The Good Idea liquid supplement, which launched this month at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Chicago, has a simple ingredient list: Five amino acids, chromium, citric acid, and carbonated water. It is currently available online only, direct from Good Idea’s website or Amazon.
“We found that milk products result in low glycemic responses and high insulin responses…we were very intrigued and tried to identify this component of milk,” Dr. Elin Östman, director of nutrition at Good Idea, told NutraIngredients-USA.
She has a PhD from Lund University, where she is also currently an associate professor. She spent her academic career exploring the glucose regulating potential of food. Building on the discovery of milk’s glycemic and insulin responses, “years of research later led us to the combination of the five amino acids together with chromium,” she added.
With another colleague at the university, Dr. Östman patented the discovery, and partnered with entrepreneur Björn Öste to establish Good Idea. Öste’s previous experience in the packaged food and beverage industry included establishing oat-milk company Oatly back in 1997.
Some scientific backing
So far, only one clinical trial on the ingredient mix in the supplement has been published in a peer-reviewed journal—it went to print February of this year in the journal Functional Foods in Health & Disease.
In it, Dr. Östman and a team of Lund University researchers, which included Good Idea co-founder Rickard Öste, evaluated 19 healthy and overweight subjects in Sweden. The subjects were given either a beverage with just the amino acid mixture (leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, and threonine), a beverage with just chromium, or a beverage with a combination of both.
“That study showed us that with the combination, we can see an early insulin release with the five amino acids. And what happens when we add the chromium, we can improve the insulin sensitivity,” Dr. Östman explained. “So less insulin in total if you have the chromium in there as well, which we think is beneficial.”
Positioning for everyone
The drink may have derived from a study on milk at its earliest stage—but the final product is far from it. Instead, it rides on the increasing popularity of sparkling water in the US.
“This category has just exploded in the US over the last couple of years, so that’s been very helpful for us,” Björn Öste told NutraIngredients-USA. His observation reflects that of Euromonitor data, which projected carbonated water sales to reach $1.1 billion in 2020 compared to $797 million in 2015.
Just like any other sparkling water, the company is targeting everyone with their product, not just pre-diabetics. The main difference is that cans of Good Idea are actually dietary supplements with a ‘supplement facts’ panel.
“However we don’t necessarily want to position the product as a water. It’s really a sugar buster, it goes after sugars and it should be an easy lifestyle change for people that are used to drink sugary beverages,” he added.
Studies started in Sweden, but company sets base in San Francisco area
The Good Idea team and its research may have originated in Sweden, but the company has set up camp in the Bay Area. “We launched in the US first, a combination of the FDA regulatory framework, and the very unfortunate situation with the health here in the country with 89 million pre-diabetics,” Öste said.
“We felt we had a bigger mission, a bigger task to fulfill here. And the FDA regulatory framework here, compared to the European version EFSA, allows us to go into the market quicker,” she said.