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The Weight Management StruggleThe Weight Management Struggle

Steve Myers

September 2, 2010

33 Min Read
The Weight Management Struggle

The weight-loss category often gets a bad rep, with numerous fines, lawsuits and recalls over marketing and quality-control issues. However, there is a ton of good news on weight management nutritional ingredients, especially in the area of proven benefits to various factors and parameters of weight loss, as well as related health issues, including blood sugar health. Research results continue to deliver positive news on the value of such ingredients on fat burning, appetite control, carbohydrate management, satiety and other areas of weight and obesity.

Achieving and/or maintaining a healthy weight is the new Holy Grail, so the desire for some adjunctive assistance in the usual quest to lower caloric intake (eat less), increase caloric burn (exercise), and improve the overall diet is unlikely to wane. The International Food Information Council (IFIC) stated the majority of Americans report they are concerned about their weight, and are trying to either lose pounds or stay the same weight. However, they also noted taste and convenience still trump healthfulness in food selection, and many Americans are not savvy when it comes to the science of calorie balance and management.

In fact, despite all the attention obesity and related health problems have garnered, and all the diets undertaken, Americans appear to have yet to stem the growth of its weight problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs report, obesity rates in numerous states rose in the past decade. The feds had set a goal to bring obesity rates down to 15 percent in 2010, but rates in nine states have actually risen to more than 30 percent; only three states had rates above this level in 2007, and not one state had a rate higher than 30 percent in 2000.

The 2010 disappointment was no huge surprise after CDC released its 2009 National Health Interview Survey, which showed U.S. obesity and diabetes rates are at a 10-year all-time high. The annual prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults aged 20 years and over has gradually increased over time from 19.4 percent in 1997 to 28.0 percent in 2009; the 40 to 59 year old age bracket had the highest obesity rate.

Accumulating some additional weight in middle age and beyond is nothing new, but the alarm has been amplified by the now-infamous swelling obesity rates among children. Market research firm Datamonitor has found two of every five children aged 5 to 13 (40.7 percent) are obese or overweight, a number expected to rise significantly, to 43.4 percent, over the next few years. Increased sedentary lifestyles, high consumption of indulgent junk foods and lack of a consistent healthy diet are all contributors, according to the firm.

Whether due to not eating a beneficial diet or to a desire to get a little leg up on the battle of the bulge, people are turning to dietary supplements for weight management help. Frost & Sullivan put 2008 weight management ingredient market revenues at $7.5 million and estimated the growth over the next few years will place revenues at about $13.9 million in 2015. In its report, Opportunities in Global Weight Management Ingredients, the firm focused on several key weight management areas, including satiety ingredients, appetite suppressants and fat burners (thermogenic ingredients).

Satiety, the feeling of fullness after eating, is regulated by hormones. Ideally, levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, made in the stomach, rise before eating and fall after eating. The ghrelin travels to receptors in the hypothalamus are of the brain, where it links messages of satisfaction and pleasure to food management. Sleep can deplete the levels and effectiveness of ghrelin.

Several peptides help this hormonal hunger system work well. Cholecystokinin (CCK) helps the digestion of fats and protein in the small intestine, and binds to CCK receptors in the central nervous system (CNS), where it influences anxiety and nausea, as well as satiety and hunger. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY) provide signaling support in promoting fullness in both the brain and stomach; they also help slow the movement of food in the gut to ensure maximum digestion of nutrients and a deceased appetite.

While feeling full can address overeating and limit excess calories, appetite is another key area, as suppressing the desire to eat can keep a person from being in the position to overeat in the first place, in addition to curtailing the frequency and quantity of feeding. Appetite and satiety are closely related and share hormone regulators, such as PYY.

