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Academics and industry develop obesity-busting foods

By John Wood , 08-Aug-2012
Last updated on 08-Aug-2012 at 13:25 GMT

A new research project, funded by the EU and involving several multinational food companies, is aiming to develop food products that will reduce consumers’ appetites to help combat obesity.

The intention is to bring products to market containing ingredients that will help consumers resist the urge to eat and therefore avoid obesity caused by eating too much.

The Satin – satiety innovation – project, which is being coordinated by the University of Liverpool and involves an 18-strong consortium of academic and industry partners, has received euro 6M from the EU and a further euro 2M from its industrial partners, which are Cargill, Coca-Cola, Dutch soft drinks company Juver and the French manufacturer Naturex.

Professor Jason Halford, director of the University of Liverpool’s Human Ingestive Behaviour Laboratory, said he hoped they would be ready to “commercialise” products by 2016, when the five-year initiative was due to end.

Legacy

But he hoped there would also be a greater legacy from Satin that would see more and more companies getting involved in producing satiating products.

Halford said the project was needed because although some products containing satiating ingredients had already been brought to the market in Europe they had largely failed.

He explained: “We can produce manipulations that can affect appetite, but the problem is that they have not appealed to consumers – they have not been pleasurable to consume.”

He said he expected a range of products would result from the research. “We will be looking at products that can be consumed just before a meal and digested quickly so they reduce appetite, or in-meal products that give consumers a feeling of being full.

Slowly digestible ingredients

“There may also be post-meal satiation products, with slowly digestible ingredients such as some carbohydrates and starches, which will reduce the appetite between meals.”

He suggested the final products could be snacks or meal items and likely categories included dairy, cereal bars, biscuits, soups and processed food containing meat and fish.

The project partners will use advanced forms of fermentation, vacuum technology, enzyme application, emulsification, ultra-filtration, drying, sublimation and freezing, heat treatment, protein modification and encapsulation to modify the structure of foods.

Halford said: “We need to accurately model what is happening when food is digested. You can have two active ingredients in a product that we know both work individually, but when we carry out a clinical trial with them both together they cancel each other out.”

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