Is a satiating, decadent dairy dessert for weight management possible? Spanish researchers find out

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock/wmaster890
Photo: iStock/wmaster890

Related tags: Milk, Nutrition

Food scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia found that adding whey protein to a panna cotta with low fat content had the highest satiety effects.

Their goal was to reformulate the popular dairy dessert and create a product that can be marketed for weight management by reducing cream content and adding in dairy proteins.

The study, due to publish in the April 2017 edition of Food Chemistry (though already available online​) comes at a time when big food companies are reformulating familiar products to meet today’s consumers’ expectations of healthy in waves, such as ditching artificial colors and flavors in General Mills’ cereals​ or removing a handful of ingredients in Stouffer’s lasagne​.

“Designing healthy foods with low energy density by reducing its animal fat content, and high satiating capacity through adding extra protein, which is the most effective food macronutrient in providing a satiating effect, could be an important way to fight excess weight and obesity,”​ the researchers argued in their paper.

Formulating panna cotta

Researchers cooked up nine different panna cotta samples with different amounts of cream across recipes (50ml, 20ml, or zero), and the addition of different dairy proteins. The main ingredients in the control panna cotta were skim milk powder reconstituted in distilled water, liquid cream (200ml) with a 35% fat content, and K-carrageenan, with no dairy protein.

Three panna cotta samples with the varying cream content had whey protein concentrate (from Glanbia Nutritionals), and another three had calcium caseinate (from Fonterra Co-operative Group).

To simulate how the desserts are digested, the researchers created in vitro ​models that mimic oral digestion and gastric digestion.

Whey protein + low fat content

Analyzing the texture of the various panna cotta samples, the researchers found that adding extra dairy proteins while reducing cream content led to “a denser and more aggregated matrix than in the control sample, and therefore increases the firmness values.” ​A firmer dessert, they argued, can be related with increased satiety.

They also found that the samples created with caseins clotted at gastric pH so they broke down more slowly, but were still susceptible to proteases [enzymes that break down proteins into amino acids]. Despite this, the whey protein panna cotta was more resistant to pepsin digestion compared to the casein varieties, another factor that suggests whey protein panna cotta can be more satiating.

“These findings suggest that the combination of reducing fat content (to obtain a reduced energy density product) and adding whey protein (to increase satiety capacity) allows obtaining dairy desserts for weight management,”​ the researchers wrote.

Source: Food Chemistry

Published online ahead of print,

Designing dairy desserts for weight management: Structure, physical properties and in vitro gastric digestion

Authors: Jennifer Borreani, Empar Llorca, Amparo Quiles, Isabel Hernando

Related topics: Research

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