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Obes Rev. 2006 Feb;7(1):59-78.

Metabolically active functional food ingredients for weight control.

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  • 1Unilever Health Institute, Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, Vlaardingen, the Netherlands. eva.kovacs@unilever.com


The scale of the obesity epidemic creates a pressing consumer need as well as an enormous business opportunity for successful development and marketing of food products with added benefits for weight control. A number of proposed functional food ingredients have been shown to act post-absorptively to influence substrate utilization or thermogenesis. Characteristics and supporting data on conjugated linoleic acid, diglycerides, medium-chain triglycerides, green tea, ephedrine, caffeine, capsaicin and calcium, are reviewed here, giving examples of how these could act to alter energy expenditure or appetite control. Consideration is also given to other factors, in addition to efficacy, which must be satisfied to get such ingredients into foods. We conclude that, for each of the safe, putatively metabolically active agents, there remain gaps in clinical evidence or knowledge of mechanisms, which need to be addressed in order to specify the dietary conditions and food product compositions where these ingredients could be of most benefit for weight control.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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