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2016: New Whey-based Health Drink On the Cards for Revolutionary Health Benefits

The Year 2016 may see a new drink in the market for health, riding high on potential health benefits discovered by adding calcium, Vitamin D and pre-biotic dietary fibre to a beverage by a team of Lithuanian scientists. Not named still, the whey beverage, however, does not taste so good, researchers say.

The beverage created and tested in two versions, with Vitamin D and pre-biotic dietary fibre, was enriched with calcium phosphate in one sample and with calcium lactate in the other. The effect of the drink for "physiochemical and sensorya" qualities and its effects on the health of volunteers was studied by researchers led by Algirdas Liutkevičius and his colleagues.

"Sometimes consumers agree to compromise sensory attributes for other perceived benefits, such as nutritional value or country of origin of the products. However, if the sensory attributes of the product do not meet consumers’ expectations, it is unlikely that such product will be used again," said Liutkevicius-led team in their research paper published in ‘CyTA – Journal of Food’.

First, trained tasters and then members of the public gave their judgement on both drinks’ taste and appearance. While they found no appreciable difference in the visual appeal of the two formulas, the one made with calcium phosphate didn’t taste as nice perhaps after periods of storage, they said.

“If the sensory attributes of the product do not meet consumers’ expectations, it is unlikely that such a product will be used again. Nowadays, consumers can find very different functional products with the same ingredients and the same effect on health, so sensory properties of products should meet consumers’ expectations in order to encourage consumers to include the product in their diet," said the team of researchers, pitching for the formulation with calcium lactate.

So, 500 ml of beverage in the formulation with calcium lactate was put to 30 volunteers for 21 days and the blood analysis showed significant decrease in LDL-cholesterol (P < 0.01) and triglyceride (P < 0.01) concentrations, changes which would be likely to have a beneficial impact on their lives.

"Nowadays, consumers can find very different functional products with the same ingredients and the same effect on health, so sensory properties of products should meet consumers’ expectations in order to encourage consumers to include the product in their diet," the researchers said. Since the new drink gives a fascinating insight into the design and production of today’s "functional beverages", they are hopeful that just by choosing a certain drink, we can take to improve our health.

The World Health Organization says deficiency of calcium is one of the most important health problems and calcium is essential for the structure and function of bone metabolism, for muscle functions, blood pressure, bone density, coagulation process, and releasing neurotransmitters.

Functional beverages can be produced using as a base matrix the whey from curd production, which contains about 50–55% total milk solids, 70% of milk sugar, 20% of milk proteins, and 70–90% of minerals and almost all water soluble vitamins, especially, vitamin B complex and vitamin C, according to an earlier study by Sinha, Radha, Prakash, & Kaul, 2007.

Whey proteins consist of components which stimulate the immune system, anticarcinogenic activity, and other metabolic features. These whey and whey-derived products, apart from being nutritional ingredients in various foods, can also be used as functional ingredients providing flavor, texture, color, and aeration properties in a variety of foods, concluded researchers.

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