Data from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), Harleysville, PA, uncovered similarly conflicting sentiments about using dietary supplements to support weight wellness. In a survey examining willingness to take a supplement if it was proven to help users manage themselves to a healthy weight, NMI found those most willing had increased by 11%. In 2011, 22% of the general population said they’d be willing to take a supplement if it was proven to help with weight management, and by 2017, that number was up to 42%.
Yet follow-through among willing supplement users was lacking. “It’s interesting that there is this willingness to use supplements for support, however, when you look at who’s actually taken a supplement for weight management in the last 30 days, in 2011 it was 6% and in 2017 it was 8%. It turns out there’s a significant gap between who’s interested and who’s actually acting on this interest,” explained Diane Ray, vice president strategic innovation at NMI.
This is indicative of the mindset of weight management consumers today, Ms. Ray added. “Yes, we all know we need to exercise more and eat the right foods. People get that. But they also want to know if there is some other assistance they can utilize to reach their goals. Is there a pill? Is there a gum? If I just eat a pound of Brussel sprouts a day is that going to do it? They want it to be easier than it actually is.”
Many consumers are looking for “hope instead of hard work,” she said. “We all know weight management has an emotional component to it. NMI has spoken to a wide range of companies and consumers; whether it’s a fiber-based formula, or a probiotic supplement, or a nutritional powder, or something to support satiety—these are all great tactics if you’re actually in tune with your body and listen to its natural hunger cues and eat appropriately. But way too many of us eat emotionally, and well past the point of satiation.”
This disconnect is having a significant impact on public health. Between 2015 and 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the prevalence of obesity was 39.8% among U.S. adults, affecting about 93.3 million people. Globally in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults (18 and up) were overweight; of those, over 650 million were obese, according to the World Health Organization.
In light of this health crisis, many consumers are seeking holistic methods to help manage their weight and improve overall wellness.
Euromonitor International’s “Weight Management and Wellbeing: Trends and Innovations” report (June 2017), found the category being transformed by natural, common-sense approaches, with concepts like clean label, plant-based, and personalized nutrition leading the way. Euromonitor’s report also noted the marked shift away from “magic pills” and “lose weight quick” diet plans, which consumers perceive as misleading and, in some cases, dangerous.
Paul Clayton, PhD, chief scientific advisor at Gencor, Irvine, CA, observed that today consumers are “less prone to believe in miracle seven-day weight ‘cures’ and are more realistic about what the new generation of evidence-based products can actually do.” In general, modern supplement users engage with today’s weight management products with a better comprehension of what they can achieve, he said. “Consumers now have a better understanding in the area and are more proactive in looking for a natural approach to weight loss.” Products that pass today’s higher barrier to market entry are safer and more efficacious. “These products have the potential to last longer in the market because the consumers’ experience is that they genuinely do work.”
While emerging technology such as apps and online wellness programs and coaches may compete with dietary supplements, Euromonitor suggested these tech solutions could offer partnership opportunities, particularly with mobile consumers looking to track their personalized regimen and make informed decisions about their health.
The weight management and wellness category reached $15.9 billion in 2016, according to Euromonitor, with the U.S., China, and Japan accounting for 52% of overall sales. While the U.S. contributed $5.5 billion as the market sales leader, the research firm projected the Chinese market would grow at a 14% CAGR from 2012 to 2016 due in part to demand for meal replacement products by young Chinese women, and expanding demand for supplemental nutritional drinks supporting the elderly. Looking ahead, the overall global market is expected to grow by 4% CAGR from 2016-2021, climbing to $19 billion.
A study commissioned by Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition, Morristown, NJ, and conducted by NMI examined key market drivers and concerns among 2,000 U.S. supplement users, and found an increasing number of consumers were taking supplements to support specific health concerns, including weight management. The data indicated a 47% growth in supplement use for weight management from 2009 to 2017.
Aouatef Bellamine, PhD, senior scientific manager, Consumer Health & Nutrition, Lonza, said a significant proportion of weight management consumers are part of generation X—born between 1965 and 1976—as they are entering the stage in life when they start to experience more health issues.
“Whatever the demographic, the approaches that consumers are taking to maintain a healthy weight vary significantly,” she said. “For instance, enhancing the feeling of satiety after consuming food is one option, and reducing fat mass while maintaining muscle is also a top priority for consumers in the category.”
