just starting an exercise regime or exercise more sporadically, prolonged muscle soreness and fatigue can be debilitating. Bioenergy Ribose shortens recovery time, reduces muscle soreness, and limits the onset or severity of fatigue for athletes at all levels.
[email protected]
Ham Lake, Minnesota, USA

Bio Serae Laboratories SAS
ID-alG is a brown seaweed extract which offers full spectrum weight management support. ID-alG contributes to reduce caloric intake by inhibiting digestive enzymes (lipase and amylase). A recent clinical study confirmed ID-alG's weight-management properties in woman: it helped to lose weight, reduce fat mass and shape the figure.
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+33 468 76 76 20
Bram, France

Zerose erythritol
Zerose erythritol is a natural bulk sweetener that has zero sugar, zero calories and zero aftertaste. It tastes about 60 to 70 percent as sweet as sugar, provides bulk and masks the aftertaste of intense sweeteners. It is suitable for dental health, weight management and sugar avoiders.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

DSM Nutritional Products
Fabuless is a unique, patented lipid emulsion designed for use in foods, beverages and dietary supplements formulated for satiety. Fabuless is supported by numerous published clinical studies and has proven worldwide market success. Fabuless works with the body's own appetite-control mechanism (ileal brake) and is THE natural way to eat less!
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Parsippany, New Jersey, USA

Gencor Nutrients, Inc.
SLIMALUMA reduces appetite, body fat and waist circumference.  Winner of the Frost & Sullivan Global Appetite Suppressant and Satiety Ingredients Product Innovation of the Year Award for 2008, Slimaluma is backed by two human clinical trials, six safety studies, and two U.S. patents. See for more details.
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Anaheim, California, USA

Gum Technology Corporation
Coyote Brand Stabilizer CKX-Fax Replacer

Humanetics Corporation
7-Keto is a nonstimulant, thermogenic fat burner that effectively allows the body to burn fat more efficiently. Normally found in our bodies, 7Keto declines dramatically with age, with a 50% loss of endogenous 7-Keto levels by age 40, resulting in the inability to burn fat like when we were younger. Multiple clinical studies have shown that 7-Keto produces three times greater weight loss than placebo (diet and exercise) and increases metabolism by 5.4% compared to placebo.
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In clinical study, InSea² significantly decreased blood glucose and insulin responses that follow a high carbohydrate meal, and improved insulin sensitivity. InSea² may thus be used in formulations of natural health products aimed at reducing the negative impact of high glycemic index foods, which is very helpful in weight management.
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InterHealth Nutraceuticals Inc.
Super CitriMax

Kyowa Hakko USA
Cognizin Citicoline
Extensive research has shown that citicoline increases levels of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain.  A recent study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders revealed that individuals receiving Cognizin citicoline experienced a 12 percent reduction in appetite after six weeks, a result of Cognizin's ability to increase dopamine in the brain.
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New York, New York, USA

Lonza Inc.
Supplementation with Carnipure L-Carnitine can optimize fatty acid oxidation, stimulating a return to healthy body weight. Carnipure is used in dietary supplements, infant formulas and functional foods and beverages.
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Allendale, New Jersey, USA

National Starch Food Innovation
Hi-maize resistant starch, Hi-maize whole grain corn flour, Nutriose soluble fiber.

OmniActive Health Technologies
Capsimax Capsicum Extract
Capsimax is a proprietary encapsulated form of premium, highly concentrated natural capsicum (hot red pepper) extract. A number of clinical studies on Capsimax's active component, capsaicinoids, show they help manage appetite, support healthy metabolism to burn calories, help increase energy expenditure in the body and reduce body mass and body fat.
[email protected]
Short Hills, New Jersey, USA

P.L. Thomas
Xanthigen is a new weight-management supplement that supports body-fat reduction, weight loss and promotes liver health. Xanthigen is a novel, patent-pending, synergistic composition of brown seaweed extract standardized for fucoxanthin and pomegranate seed oil standardized for punicic acid. Xanthigen helps the liver to shed fat, improving metabolic function.
[email protected]
973-984-0900 ext 214
Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Roquette America Inc.
NUTRALYS S85F marks the start of a new generation of pea protein. The change? — The taste! With NUTRALYS®, the taste and smell generally associated with vegetable proteins are significantly reduced. NUTRALYS S85F opens up new prospects for food applications such as dairy, dietary and slimming products and those dedicated to sports.
[email protected]
Keokuk, IA

Roquette America Inc.
NUTRIOSE is the name of an innovative and patented range of soluble dietary fibres obtained from cereals. NUTRIOSE promotes healthy eating by improving nutrition profile of food while maintaining their original taste. Use NUTRIOSE to:
 increase fiber content to contribute to recommended daily intake; decrease calories intake; bring specific nutritional benefits.
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Keokuk, IA

Roquette America Inc.
SweetPearl maltitol
SweetPearl is a bulk sweetener produced from naturally-occurring compounds in wheat and maize; both renewable sources. SweetPearl™ is naturally sweet and provides the foundation for product innovation, intensifies flavour and improves nutritional value, all without major change in recipes or manufacturing processes.
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Keokuk, IA


Soft Gel Technologies, Inc.

About the Author(s)

Hank Schultz

Senior Editor, Informa

Hank Schultz is senior editor of Natural Products Insider. He is an experienced journalist with a long career in daily newspapers followed by more than a decade in the natural products industry. When he's not in front of a computer, Hank can be found on a bicycle, a mountain trail, the gym or at the helm of a sailboat.

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