Irish firm Glanbia Nutritionals has received a US patent for its whey-derived weight loss ingredient Prolibra.
Prolibra is a partially hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, high in protein and low in fat and Glanbia's suggested uses for the ingredient include beverages, powdered beverage mixes and snack bars.
Glanbia says that by helping to retain lean muscle mass, Prolibra could ward off the negative effects of the yo-yo dieting that often occurs with traditional diets.
“With overweight and obesity rates still a major concern in the developed world, weight management products can provide a key way to optimize a healthy diet,” said Sharon Rokosh, business development manager at Glanbia, adding that the patent reinforces the ingredient’s significance in the weight loss market.
Since 2004, Glanbia has released the results of numerous studies supporting the weight loss benefits of Prolibra.
These demonstrate that the ingredient can help decrease fat mass while maintaining lean body mass in combination with a hypocaloric diet.
One trial found that Prolibra reduced body fat by almost 6 per cent (with 79 per cent of the weight loss being fat) compared to just over 2 per cent in the control group (where 51 per cent of the weight loss was fat).
Prolibra is also said to help reduce post-prandial glycemic response, which contributes to achieving healthy weight loss, said the firm.
The Glycemic Index is considered to be one dietary approach to weight management. It measures how quickly certain foods release carbohydrates into the body, which then raise consumers' blood glucose levels. High GI foods cause blood sugar levels to rise more rapidly. Low GI foods are thought to provide more sustained energy levels, thereby promoting feelings of satiety.
Participants in a trial testing glycemic response saw a reduction of almost 38 per cent in glyceminc index units after consuming a glucose drink containing the ingredient.
The firm first applied for global patent coverage for its ingredient in 2003, a year before it introduced Prolibra to the US industry.
The awarded patent – 7,790,670 – applies only to the US, and Glanbia continues to wait for its European patent.