Julie Imperato, marketing manager for France-based Nexira sees the most significant trend driving growth within the weight management market being the shift toward more general health management, rather than weight loss. “People now take into consideration the fact that being overweight is not only a problem of physical appearance and external beauty, but is also generally linked to serious health problems, such as cardiovascular, cholesterol, blood pressure, among others.” She cautioned that ingredient suppliers and manufacturers should not just promote their products for weight loss, but also focus on more holistic, overall health benefits.
In addition, Ms. Imperato noted mounting consumer interest in how products are being made, making information about the origin of natural ingredients critical. “Consumers want to know more about the ingredients used. Where do they come from? How and where are they processed?” Ms. Imperato highlighted Nexira’s exclusive partnerships with local growers in the Mediterranean region, which ensures the origin and the traceability of its cactus ingredients, NeOpuntia and Cacti-Nea, which are available in organic versions certified by ECOCERT.
“Cactus cultivation for the production of Cacti-Nea and NeOpuntia follows the principles of organic farming, with no use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers,” noted Ms. Imperato. “This natural method of growing Opuntia ficus-indica is particularly environmentally friendly. A gentle process, free from any chemical and respectful of the plant, allows Nexira to obtain a high-quality, standardized ingredient that strictly complies with the current European legislation regarding organic farming. Our brown seaweeds are harvested in Brittany, France, by respecting the natural marine resources. They are then gently processed in France.”
Scrutiny & Change
Increased government oversight, demand for safety and transparency from an educated consumer base, and shifting trends in the industry have led to reform within the weight management sector overall.
“Thanks in part to the strict regulations enforced by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), companies operating in the weight management category are typically very stringent—particularly since a crackdown on so-called weight loss marketing scams in 2014,” observed Dr. Bellamine of Lonza. “Manufacturers must therefore be careful to avoid a variety of claims, such as promises of a ‘quick fix’ or fat burning. The use of words like ‘guaranteed’ or ‘scientific breakthrough’ can also be risky in gaining the appropriate approvals, as well as any marketing with personal testimonials or anecdotes about the benefits or results of using the product.”
How claims are regulated varies from country to country, and approved language and marketing tactics can differ greatly, noted Hélène L. Lauzon, R&D director of Iceland-based Primex ehf. “This renders the marketing task of dietary supplement producers rather difficult.”
With tighter regulations and a more demanding and skeptical audience, Dr. Bellamine said many brands are shifting their message to align with “healthy lifestyles,” rather than only speaking to weight loss. “There must also be substantial scientific evidence supporting any claims on weight management packaging, based on clinical trials.” As an example, she said products are found more credible when they have supporting clinical trials that are “randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled, published in a peer-reviewed journal, and at least four months in duration to prove the effects observed are sustainable.”
Arguably, the best marketing message available in the era of the Internet may be a peer recommendation. The weight management market is highly competitive, said Gencor’s Dr. Clayton, especially in the age of social media consumers informing their followers and friends. “They value peer-to-peer information more than the traditional marketing media, and so we succeed or fail based on the end-users’ experience. If a product does not work, it tends to get filtered out reasonably quickly, and only those products which genuinely are effective can hope to survive.”
Being vocal about safety procedures and backing science helps promote and establish brands, Dr. Clayton said. “Companies that have proper GMP facilities and ingredients that are tested and regulated are refueling the growth of weight loss products that took a downturn in previous years with the concerns over their quality and safety.”
Claims should—above all else—be realistic, and based on observed and peer-reviewed science, added Mariko Hill, product developer at Gencor. “The miracle claims and the instant weight loss statements (which you can still see used by less scrupulous companies) discredit the entire market and catch the FTC’s attention, which in turn loses consumer trust.”
Using protein to support satiety has been a leading trend in the weight category in recent years. Perhaps due to strong marketing messages about the ingredient’s importance, more people perceive they have a protein deficiency, according to NMI research.
NMI found 8% of the general population expressed a perceived protein deficiency in 2011, and by 2017 that number climbed to 14%, reaching an 8.1% CAGR. At the same time, 66% of the general population in 2017 claimed to purchase high-protein foods and beverages in the past year. “The reality is that, clinically, most people in the U.S. are getting plenty of protein, because as a group we’re still pretty regular meat eaters. So we’re not missing protein, but we’re not consuming enough lean healthy protein throughout the day. And usually it is just one big chunk of protein in one sitting—and it’s not necessarily healthy protein,” noted Ms. Ray.