High intake of protein can affect hunger hormones. Research results out of The Netherlands showed people consuming a high-protein breakfast had a greater decrease in postprandial ghrelin concentrations than those eating a high-carb breakfast.1 Purdue University researchers added an element of timing, reporting a high-protein meal at breakfast had the greatest positive effect on satiety compared to other meal times.2

As much as timing is a variable, the type of protein may also matter. In a University of Maastricht, Netherlands, trial, satiety was 33-percent higher in those who ate a high-casein meal (25-percent protein) than in those who ate a low-casein meal (10 percent protein).3 Similar results were reported in another University of Maastricht trial, as a high-soy meal (25-percent protein) was more satiating than a low-soy meal (10-percent), based on measurements of various hunger hormones, insulin and the amino acid taurine.4

While the Maastricht studies focused on one protein type at a time, University of Toronto scientists studied whey, soy and gluten against each other and placebos.5 They found preloads in both lean and overweight boys decreased food intake up to three hours later, compared to glucose preload; they confirmed postprandial ghrelin, GLP-1, insulin and CCK may play a role in this protein satiety. Similarly, overweight men taking preloads of either casein, whey, lactose or glucose, experienced a 71-percent higher CCK plasma concentration at 90 minutes after the protein preloads, compared with men taking preloads of glucose and lactose;6 the researchers in this trial linked the hormone increases to subsequent increases in satiety and reduced appetite among the high-protein subjects.

Scientists in one investigation were not able to clearly show tryptophan content is responsible for the satiety benefits of protein, but recent study have suggested glycomacropeptide (GMP), found in whey and casein, may be an important factor in those protein sources.7 Maastricht researchers showed a breakfast meal of whey with GMP more effectively decreased energy intake at lunch than did a breakfast of whey without GMP. Then University of California, Berkeley, researchers tested several different combinations of GMP whey and whey protein isolate on satiety and CCK levels in both men and women, finding a greater increase in satiety after the whey protein preloads than after either the GMP-only or control preloads in women, but not in men.8 Thus, it appeared GMP alone is not the sole satiator, but may have a unique role in compensatory intake regulation managing daily energy intake. However, a 2006 trial on a GMP-based ingredient (as Satietrol®, from PacificHealth Laboratories) showed a significant reduction (20 percent) in food intake in overweight subjects with an average body mass index (BMI) of 28.15.9

A protein extract from potatoes (as Slendesta, from Kemin Health) has also demonstrated an effect on hunger via the CCK mechanism. Proprietary studies conducted at Iowa State University revealed the proteinase inhibitor II (PI2) found in Slendesta promotes satiety and weight loss. In one study, participants taking Slendesta before a meal experienced significantly greater fullness and a decreased appetite, compared to those taking a control supplement; CCK levels rose and remained elevated for a longer period of time post meal in those taking Slendesta. In the other study, Slendesta supplementation with either 300 mg/d or 600 mg/d of Slendesta (providing 15 mg or 30 mg PI2, respectively) for 12 weeks resulted in statistically significant reductions in weight, waist and hip measurements.

Increased fiber intake has long been associated with feeling full sooner. It also increases digestive viscosity, which can reduce food intake, and may even help regulate ghrelin.10 Research has proven high-fiber meals better lower food intake and glucose response than do low-fiber meals.11,12 In fact, a hospital-based trial involving tube-fed patients concluded consumption of a formula containing 10 g/L of pea fiber and 5 g/L of fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) insoluble fiber resulted in higher mean fullness, minimum fullness and minimum satiety, compared to the standard enteral formula.13

Flying solo, FOS bested placebo in reducing body weight in healthy adults after 12 weeks of supplementation;14 researchers noted 21 g/d FOS had a positive effect on glucose levels, as well as both ghrelin and PYY, resulting in reduced calorie intake. While a Unilever trial found no effect on appetite from supplementation with either insoluble FOS fiber (8 g), soluble oat glucan fiber (0.9 g) or the two combined, compared to controls,15 the researchers speculated a higher dose of oat glucans might have produced a more positive result.

