Will “weight-loss” ingredient herald new wave of food products?

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 22nd May 2008

A new ingredient that can be added to food or beverage products may assist consumers with losing weight and provide food manufacturers with the ability to boost the health of their products.

Glanbia Nutritionals has created an ingredient called Prolibra, which is reportedly all-natural, and has been proven to assist weight-loss via three clinical trials. The most recent trial found the ingredient considerably reduces postprandial glycemia in a dose dependant manner and results in a lower glycemic index (GI).

Participants experienced a statistically significant reduction of up to 37.8 Glycemic Index units when Prolibra was added to a liquid meal consisting of 50 g of glucose. The research, conducted by Glycemic Index Laboratories for Glanbia Nutritionals, has implications for companies looking to introduce healthy weight-management products that feature science-based GI reduction claims.

“This study, in conjunction with two earlier studies, demonstrates the efficacy of Prolibra as a multi-faceted approach to healthy and sustainable weight loss,” said Sharon Rokosh, business development manager at Glanbia Nutritionals. “Prolibra significantly reduces postprandial glycemia, accelerates fat breakdown, reduces fat deposition, retains lean muscle and delays the onset of hunger.”

Ten healthy men and women (Average BMI 33.6 kg/m2) completed the multi-day glucose measurement study with Prolibra. Subjects fasted 10-14 hours, were weighed, took a fasting blood sample, consumed a test meal, and took blood samples at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes thereafter. Three Prolibra dose levels were used to determine the glycemic index lowering potential of the ingredient within a liquid meal: 6.1g, 12.2g, and 24.4g.

Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. A low GI food decreases post prandial glycemia and may have proven benefits for health, including reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease and may help with maintaining a healthy body weight.

Two earlier clinical trials have identified other significant benefits of Prolibra. One study concluded that 79% of total weight lost by a Prolibra user group was fat while only 51% of the weight lost within the control group was fat. This study also reported that Prolibra users retained twice as much lean muscle mass as the control group. A second study showed total body fat mass was significantly reduced in a Prolibra user group versus a placebo group (5.8% reduction with Prolibra vs. 2.3% in the placebo group).

Potential applications for Prolibra include nutrition bars, ready-to-drink beverages, powdered beverages, fruit beverages & smoothies, dairy beverages and snacks.

As the consumer trend toward food products with added nutritional benefits has taken off, the number of companies trying to employ science to provide new healthy ingredients has skyrocketed and will continue to rise.

Food science is now, more than ever, a key part of the food industry.