Regular use of protein bars has also grown in recent years. In 2011, 11% of the population bought these products, and by 2017 that number was 20% (CAGR 11%). “This fits an emotional need for ‘I think I need more protein.’ The consumer assumes that if they eat more protein throughout the day they will be less hungry, and less likely to snack unhealthily. Publications say it also takes more energy to process protein in your body than it does fatty foods, so you burn more calories as you’re processing it. It can also help with strength and any athletic training so there are all kinds of perceived benefits for protein and consumers are embracing that.”
Protein bars are available in a wide range of formats and with varying protein content, meeting the needs of a diverse consumer base. Some bars are designed for meal replacement, some for snacking, some with or without sugar, and some targeting athletes. “Today, there’s a protein bar for every kind of consumer,” said Ms. Ray.
KIND bars, for example, meet much of the criteria consumers are looking for in bars targeting weight wellness, she added. “They’re made of real food that people can see, with the nuts and seeds and honey all visible through the transparent packaging. They’re made of simple, recognizable ingredients, with healthy fats and some versions have a decent amount of protein. People feel good about that, and they’re willing to take a little bit of sugar in the bars because it’s mostly healthy ingredients, and it just tastes good. Of course there are many, many options in the market today.”
Plant-based proteins are gaining significant traction among athletes and the active general population, according to Shaheen Majeed, president-worldwide for Sabinsa (East Windsor, NJ). “Volume wise, soy protein, pea protein, and whey all seem to hold the top spots. However, other sources like hemp, nuts, grains, and seeds are becoming the choice for many individuals who are looking for whole food protein sources.”
Sabinsa offers Promond, an almond protein. “The rapid market acceptance of almond protein is supported by extensive research identifying multiple health benefits. Although growing almonds requires a lot of water, and many are grown in drought-plagued California, Sabinsa’s Promond almond protein is made from almonds grown in India. We make a point of identifying the origin, so consumers that apply environmental concerns to product choices are comfortable using our almond protein.”
Sugar & ‘Smart Carbs’
Market research suggests 84% of U.S. adults are cutting back on their sugar consumption, according to Mintel, with many citing weight management as the primary reason for doing so. From 2011-2016, sales of sugar dropped 16%, with sugar substitutes and syrup also experiencing falling sales due to the stigmatization of sugar as more consumers attempt to shed extra pounds.
Responding to consumers’ shunning of sugar, a variety of natural, plant-based sweeteners now offer ways to enjoy an occasional treat without expanding waistlines. Leading examples of natural sugar alternatives include the ever-popular stevia, agave, monk fruit, coconut sugar, date sugar, honey (which 75% of consumers consider healthy, according to Mintel), and a variety of sugar alcohols.
BENEO, Parsippany, NJ, offers the beet-derived sugar replacer ISOMALT, which helps formulators cut calories in various applications including dairy, bakery, cereals, confectionery, etc. while maintaining taste and texture. “ISOMALT, for example, is the number one sugar replacer in sugar-free hard candies,” noted Anke Sentko, vice president of regulatory affairs and nutrition communications for BENEO. “Though hard candies count for only a small percentage of our daily nutrition, it does make a difference to enjoy sugar-free candies instead of sugary ones. An energy intake of 30 kcal/g per day higher than the energy output leads to overweight in children. This equates to 15 minutes of playing instead of sitting in front of the TV.”
BENEO also offers Palatinose, a “smart carbohydrate” derived from sucrose from sugar beets, which has a mild, natural sweetness (about 50% of sucrose). The low blood glucose response of Palatinose has been assessed and verified in more than 30 trials in various population groups,” noted Ms. Sentko.
Japan-based Glico Nutrition also offers a unique carbohydrate that targets healthy weight management and is also positioned for energy and endurance.
The company’s Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD) is a high molecular weight carbohydrate. The complex carb provides continuous energy with no gastrointestinal discomfort, according to the company. “HBCD also enhances stamina and suppresses fatigue,” stated Hiroki Himeno, PhD, global sales group, sales division for Glico. “Moreover, recent study of HBCD indicates that it boosts muscle protein synthesis when taken together with protein and amino acids. In short term exercise (~1 hour), we recommend ingestion of HBCD as 15 g before exercise.”