Meanwhile, oat glucans and fellow soluble fiber from wheat glucans in a functional beverage (10.5 g total fiber)increased fullness and perceived satiety, while decreasing the desire to eat, compared to a beverage without fiber;16 it also showed 7.8 g fiber from a guar gum (soluble fiber) beverage had the greatest effect on both endpoints. In a 2007 Louisiana State University trial, 14 weeks of supplementation with 4 g/d of oat and barley beta-glucan soluble fiber (as ViscoFiber®, from Natraceutical Canada) resulted in weight loss and increases to fasting PYY, fasting GLP-1 and satiety at one hour following a standard meal.17

Glucomannan, derived from the root of the elephant yam or konjac plant, is another soluble fiber studied for effects on satiety. A 2007 research report from Spain detailed how a fiber mixture containing 1 g of glucomannan and 3 g of Plantago ovata husk taken twice or three times daily was more effective than placebo in promoting postprandial satiety in obese and overweight patients.18

Soluble galactomannan fiber from fenugreek has also produced results in satiety research. In a University of Minnesota, St. Paul, study, obese subjects ate a breakfast containing either 0 g, 4 g or 8 g of isolated fenugreek fiber and were measured for hunger, satiety, fullness and prospective food consumption were recorded every half hour for 3.5 hours.19 Results showed the highest dose of fenugreek fiber significantly increased mean ratings of satiety and fullness, and reduced hunger and prospective food consumption. Also in the galaxy of soluble satiety fibers is galacto-oligosaccaride (GOS), a derivative of the milk sugar lactose that serves a bulking function in the gut, and also ferments in the colon to increase production of short-chain fatty acids and boost production of satiety hormones such as PYY and ghrelin. Preliminary results from a trial on GOS (as Vivinal GOS, from FrieslandCampina Domo) showed a higher concentration of PYY and increased expression of GLP-1 in the colonic mucosa among subjects taking GOS. Researchers also noted a decrease in the daily energy intake for over two weeks.

Dietary fats can really put the brakes on food digestion, especially fats that make it beyond the usual digestion point (duodenum) in the small intestines to the ileum, where the right fats can slow down the food journey and trigger a satiety response. Called an ileal brake, this mechanism was central to a string on unpublished trials on a patent-protected combination of oat and palm oils (as Olibra®, now Fabuless, from DSM Food Specialties). Conducted at the University of Ulster, Ireland, two studies involved 200 g of yogurt (5 g Fabuless and 1 g milk fat) given to men in one trial and women in the other; mean energy intakes were significantly lower after the test yogurt compared with the control yogurt in both studies. Similar reductions were recorded for fat, protein and carbohydrate intakes in both of the studies. In a subsequent Ulster study, 200 g of yogurt containing Fabuless was effective on satiety in obese men and women.20 In a Maastricht trial, this ingredient reduced appetite in overweight women (aged 18 to 55), curtailing weight re-gain after six weeks of weight-loss and 18 weeks of Fabuless supplementation;21 compared to placebo, the women taking Fabluess also reported a steady BMI and decreased appetite.

Most recently, a 2010 research report from Uppsala University, Sweden, detailed the controlled, double-blind, cross-over-design study on Fabuless and a control milk fat in 16 subjects with healthy weight.22 Not only were total lipids, mainly as free fatty acids, almost doubled in the Fabuless group, compared to controls, higher amounts of lipids in the middle section of the small intestine and the presence of fatty acid crystals demonstrated appetite control through the ileal brake mechanism; researchers confirmed Fabuless enhanced the satiety messaging between the gut and the brain.

The long-chain fatty acids in Korean pine nut oil, namely pinolenic acid, have also shown promise in curbing appetite via hormone regulation. Proprietary research found 3 g/d of pinolenic acid (as PinnoThin, from Lipid Nutrition) controlled hunger by stimulating the release of the hormones CCK and GLP1. Then, a published research report detailed how capsules with 3 g PinnoThin given in conjunction with a light breakfast to overweight women (BMI = 25 to 30) induced CCK after 30 minutes and GLP1 after 60 minutes, relative to placebo.23 According to researchers, at 30 minutes the "desire to eat" and the "prospective food intake" scores were 29- and 36-percent lower relative to placebo, respectively.

