Micro-Encapsulated Phytosterols Enter the Cholesterol Wars

As concerns regarding the adverse effects of statin drugs increases, individuals are seeking natural alternatives to help them manage their cholesterol levels. The largest raw material providers of phytosterols are Cargill and ADM. A new player, however, has just launched a 40% micro-encapsulated phytosterol ingredient. The company, Blue California, believes that its process provides a more bioavailable and efficacious ingredient and admits that it does not possess the scientific evidence to support its position, but says that it is currently considering various clinical trials that could do so. Until such studies are completed, however, companies utilizing this new ingredient will not be able to make product superiority claims, nor will they be able to use a lower dose level to make the phytosterol and reduced risk of heart disease health claim permitted by FDA.


TIC Gums Introduces a Cold-Water Soluble Carrageenan System That Will Make Dairy Foods Creamier

TIC Gums of Maryland recently introduced a new cold-water soluble carrageenan system. TIC claims that it will allow manufacturers of dairy goods to achieve a creamy texture and smooth mouthfeel in non-heated applications. TIC Pretested Colloid 750 is particularly suited for use in products such as milkshakes, instant puddings, fruit and chocolate syrup, and even refrigerated omelets. Lowfat- and soy-based products are also good candidates. This is good news for the makers of cold dairy products, who are always seeking ways to increase the smooth texture of their products.



Ozone Instead of Sulfites to Preserve Wine

The wine industry has been seeking a new way to preserve its wines for years. Although the traditional method—using sulfites—works perfectly well, many individuals suffer from a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to sulfites. Researchers in Spain believe that they have created a new method of preserving wines that is 90% as effective as using sulfites. This new method requires that the wine be made from grapes that are exposed to ozone. Even more interesting is the potential boost in antioxidant activity the ozone appears to give the grapes. Apparently, exposing the grapes to ozone increases the antioxidant capacity of the grapes as much as four times the level found in nontreated grapes. This new method would require regulatory approval in the EU and the U.S. before it could be used, but it may open a new category of premium wines with increased health benefits.


Cognis Introduces Low Trans-Fat Emulsifier – NutriSoft-55

Companies continue to seek new ways to get trans fats out of prepared foods. The increased health risks associated with trans fats have raised concern about potential lawsuits and increased heart disease related to the use of trans fats. Cognis recently introduced NutriSoft-55, which replaces traditional saturated standard emulsifiers while increasing the quality and stability of prepared foods. For instance, Cognis states that when added to bread yeast, it will increase the texture of the crust and increase shelf-life. It can also be used in ice cream, as it has a very low iodine value of 25. It is expected that more similar innovations will be coming to market as companies seek way to eliminate trans fats from their foods.


The Soy Industry Looks To Make Inroads in the Bourgeoning Probiotics Market

The benefits of probiotics are well-known and include support for health digestion, regularity, detoxification, the immune system, and even the heart. The dairy yogurt industry has had a huge advantage in this area for quite some time, and the soy industry has been playing catch-up ever since. Canadian researchers recently wrote that they have developed probiotic strains that do better in soy than in dairy. Researchers from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, and Québec's Université Laval wrote: “This study is the first report of the potential of L. rhamnosus GG and L. johnsonii La-1 as probiotics in fermented soy products with yogurt cultures. These lactobacilli can compete better with the yogurt strains in a soy beverage than in cows' milk.” The use of probiotics in soy products is a natural combination. Both provide significant benefits to overall health without the downside of certain dairy products. The dairy yogurt industry may finally have competition in this fast-growing marketplace.


A New Product To Support Healthy Blood Sugar

Adult-onset diabetes (also known as Type II diabetes) remains a major concern in the U.S. The number of adult diabetics and prediabetics continues to grow in the U.S. There is also a rise in children developing Type II diabetes. To help combat this trend, healthcare officials continue to discuss the necessity of diet and exercise. However, diet and exercise alone are sometimes insufficient to eliminate a future need for diabetic pharmaceuticals. Therefore, nutraceutical companies are developing new products designed to address blood sugar concerns before it’s too late. NutrixNaturals is the latest company to enter this market. Its product, Fenu-Well, contains a unique formulation of pure fenugreek seed extract, alfalfa seed, and ginger root. According to the company’s website, it provides the maximum benefits of all three medicinal plants. The company has published several scientific abstracts in support of its marketing position, which are posted on its website, but these abstracts do not appear to provide a scientific basis for the product claims. While there are natural products that may help individuals maintain normal blood sugar levels, preventing the onset of diabetes remains the best treatment. In other words, Americans will need to change their diet and exercise habits in order to avoid contracting diabetes later in life.