Research from NMI examined consumer perceptions about fiber, and about 22% of the general population believes they’re not getting enough of it, while only 11% have taken a fiber supplement in the past 30 days.
Nine percent of fiber users prefer supplements in a gummy form. Ms. Ray said consumers seem to give added sugar an exception in this case. “When we talk about sugar we see consumers willing to make a bit of a trade off when it comes to things like supplements. ‘Yes, I’ll shun sugar in places where it shouldn’t be, like canned tomatoes for example, however, if I’m taking a lot of dietary supplements and chewing a gummy full of fiber is going to help me fill a nutritional gap, I’m ok with it being a little bit more like a treat.’ This is why the gummy supplement section is just exploding.”
A prime reason consumers consider a fiber supplement is that most people are simply not consuming enough of it. “Dietary guidance universally recommends diets higher in fiber for health promotion and disease prevention, but it is now recognized that fibers represent a heterogeneous group and do not provide equal benefits,” explained Ms. Lauzon of Primex.
For nearly 20 years Primex has supplied Icelandic chitosan—a fiber derived from the shrimp shells of Pandalus borealis in the North Atlantic Ocean. “Chitosan has been used for a few decades as a weight loss or weight management product. Upon ingestion, chitosan dissolves in stomach acid and becomes soluble and viscous, behaving like a soluble fiber. Chitosan then binds fats and oils consumed, reducing the digestion of dietary fat and limiting caloric intake. Once transiting to the intestine, the higher pH will cause chitosan to gel, trapping the bound fat and contributing to faster transit time as well as reduced putrefactive activity.”
A meta-analysis involving 15 trials (1,219 participants) indicated that chitosan-treated groups generally had significantly greater weight loss than the placebo group, as well as a decrease in total cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (Jull AB et al. Cochrane DB Syst Rev 3, 2008).
“Due to its excellent fat-binding properties, Primex chitosan can contribute to weight management and be hypolipidemic, hypocholesterolemic, and antihypertensive, as well as safe for a long treatment period (Zahorska-Markiewicz B et al. Pol Merkur Lekarski, 2002),” said Ms. Lauzon.
A recent in vitro study conducted by Primex assessing the prebiotic potential of LipoSan Ultra (one of the company’s branded chitosan ingredients) in SHIME (Simulator of Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem) indicated it reduced detrimental fermentation in the colon (promoting gut health), and stimulated good bacteria (having a positive effect on colonic health by producing higher levels of acetate and propionate).
BENEO offers a chicory root fiber ingredient that has been found to lower blood glucose response when used for sugar replacement in six studies and nine trials, according to Ms. Sentko.
The prebiotic effect of BENEO’s chicory root fiber is a key component supporting its benefits for weight wellness. “One recent example is a study conducted by the research team of Professor Raylene Reimer from the University of Calgary in Canada,” cited Ms. Sentko. “Its results show that BENEO’s prebiotic chicory fiber, Orafti Synergy1 (oligofructose-enriched inulin), improves appetite regulation, decreases food intake in overweight and obese children, and improves the systemic inflammation situation related to obesity, helping children to get healthier and to eat less, naturally (The FASEB Journal, 2015).”
Herbs & Botanicals
Herbal supplements supporting weight management are bountiful, with many boasting sound clinical research validating safety and efficacy.
Ms. Hill of Gencor discussed the success of the company’s weight management ingredients—including Slimaluma, a standardized extract of the famine food Caralluma fimbriata, and ActivAMP, a standardized extract of the xeno-hormetic herb Gynostemma pentaphyllum—linking their popularity to a few key factors. “Consumers find their natural origin and related safety profiles reassuring, and the high-level safety and toxicology work we do confirms that. Their strong ethno-botanical backgrounds (both plants have long been used to achieve weight loss), provide historical evidence of their efficacy.”
Ms. Hill also pointed to the rise of the “global health management trend,” where people are not only aware of the impact of being overweight on their appearance, but are becoming more conscious of long-term health outcomes as well (e.g., diabetes, CVD). She suggested ActivAMP and Slimaluma have great potential in the weight management sector as they offer an array of benefits “mediated via the physiological mechanisms of satiety, thermogenesis, appetite control, and the modification of adipocyte maturation.”