Micronutrients have also chimed in with satiety effects. Derived from the essential nutrient choline, citicoline (also known as CDP choline) may affect satiety by way of its impact on dopamine and associated receptors in the brain. In 2010, research from McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School indicated six weeks of open-label treatment with citicoline (as Cognizin®, from Kyowa Hakko) at two dosages (500 mg/d and 2,000 mg/d) decreased appetite at the higher dose level, which also correlated to functional brain response to food stimuli, as gauged by brain imaging.24

Multivitamins have shown some promise on appetite parameters in both healthy and obese subjects,25 while the mineral chromium has made its early mark on appetite control. In one trial, overweight or obese subjects taking 600 mcg/d of chromium picolinate (as Chromax®, from Nutrition 21) for eight weeks experienced reduced appetite, food intake and carb craving, compared to placebo.26 Louisiana State University scientists found similar results at various doses (0, 1, 10 or 50 mcg/kg/d ) in rats and suggested chromium picolinate may have a direct impact on brain factors in satiety and appetite.27

Niacin-bound chromium combined with the herbs Gymnema sylvestre and Garcinia cambogia, which contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), appears to target leptin, another satiety hormone. In a Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, study, obese adults received either 2,800 mg/d of HCA (as Super CitriMax®, from InterHealth), 4,667 mg of combined HCA, niacin-bound chromium (as ChromeMate®, also from InterHealth) and G. sylvestre extract, or placebo.28 According to the published results, HCA reduced body weight and BMI, and suppressed appetite and increased serum leptin, but the combination supplement had an even greater effect, compared to placebo. On its own, G. cambogia reduced 24-hour energy intake in humans, while sustaining satiety in a 2002 Maastricht study.29

Fellow botanical Caralluma fimbriata demonstrated additional effects on appetite. Adult men and women, aged 25 to 60 years with a BMI greater than 25, took either 1 g/d of C. fimbriata (as Slimaluma, from Gencor Pacific) or placebo for 60 days, as part of a St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India, study.30 According to the published results, waist circumference and hunger levels declined in the Slimaluma group, compared to placebo, as glycosides in C. fimbriata likely inhibited the hunger sensory mechanism of the hypothalamus.

Hoodia also contains glycosides and has exhibited a similar effect on appetite. Extracts from two hoodia species (Hoodia pilifera and Hoodia gordonii) demonstrated appetite suppressing properties in a 2007 South African study, which linked one glycoside to a reduction in food intake and a subsequent decrease in body weight.31

An extract of organic Achyranthes aspera, an Indian herb used traditionally for appetite control, may trigger satiety by another mechanism. Oleic acid in the extract converts to the lipid oleoylethanolamide (OEA), which may reduce food intake and stimulate lipolysis through the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPaR). The theory is OEA can affect sensory vagus nerve activity through PPAR- to induce satiety and decrease meal frequency.

A pair of unpublished animal trials demonstrated A. aspera extract (as AimSlim, from Orgenetics) is safe (up to 2,000 mg/kg), produces appetite suppression, reduces food intake (from 25 to 48 percent), and decreases both bodyweight (from 11.5 to 16 percent) and body circumference (23 percent).

Hot peppers also contain a hunger-controlling constituent. Maastricht investigated capsaicin for changes to ghrelin, PYY and GLP-1 relative to hunger and satiety.32 They found feeding a capsaicin or capsaicin-free lunch to subjects with a BMI between 25 and 27 (aged 17 to 45) did not appear to affect overall satiety, but did impact hunger hormones in certain incidences. At 15 minutes after lunch, the capsaicin group had increased GLP-1 and decreased ghrelin, but PYY was not altered.

Capsaicin combined with green tea reduced energy intake in a University of Copenhagen, Denmark, study;33 researchers noted the combo suppressed hunger and increased satiety more during negative energy balance than during positive energy balance. A Laval University, Quebec, trial found similar results, as subjects given 22 g of red pepper (66 mg of capsaicinoids) and 800 mg of caffeine over a 24-hour period reduced energy intake and increased energy expenditure.34

This dual, balancing effect brings in another increasingly popular weight management mechanism, thermogenesis. Heat is produced as a by product of metabolism in each cell, such as when fat is oxidized as part of metabolism. Thus, one important component of heat generation is the basal metabolic rate (RMR), which is crucial to basic life and survival, but can wax and wane with age, body composition and activity level. In the end, it is all about energy expenditure, burning calories into heat vs. storing them in the body.

