Special edition: Weight management

Science: Backing up the satiety and metabolic claims

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Weight management Metabolism Nutrition

In the second part of our focus on weight management, NutraIngredients looks at the science behind the claims – from boosting fullness to energy burning.

The slimming ingredients market can be divided into five groups based on the mechanisms of action: increasing energy expenditure; modulating carbohydrate metabolism; increasing satiety or suppressing appetite; increasing fat oxidation or reducing fat synthesis; and blocking dietary fat absorption.

With the World Health Organization estimating that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone, the opportunities for a scientifically-substantiated weight management food product are impressive.

The market for food, beverage and supplement weight management products is already valued at $3.64bn (2009 figures) in the US, according to Euromonitor. In Western Europe, the market was worth $1.3bn in 2009.

Two of the biggest areas are satiety – or boosting the feeling of fullness – and boosting heat generation, which means people burn more energy.


The concept of satiety works by maintaining a feeling of fullness for longer. Branded ingredients like Kemin’s Slendesta potato extract, Lipid Nutrition’s PinnoThin derived from the seeds of the Korean pine nut tree (Pinus koraiensis​), and DSM’s Fabuless (formerly Olibra) made from palm and oat oil, are already solid performers in this market.

Many ingredients work via the same mechanism, which involves boosting levels of appetite-related hormones like satiety hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), peptide YY (PYY), and cholecystokinin (CCK).

Prebiotics have also been linked to satiety effects. A human study using Beneo-Orafti’s Orafti P95 Oligofructose found that daily consumption of the prebiotic lost an average of one kilogram over 12 weeks, with results linked to increased PYY levels and decreased levels of the hunger-promoting hormone ghrelin (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​, 2009, Vol. 89, pp. 1751-1759).

Metabolic modification

Capsaicin, the compound gives red chilli pepper its heat, has been reported by several studies to boost heat generation by the body, which means people burn more energy.

A laboratory study from the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, found that capsaicin may inhibit the growth of fat cells (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2007, Vol. 55, pp. 1730-1736), while a human study with capsaicin, in combination with green tea extracts, found that (Clinical Nutrition​, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2009.01.010) an alternative mode of action with promotion of the feeling of fullness and sustained satiety.

Another botanical capable of stimulating metabolism is black pepper. The main irritating component in black pepper, piperine, is said to bind to so-called Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid (TRPV1) receptors in the brain and other parts of the nervous system.

TRPV1 works as the bodys thermometer and, once activated, turns up the heat by boosting heat production by the body.

Sabinsa’s LeanGard blend includes piperine (Bioperine), in combination with its other branded ingredients ForsLean and Garcitrin. ForsLean is an extract derived from Coleus forskohlii​ roots and reportedly helps to build lean body mass and optimize body composition, while Garcitrin contains calcium salt hydroxycitric acid (HCA) and garcinol, a polyisoprenylated benzophenone isolated from Garcinia cambogia​ and Garcinia indica​. These fruits are thought to reduce fatty acid, lipid synthesis as well as to improve lean body mass.

A human study in 2008 reported that the blend was associated with a reduction of body weight of more than five per cent and an increase in the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 4.5 per cent.

Tomorrow, NutraIngredients will look at how nutritional approaches may boost body-shaping, the potential of antioxidants, the controversies surrounding dairy, and how our gut microflora may be the future of weight management.

To read the first part of this series, Asia proving growing market in weight control sector​, please click here​.

To read Part 3, Science: Slimming ingredients beyond satiety​, please click here​.

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