Sabinsa’s leading weight management ingredient, ForsLean (Coleus forskohlii), is made from Coleus grown by several thousand farmers in India and Africa, using careful agricultural practices. The ingredient is validated by clinical research, including an eight-week, open-field, pilot study examining obese women supplemented with 250 mg of the standardized extract (10% forskolin) twice daily. Participants were examined by a physician at the study’s inception and after four and eight weeks of the study. Subjects maintained daily physical exercise and eating habits. Results found that with supplementation, mean values for body weight and fat content were significantly decreased (p<0.05 both), whereas lean body mass was significantly increased (p<0.05) as compared to the baseline.
Herbal products supporting a healthy weight that also crossover to sports nutrition are growing in prominence, Mr. Majeed noted. “No one seems to say they are trying to lose weight, but they are happy to say they are going to the gym or working out to stay fit. That conversation has opened up a plethora of sports nutrition products from pre-workout, to post-workout supplements.”
In addition, Mr. Majeed said the perception that weight loss products are a hoax is a major challenge for the weight management space, which is why marketing companies have turned to the sports category to help deliver their message. “The hoax factor comes from the bad apples we’ve had in the industry. Ultimately, the lag in taking those products off the shelf before they did damage gave the industry a major black eye. We gave ammunition to pharma companies to cite against the dietary supplement industry, however, pharma products failed to win consumer loyalty, driving most people back to look at natural remedies.”
To meet the needs of sports nutrition consumers, Sabinsa offers a multi-enzyme complex called DigeZyme, supporting digestive health and nutrient absorption, with research confirming its benefits for muscle soreness reduction and recovery. For energy and cardiovascular health, the company developed Sabeet standardized beetroot, which was recently found to improve cardiovascular performance in healthy men in a clinical trial, thus demonstrating benefits for enhancing exercise performance due to its protective role against muscle damage (International Journal of Innovative Research in Medical Science, 2016).
Annie Eng, CEO, HP Ingredients, Bradenton, FL, also noted blurred lines between the sports nutrition and weight management categories. “As an example, in the case of CitruSlim—a unique blend of Bergamonte bergamot polyphenolic extract and LJ100 Eurycoma longifolia extract—our marketing partners may claim that it helps activate energy production, which allows for extended workouts, which leads to more calorie burning, which leads to dropped pounds.”
Taken on its own, a human clinical trial with CitruSlim showed benefits for weight loss. “In the trial, 50 moderately overweight men and women were recruited to participate in a six-week program of stress management, nutrition intervention, exercise, and CitruSlim supplementation. Forty were given 200 mg of CitruSlim, and 10 were given placebo. All subjects followed a moderate calorie-restricted diet based on resting metabolic rate (RMR), plus a moderate exercise program (5 days/week including aerobic and strength training), and stress management techniques (daily). Participants in the CitruSlim group showed significant body weight loss of an average of 2.7 kg; 2.4 kg was in body fat loss, suggesting 87% of the total weight loss was body fat loss. On the other hand, participants in the placebo group did not show significant body weight loss (0.78 kg) or body fat loss (0.55 kg).”
Ms. Eng added that the cortisol to testosterone ratio of participants using CitruSlim decreased significantly by 15% compared to 7% in the placebo group. “CitruSlim promotes an anabolic state by maintaining normal low cortisol levels and normal high testosterone levels. The higher testosterone levels also contribute to higher energy levels and reduced fatigue, leading to a higher completion rate for the weight loss program.”
Lonza CH&N’s Meratrim ingredient is a patented blend of Sphaeranthus indicus flower heads and Garcinia mangostana fruit rind, which has been shown in three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to decrease body weight significantly, and reduce waist and hip circumference. “One study examined 60 subjects who took 400 mg of the Meratrim ingredient or placebo twice daily for 16 weeks, while walking five days a week for 30 minutes and following a standard calorie diet of 200 kcal/day,” explained Dr. Bellamine. “The results found that, on average, Lonza’s Meratrim brand significantly reduced body weight by 3.74 kg, body mass index (BMI) by 1.61 kg/m2 and waist circumference by 5.44 cm (Journal of Medicinal Food, 2013).”
The company offers another unique botanical blend targeting weight support by the name of CardiaSlim, which Dr. Bellamine said supports cardiovascular health and weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. “Containing Sphaeranthus indicus and Garcinia mangostana, the CardiaSlim brand supports healthy blood lipid levels, as well as helping to reduce hip and waist size. These benefits have been backed up by three randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trials, including a substantial 16-week study.”