Of the types of fat tissue in the body, brown adipose tissue (BAT) is the best for burning calories. However, the body does not typically have as much BAT as it does other fat tissue, so many people have turned to natural ingredients known to stimulate this thermogenic process.

From food, protein is a highly thermogenic macronutrient. In a double blind, randomized study at the Minnesota Applied Research Center, subjects reduced their caloric intake by 500 calories per day and consumed a specialized whey fraction (as Prolibra, from Glanbia) or an isocaloric ready-to-mix beverage 20 minutes before breakfast and dinner.35 Body fat loss was significantly higher in the Prolibra group than in the control group, as was preservation of lean muscle. Some scientists have suggested the thermogenic effects of protein could be due to its amino acids, such as leucine.36

As the main shuttle for fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they are broken down to produce energy, L-carnitine could have one of the most important thermogenic roles among the amino acids. Ten days of supplementation with L-carnitine (as L-Carnipure, from Lonza) significantly increased dietary fat oxidation without impacting protein catabolism.37 And, a French research team reported administration of 30 mg/kg body weight of L-carnitine for 12 weeks in rats restored L-carnitine levels in muscle cells and induced positive changes in body composition including a decrease in abdominal fat mass without any change in food intake.38

Protein is just one of a number of ingredients that have dual mechanisms in weight management, including satiety and thermogenesis. As noted, both capsaicin and green tea each have shown an ability to control appetite/satiety, and they also have been shown to boost thermogenesis.

No stranger to heat production, capsaicin has been marked as being able to increase energy expenditure. According to research results presented at the XI International Congress on Obesity in July 2010, Stockholm, a single consumption at the right dose is enough to increase energy expenditure, especially in people with a higher amount o f BAT. Another 2010 study report detailed how rats fed high-fat diets with capsaicin lost 8 percent of their body weight, and showed changes in the levels of at least 20 key fat-based proteins, which work to break down fats.39 Studies on capsaicin and capsinoids have suggested an ability to increase fat oxidation as a mechanism to produce energy.40,41

And an unpublished crossover, double blind, placebo-controlled study of piperine (as Bioperine), capsicum extract, niacin and caffeine (as Capsimax Plus Blend, from OmniActive Health Technologies) on metabolic and safety parameters revealed 25 adults who took the combination an hour before exercising burned three-times more calories before, 3-percent more calories during and 12-times more calories for up to an hour after exercise, relative to placebo.

For green tea, it was a big step to come out from behind the shadow of caffeine, a tea component that impacts the uncoupling proteins (UCPs) necessary for BAT thermogenesis, in addition to increasing oxygen consumption in BAT mitochondria and resting metabolic rate (RMR).42,43 Green tea certainly contains caffeine and stimulates thermogenesis, but University of Fribourg, Switzerland, researchers suggested an interaction between the tea actives catechin polyphenols (epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG) and caffeine in the body may be the mechanism behind its deep impact on fat burning.44

A study of energy output in healthy men may have started the process of elucidating green teas synergistic compounds.45 Green tea extract (50 mg caffeine and 90 mg EGCG) had significant effects on fat oxidation and energy expenditure in the intervention group, while those taking just caffeine (50 mg) showed no increase in energy expenditure (EE). Another trial found 300 mg/d EGCG increased fat oxidation significantly after only two days of supplementation.46 Green tea has produced end results, as a 2007 Danish trial recorded a slightly better reduction in body mass in addition to increased thermo genesis in overweight-obese subjects who underwent a hypocaloric diet for four weeks before eight weeks of supplementation with a combination of green tea extract (catechins and caffeine), capsaicin, tyrosine and calcium.47

Resveratrol also has a dual mechanism in weight management, as a 2010 French study showed supplementation in lemurs during the animals body-mass gain season not only increased satiety-related peptides, but also increased RMR by 29 percent and reduced caloric intake by 13 percent, leading to less body mass gain.48

