As interest in low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets “morphs” into increasing knowledge about the glycemic index, ingredients that assist in the creation of low-carb foods will maintain developers' attention. Here is an overview of two presentations from Prepared Foods' 2005 R&D Conference that address this area.--Eds.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight with Bakery Products

Oat products long have been associated with health benefits, noted Juliana Zeiher, food applications manager, GTC Nutrition, as she described these products' large role in enhancing the nutritional profile of bakery products. Both manufacturers and suppliers have been committed to providing “better-for-you” products that address a variety of health and wellness concerns in the food industry. Consumers are seeking bakery products that deliver higher levels of fiber and whole grains. In addition, the recent low-carbohydrate trend has encouraged the bakery industry to provide products that can be consumed as part of a healthy diet for weight maintenance.

Innovative ingredients, such as oat bran concentrates high in beta glucan, can be used to develop bakery products for weight management and cholesterol control. Furthermore, products formulated with oats can qualify for the FDA-approved claim for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is due to the presence of the soluble viscous fiber beta glucan, which is naturally occurring in oats. New technologies for concentrating beta glucan have allowed manufacturers to overcome many processing obstacles, while delivering the health benefits of beta glucan. This soluble oat fiber lowers the glycemic impact of meals, helps maintain energy levels, modulates insulin response, alters fat absorption and promotes satiety.

Structure function claims also may be used when products are formulated with oat bran concentrate. Possible claims include those regarding maintenance of a healthy weight or blood sugar levels, or those that promote satiety or heart health. Typical food products that qualify for the health claim include oatmeal cookies, muffins, breads and other foods made with rolled oats, oat bran or whole oat flour, as well as hot and cold breakfast cereals containing whole oats. Products such as cookies formulated with oat bran concentrate can be used to maintain a healthy weight and cholesterol levels.

“Maintaining a Healthy Weight with Bakery Products,” Juliana Zeiher, GTC Nutrition,;

Ingredient Functionality; Emerging Nutrients

Studies have shown the consumption of whey protein in human diets can have positive effects on human health. Mike Kothbauer, director of international ingredients, presented information on the nutritional quality of whey protein ingredients. As such, these ingredients can play a key role in consumer products that assist in weight control as well as other health conditions.

Containing high-quality proteins rich in amino acids, whey is suitable for general nutrition use, muscle recovery after exercise, and geriatric body maintenance and repair. Whey proteins have significant amounts of amino acids, which are precursors to glutathione, the body's principal antioxidant and indicator of a good immune system. The amino acid tryptophan is a serotonin precursor, which may help in stress reduction/calming effect on the body. Tryptophan also is a niacin (Vitamin B3) precursor, which is important for the digestive system, skin and nerve function.

Easily digested and absorbed in the body, whey proteins often are found in hospital foods and beverages designed for convalescence and recovery.

Additionally, whey proteins may be used in formulas designed for weight loss, due to its satiety effect on appetite.

As whey proteins are digested, they generate bioactive peptides that, when absorbed into the body, may function in cardiovascular disease reduction, exhibit antimicrobial properties or other benefits yet to be discovered. Some types of cancer have shown response to diets that incorporate whey proteins.

Fats associated with whey--like conjugated linoleic acid--have shown potential to reduce the risk of cancer of the breast and colon. Whey fat globule membranes contain the phospholipids phosphatidyl choline and sphingomyelin, whose functional properties include inhibition of colon cancer, probiotic activity and suppression of cholesterol uptake by the intestine.

Glycolipids, also contained in the fat globule membrane, contribute to human health by binding pathogenic bacteria, promoting gut health and tumor suppression activity.

Every day, new studies and reports indicate the important role for whey protein in establishing and maintaining human health. Currently, studies are underway with the Whey Protein Consortium (“Effect of Whey Protein on Body Weight, Body Fat and Health Indices”), as well as the National Institute of Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (“A Study to Evaluate High-protein Supplementation in HIV Patients with Stable Weight”).

“Health and Nutrition Role of Whey Protein,” Keith Grove, Land O'Lakes Inc.,