To ensure consumers’ needs for safety and efficacy are met, product manufacturers are turning to well-established ingredients, such as L-Carnitine, for its proven use in weight management applications, according to Lonza’s Dr. Bellamine.
A recent meta-analysis showed that L-Carnitine supplementation led to a substantial decrease in both body weight and body mass index (BMI) compared to placebo (Obesity Reviews, 2016). “Although L-Carnitine is produced in the body from two precursor amino acids—lysine and methionine—this is only 25% of consumers’ daily requirement,” explained Dr. Bellamine. “Supplementation can therefore help to bridge the gap.” Manufactured by Lonza CH&N, the Carnipure brand L-Carnitine can be used in a variety of dietary supplement applications, from capsules and tablets, to functional foods and beverages.
Chromium is commonly regarded as an effective ingredient for helping to control blood sugar and carbohydrate cravings, as well as for fighting body fat and assisting in weight management, stated James Komorowski, chief science officer, Nutrition 21, Purchase, NY. “The ingredient is an essential trace mineral that has been 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, managing weight and appetite is a bit more simplified.” Chromax chromium picolinate is also of interest to consumers because it can address a range of health and lifestyle needs, “including enhancing cognitive function, assisting with weight management, decreasing food cravings, improving mood, and supporting healthy glucose metabolism.”
PharmaGABA from Pharma Food International Co., Ltd., Kyoto, Japan, is produced with the help of Lactobacillus hilgardii—a beneficial lactic acid bacteria used in the making of the traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish kimchi. The company’s GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) formula has been linked to benefits for reducing stress and anxiety, promoting feelings of relaxation and calmness, and improving concentration and mental alertness.
Atsushi Yamatsu, vice director & GABA brand manager for Pharma Food International, suggested emotional well-being and overall quality of life can have a huge impact on weight. “PharmaGABA has an effect not only in reducing stress levels, but also has an effect on sleep quality. Many scientific papers demonstrate the effect of stress on obesity. Moreover, sleep quality and stress levels are directly related to energy, and living an active and healthy life.”
Discussing the future of the weight management space, Lonza’s Dr. Bellamine suggested competition from big pharma could be a hurdle for manufacturers, pointing to the recent FDA approval of four pharmaceutical drugs for managing obesity, including lorcaserin (Belviq). “Although not yet covered by insurance in the U.S., these products could significantly increase competitiveness in the weight management category.”
Proactive approaches targeting issues such as insulin resistance and blood sugar management are likely to pique consumer interest looking ahead, according to Mr. Komorowski of Nutrition 21. “Seeing how diet plays such a huge role in healthy blood sugar, more and more consumers are looking to proactively maintain their healthy blood sugar now, before it ever becomes an issue. In addition to shifting away from sedentary lifestyles, these consumers are looking to nutraceuticals to help them evade or even stave off these potentially life-threatening issues.”
NMI’s Ms. Ray posited that evolving societal views on body image could impact consumer perception of weight health products in the future. “I think the societal shift toward body acceptance, and the recognition of concepts like fat shaming is forcing some companies to shy away from overt weight loss claims, and more toward a balanced health and wellness approach,” said Ms. Ray.
Research surrounding the gut microbiome is also an area Ms. Ray sees as rife with opportunity, with new science uncovering ways bacteria influences metabolism, weight gain, and fat. “The science of probiotics is developing at such a rapid pace, and is now expanding from just two or three strains found in yogurt to encompass what a wide range of bacteria are doing through the body,” she said. “The initial promise for probiotics with regard to weight management was that if you have the right combination of bacteria blended in your digestive system then you’re going to get more nutrients out of the food you’re eating. So you might not need to eat as much because your body is functioning more efficiently, and you’re not bloated or constipated. Now science is headed toward personalized bacteria formulations. Researchers are looking to determine the right blend for your body. What’s inherent in your body, and what can be introduced to improve your health via supplementation of specific strains?” While nascent right now, this area of science will continue to grow, she said.
Also pointing toward personalized nutrition, Dr. Clayton of Gencor suggested the emerging science of nutrigenomics is a possible area of growth. “With nutrigenomics and the ability to test how foods influence genes (and vice versa), consumers will be more aware of what ingredients they need to help influence their body composition and health. Our industry is providing consumers with the antidotes they need to counter today’s food industry, a sort of shield, if you will, against modern processed foods. The future looks very interesting indeed.”