The specialty compound 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone, known as 7-oxo-DHEA, also has a brief, but decorated research history on RMR. A natural substance produced by the adrenal glands, 7-oxo DHEA is known to augment the activity of three thermogenic enzymes: glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, malic enzyme and fatty acyl CoA oxidase, which leads to increased heat production and utilization of fat stores for energy.49,50 In various studies, adults taking 7-oxo-DHEA (as 7-Keto®, from Humanetics) experienced as much as three-times more weight and body fat than subjects taking placebo.51,52 Researchers noted 7-Keto supplementation also increased RMR while the subjects followed a calorie-restricted diet, which normally decreases RMR. Subsequent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled research revealed 7-keto supplementation increased RMR (1.4 percent) in overweight subjects who undertook a calorie-restricted diet and a washout period before the 7-day intervention.53

Where 7-Keto can sometimes be falsely accused of being a bad steroid, it has neither anabolic nor androgenic properties. A metabolite of DHEA, it does not convert back to DHEA in the body, and it does not have any receptor in the body to enable any regulation of hormones. Likewise, given the scrutiny stimulants have received, especially in the weight-loss segment, another thermogenic ingredient tries hard to distance itself from the stimulant, ephedra, it has replaced in the weight-control market.

Citrus aurantium (CA) contains indirect adrenergic amines that stimulate metabolism, enhance amino acid uptake by muscle tissue and increase lipolysis. Its effects on the SNS are positive: it impacts thermogenic beta-adrenoreceptor, without stimulating other beta-adrenoreceptors that control systems such as blood pressure, thus avoiding the side effects associated with the now-banned ephedra. In fact, Georgetown University researchers called C. aurantium perhaps the best thermogenic substitute for ephedra, although they stressed more studies are needed.54

A Canadian research report indicated C. aurantium (as Advantra Z®, from Nutratech Inc.) as a meal supplement increased the thermogenic benefit of the food, an effect more pronounced in men than women.55 The compound more than doubled epinephrine excretion, but did not adversely affect blood pressure. University of California, San Francisco, scientists took the safety testing further, showing while a multiple-ingredient formula containing 5.5 mg of the C. aurantium active synephrine did raise blood pressure, a solo C. aurantium product containing the much higher dose of 49.6 mg synephrine did not adversely affect either systolic or diastolic measurements.56

Brown algae and seaweed may have some of the newest weight-control ingredients making waves in the supplement industry. A carotenoid, fucoxanthin, from brown algae may help reduce body mass gain via similar methods to BAT thermogenesis, but it appears to stimulate white adipose tissue (WAT) instead, which is much more prevalent in adults than is BAT. A Japanese review concluded fucoxanthin may promote UCP-1 expression in WAT, increasing fat oxidation and mitochondrial energy production.57 Hokkaido University, Japan, scientists further reported adding medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs) to fucoxanthin supplementation appears to boost the UCP-1 expression and fat loss, at least in animals researched;58 fish oil appeared to have the same adjunctive effect with fucoxanthin.59 An unpublished trial involving overweight adults receiving placebo or a combination of fucoxanthin plus and other ingredients (as ThinOgen Plus, from Beijing Gingko Group) found 94.5 percent of those taking 2 mg/d ThinOgen experienced significant weight-loss, while 99 percent of those taking 4 mg/d ThinOgen had similar weight loss, including abdominal fat loss.

Unpublished results came out in 2010 on a monocentric, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel double blind clinical study on a brown seaweed extract (as ID-alG,from Bio Serae Laboratories) supplementation. Sixty overweight women were given either 400 mg/d ID-alG or placebo for two months, at the end of which the intervention appeared to help control caloric intake and reduce fat storage; the treatment group had an average 2.8kg (6.2 lb) reduction in weight, with decreases of up to 4 cm in the thighs and up to 5.8 cm in the buttocks.

Also in 2010, Newcastle University, England, scientists reported alginate, a natural fiber found in sea kelp, may reduce fat absorption by 75 percent.60 They tested the effectiveness of 60 different natural fibers on fat digestion and absorption in an artificial gut model, finding alginate curtails fat absorption better than do many OTC anti-obesity products.

According to a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study published in 2010, a proprietary blend of pomegranate oil standardized for punicic acid and brown seaweed extract standardized for fucoxanthin (as Xanthigen®, from PLThomas) promoted weight loss, reduced body and liver fat content, and improved liver function tests in obese, non-diabetic women.61

Note conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) inhibits a lipase enzyme that ordinarily breaks down dietary fat for storage in the body. Thus, CLA reduces new fat deposits, and can help foster new lean muscle development. CLA has 25 years of studies behind its mechanisms and benefits, including a Norwegian trial in healthy adults who exercised regularly and took either Tonalin (0.6 mg tid) or placebo for 12 weeks.62 Those in the supplement group had significant loss of body fat, but not overall weight. Another study found 5 g/d of Tonalin for seven weeks in conjunction with resistance weight training also reduced fat mass while increasing lean mass in healthy adults.63 Then in adults taking CLA for one or two years, body mass reductions were attributed to CLA, not diet or training.64,65 Showing its all-ages benefit, CLA decreased body fatness in 6 to 10-year-old children who were overweight or obese.66

Absorption of carbohydrates is a similar target for natural weight management. White bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) extract is a non-stimulant carb-blocker that slows the absorption of starches. In a 2010 study, subjects who took P. vulgaris (as Phase 2 Carb Controller, from Pharmachem Labs) for 60 days had significantly reduced body weight and waist size after one month of supplementation, compared to those taking placebo.67 BMI also decreased significantly in the supplement group, although the effect was more pronounced in the first month of the trial than the second month. The researchers noted Phase 2 might interfere with the digestion of complex carbohydrate to simple, absorbable sugars, potentially reducing carbohydrate-derived calories. The supplement is part of a three-phase weight management line, which also includes Phase 1 Hunger Controller, which contains the vegetable-based fat ingredient Olibra, and Phase 3 Sugar Controller designed for blood glucose support.

There is no shortage of unwanted pounds on consumers, but there is also no shortage of natural ingredients developed and studied for beneficial effects on various aspects of weight control. Despite the adulteration and marketing claims recalls flooding this market segment lately, there is a group of researched ingredients and suppliers vying to shed irresponsible companies like unwanted fat and give manufacturers and consumers real solutions that can help their weight-management goals.

References on the next page...

References for "The Weight Management Struggle"


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3. Veldhorst MA et al. Comparison of the effects of a high- and  normal-casein breakfast on satiety, satitey hormones, plasma amino acids and subsequent energy intake. Br J Nutr. 2009 Jan;101(2):295-303.

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7. Royle PJ et al. Whey protein isolate and glycomacropeptide decrease weight gain and alter body composition in male Wistar rats. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jul;100(1):88-93.

9. Burton-Freedom BM. "Glycomacropeptide (GMP) is not critical to whey-induced satiety, but may have a unique role in energy intake regulation through cholecystokinin (CCK)." Physiol Behav. 2008 Jan 28;93(1-2):379-87.

15. Proprietary study from PacificHealth Laboratories.  http://www.pacifichealthlabs.com

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15. Peters HP et al. "No effect of added beta-glucan or of fructooligosaccharide on appetite or energy intake." Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):58-63.

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19. Mathern JR et al. "Effect of Fenugreek Fiber on Satiety, Blood Glucose and Insulin Response and Energy Intake in Obese Subjects." Phytother Res. 2009 Nov;23(11):1543-8.

20. Burns AA et al. "Short-term effects of yoghurt containing a novel fat emulsion on energy and macronutrient intakes in non-obese subjects." Int. J Obesity. 2000; 24(11):1419-25.

21. Burns AA et al. "The effects of yoghurt containing a novel fat emulsion on energy and macronutrient intakes in non-overweight, overweight and obese subjects." Int J Obesity. 2001; 25(10):1487-95. 

22. Knutson L et al. Gastrointestinal metabolism of a vegetable-oil emulsion in healthy subjects. AJCN. Online ahead of print June 23, 2010.

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About the Author(s)

Steve Myers

Senior Editor

Steve Myers is a graduate of the English program at Arizona State University. He first entered the natural products industry and Virgo Publishing in 1997, right out of college, but escaped the searing Arizona heat by relocating to the East Coast. He left Informa Markets in 2022, after a formidable career focused on financial, regulatory and quality control issues, in addition to writing stories ranging research results to manufacturing. In his final years with the company, he spearheaded the editorial direction of Natural Products Insider.

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